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Interview: Thimbleweed Park Creators Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick

Thimbleweed Park is a new Point and Click title from the team of Gary Winnick and Ron Gilbert.  You may know this team from their game catalog which includes Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, just to name a couple.  The interview is after the jump.


Retro Gaming Magazine) Thimbleweed Park is a throwback in both graphics and gameplay, are you concerned about the reception outside of the Kickstarter buzz?

GaryWinnickGary: I think we’re really making the game we want to make and as a result it’s going to be a lot of fun for people to play—even folks who haven’t played a lot of adventure games. In a way I think the old school graphics and verb interface could potentially feel very accessible to new players, kinda like playing a game with colorful animated icons.

RonGilbertRon: Also, we’re not doing this to be a big commercial success. We’re doing it because it’s the game we want to make and we wanted to see if enough other people wanted to play it. At some level, you need to make what’s true to you and hope others enjoy it as well.


RGM) What are some influences that you drew from while designing Thimbleweed Park?

8Bit-GaryGary: The same way Maniac Mansion is a parody of B horror movies, Thimbleweed is a sendoff of sort of a weird true crime genre. It has elements of Twin Peaks, X-Files and True Detective wrapped up in our twisted comedy style.

RGM) The iconic Maniac Mansion style interface makes a return, were there any commands that you wanted to include, but couldn’t for whatever reason?

8Bit-RonRon: Maniac Mansion had more verbs than Monkey Island and I think the reduction was good. We’re going to start with the Monkey verb set and see how it goes. We’re also open to change and streamlining. We want the game to be very retro and authentic, but we’re not afraid to throw out stuff that was just broken.

RGM) Without ruining the game, can you elaborate on the point of this new adventure?

8Bit-RonRon: Figure out who is responsible for the body found in the river, but as with any good mystery, it’s never that easy and not always even clear what’s happening. There is a bit of modern film noir in Thimbleweed Park.

RGM) Why did you choose the “retro pixel” look for the graphics instead of something more modern or cartoony?

8Bit-GaryGary: Ron and I wanted to create a game that took us back to our roots. We tremendously enjoyed the development of Maniac Mansion and it holds a special nostalgic place in our careers. We really wanted to have that experience creating a game that felt like it actually came from that era, in both its look and its gameplay dynamics.

RGM) Will the music in Thimbleweed Park be contextual to the onscreen events?

8Bit-RonRon: The style of the music will be what you hear in the trailer. It’s the one aspect of the game that we are going to do very “modern”. Music carries a lot of emotion and it’s hard to give that up. If our final budget allows it, we’d like to do some nice interactive music.

RGM) Fans of Maniac Mansion will remember the multiple endings, characters, etc. Will those design choices rear their heads in Thimbleweed Park or will things be more straight forward?

8Bit-GaryGary: We are planning to have multiple switchable characters and multiple associated endings. I do think we’ve learned a lot about design over the last 25+ years and the dead end situations players found themselves in during Maniac won’t be happening this time around.

RGM) Will there be any cameos from your other games?

8Bit-RonRon: Our lawyers tell us NO, but when have we ever listened to what they say? We’re rebels.


8Bit-GaryGary: You never know….if it makes sense…



On behalf of the staff here at Retro Gaming Magazine, I would like to say thank you to Gary and Ron for doing this interview and for just being all around cool guys!

Thimbleweed Park was successfully funded on Kickstarter in mid December of last year.  We can hardly wait to see how the game is received when it is released.


Carl Williams

It is time gaming journalism takes its rightful place as proper sources and not fanboys giving free advertising. If you wish to support writers like Carl please use the links below.

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