Games That Never Were, Entry #65535

Sat, 02/14/2009 — Rev. Ragu

The Ultimate LOOM, Lucasarts, PC

Description: From the fantastic imagination of Brian Moriarty and Lucasarts comes a new, magical adventure starring Bobbin Threadbare. After Chaos is unleashed on the world of the guilds, unleashing a reign of terror unlike any have known before or since, our hero Bobbin Threadbare comes back to settle the score - and this time it's No More Mr. Nice Weaver. Arm yourself with fifteen realistic weapons from your simple distaff to a battery operated bandsaw, a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, and even the FUKU-50,000 Murder Cannon! Fight through fifteen stages of hideous, bloodthirsty beasts, solve enchanting puzzles, and get psyched to fight with fifteen all-new Tchaikovsky covers by heavy metal monsters Megadeth! Loom is back and better than ever, and this time the only melodies Threadbare's going to belt out this time are funeral dirges.

Why It Failed: With the decline of the adventure game genre, prior their singular focus on wringing value from an increasingly irrelevant movie franchise, Lucasarts wanted to wring value from the irrelevant genre that put them on the map. Unfortunately, as Grim Fandango proved, people just didn't want point and click adventure games anymore, preferring to point and click on human shapes with guns. There had to be a fundamental reevaluation of the genre if they wanted it to survive. So they dug up their creaky old Loom property, beloved by at least three, and attempted a new direction. Loom was an elegant and beautiful point-and-click adventure game which eschewed the conventions of the genre, removing inventory and the verb-noun parser, replacing it with a system of environmental manipulation through small musical passages. This had to be updated for the current trends in video gaming, so while the limited parser remained, the musical puzzles had to go. In their place was a completely new puzzle dynamic, in which you altered your environment by putting hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition into anything that moves. Complaints about Grim Fandango's Resident Evil-like control scheme were heard, too, so instead of seeing your character from the outside and feeling as if you're moving a tank, you would now see the action from the eyes of Bobbin Threadbare himself! Excited previews in the game magazines of the time heralded it as the second coming of the adventure game, a truly forward-thinking game that had dropped all the baggage that had been weighing down the genre, baggage which had become ever more apparent since the birth of the first person shooter. No more pixel hunting, trial-and-error, and frustrating problem solving, just something that all the gamers of the day could agree upon - Guns, gore, and explosions.

Sadly contractual disputes with Megadeth over the soundtrack were the beginning of the end for this game, as Dave Mustaine and the producers would often come to blows over the direction of the music, Mustaine denouncing the Tchaikovsky as "faggot shit" and wanting to instead do songs about "shit blowin' up and people dyin' man." The original designer, Brian Moriarty, also proved uncooperative; rousing him from his constant whiskey-drunk blackouts that were the norm throughout the entire project proved a lost cause. Problems kept compounding on the project, and development came to a halt. Sadly, all that's left to go on is an early demo of the "Guild of Huge Titties" stage.

Game journalists often claim that The Ultimate Loom could have single-handedly resurrected the adventure game, but now we will never know.

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