Full of double entendres, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is coming soon to PCs and mobile devices. After a reboot and a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, Replay Games is nearing completion of the title. The release is one of many retro titles appealing to gamers’ sense of nostalgia for the era of simpler, story-based adventures.
Paul Trowe, founder of Replay Games in Austin, Texas, showed us a demo of the new Larry Laffer title, which original creator Al Lowe has contributed to. Lowe debuted the series in 1987 and introduced the Larry character, a lovable loser trying to lose his virginity. Reloaded is a test to see if Larry can stand out in the age of the Internet, where the entertainment options for porn and other more risqué faire are virtually unlimited. But as Trowe pointed out in the demo, Larry isn’t about explicit sex scenes or four-letter words.
“It’s all about innuendo. Nothing explicit. No nudity. That’s where the people who made the Xbox 360 games went wrong. They wanted to make games about sex,” said Trowe in an interview with GamesBeat. “Leisure Suit Larry isn’t about sex. It’s a game about lack of sex. The poor bastard is trying to lose his virginity.”
But the title isn’t completely tame. A quick perusal shows that Reloaded lives up to its billing, as the company says the “game drips with innuendos, flirts with perversity, and oozes sexuality.” The overall map of the game looks like a semi-erect penis. In the bar, a plaque celebrates the “69ers,” Kickstarter fans who gave large amounts to the project.
Trowe hired veteran developer Josh Mandel to write the script for the new game, and he has been busy for months writing. The adventure will have a “Vegas-style” musical score from Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory. Lowe played the saxophone in the soundtrack, and he helped produce the overall project.
“It’s a labor of love for us,” said Trowe (pictured), who came to the recent Game Developers Conference with a deck of souvenir Larry cards for the Kickstarter fans. “Josh has been writing since October and just finished last week.”
The game has been a long time in the making. Replay Games jumped on the Kickstarter phenomenon last year and raised more than $745,000 to date. At first, it started with a remake of Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards from 1987. Since the crowdfunding fans made it clear they wanted something fresh, Replay Games shifted gears to make a completely new title with original jokes, narration, and animations. It features high-resolution, hand-drawn art with the animation focused on Larry’s face and the “stunning women he meets.”
Among the gags: You click on a storm drain and the text says, “You relieve yourself in the storm drain. That will kill a few rats.” And on the inside of the bar, you can click on a sexy woman in a red dress. Larry says to her, “You must be tired. You’ve been running through my mind all day.” She replies, “I know, but you keep following me anyway.” You can compliment her about the way she smells. She replies, “I had tapioca for lunch.” The jokes won’t make you bust a gut, from the little I’ve seen so far. But they will bring a smile to your face, even if you try to restrain yourself.
Lowe created the series with a focus on a lovable loser who acts like a Casanova to score with women while cracking lewd jokes along the way. The humor comes from double entendres and the fact that Larry’s flirting rarely goes as planned. The scenery contains thousands of jokes, where text-based responses appear when you click on different objects in the background. The game features a cartoon style, and the new Larry is similar in that respect. The PC version has voice acting from 34 actors and actresses while the mobile version is text based.
Trowe and Lowe want to revive the aging franchise, which had five sequels and other auxiliary releases. The last Leisure Suit Larry game that Lowe touched was Love for Sail, released in 1996. Vivendi Universal acquired the license for Larry when it bought Sierra. It then sold off the property to Codemasters, which published Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust in 2009. Lowe did not consult on that title, and it received low scores from critics.
Trowe started Replay Games in 2008 to focus on digital distribution. The company had a setback when it changed developers from Adventure Mob, a Tel Aviv-based game studio, to N-Fusion Interactive in Manalapan, N.J. But Trowe said development has gone smoothly.
“We’ll either succeed spectacularly or die trying,” he said.
Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded will have four-to-six hours of gameplay. The title includes enhancements for Windows PCs, the Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, and Ouya. The PC version will sell for $19.99. Replay is targeting a release in May. Check out the screenshot gallery below and a couple of videos.