GamesBeat: Do you think there are more opportunities for Back to the Future games with Telltale?
Gale: We’ve told them, if you guys want to do another one, let’s talk about that. But I think they’re having such great success with the Walking Dead series they’ve been doing, everyone is focused on that. Like everything else, the hard part is getting the right guys to do it. I know Dennis Leonard, who directed a couple of the episodes, he’s booked from now until probably 2018 with game assignments, because he’s so damn good at what he does. Everyone wants him. It’s important to get the right guys. It makes a huge difference.
GamesBeat: How did you decide on what kinds of special features and interviews to include with the new version of the game?
Gale: That was all Telltale’s call. They said, this is what we wanted to do. I trust those guys. OK, you want to do this, great.
GamesBeat: We’re seeing Back to the Future creeping into other games, like Lego Dimensions.
Gale: Yeah! Isn’t that cool? It’s so great, what those guys have done. So much fun, so entertaining. It doesn’t matter whether you’re any good at it or not. You’re just laughing so hard at all the gags, the fact that all these guys behind it — they’re so funny and so talented. They get it. I remember sitting down with these guys and having them show me the demo. I was just laughing my head off, how they got it right. They had all these little things that really showed they appreciated Back to the Future. They wanted to be true to our IP. They wanted to be true to everybody’s IP. Doc Brown meets Batman. Who would have thought you could do that?
GamesBeat: We also have stuff like the Delorean in Rocket League and LittleBigPlanet. Do you expect to see more of those kinds of crossovers going forward?
Gale: I hope so. I remember seeing the bootleg mod in Grand Theft Auto with the Delorean. I laughed my head off at that one.
GamesBeat: When you were originally helping create the world of 2015 for Back to the Future Part II, were you trying to create a real version of what the future might look like, or were you mainly trying to come up with good gags?
Gale: The second one. Zemeckis and I sat down and said, nobody can predict the future correctly. You know going in that you’re going to get it wrong. Knowing that we’re going to get it wrong, what does that mean? Well, let’s have fun with it. Our starting point for what we were going to do and depict in the future, of course, was the first movie. What do people want to see in a sequel? They want to see the characters and stuff from the first movie in a new way. We looked at the first movie and said, OK we have two dinner table scenes. We have to have a dinner table scene in 2015. That made us think, what’s the stuff, what’s the technology we’re going to show at the dinner table of the future? Let’s have the rehydrator, the home fruit garden. In both dinner table scenes they’re watching television at the table. So how are they gonna watch television? Let’s give them these glasses, which turn out to be a whole lot like Google Glass. We knew big-screen, flat-screen TVs were on the drawing boards. That sounded like a technology that might exist by 2015, so we did that. They’d been predicting video phones since the 1964 New York World’s Fair, so OK, let’s combine that technology with giant flat-screen TVs. That turned out to be very prescient. We got really close with that one.
We had the scenery channel, kind of a version of a screen saver. What do you get for a screen saver on your new computer system? They just put scenery stuff in there. That’s become the default screen savers, if you don’t change them. I don’t know if they got that from our movie, or if it was just something anybody would think of, but they did it. There you go. Then we talked about, well, what are the other iconic scenes? Marty wanders around the town square when he first arrives. We’ve gotta do a riff on that. He looks to see what’s playing at the movies. So we gotta do a riff on that. What’s playing? Jaws XIX Holomax. What’s Holomax? It’s 3D Imax. We got that right. We don’t have Jaws sequels up to XIX, but we’ve got Sharknado one, two, and three. People still want to see sharks eating people. That’s sorta right. We had the café scene in the first movie — “Hey, McFly” — so we know we have to do that. What’s the café going to be like? We’ll have video waiters instead of waiters. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re not going to have waiters in the next five years.
GamesBeat: I was just in San Francisco ordering at McDonald’s on a touchscreen, so we’re getting there.
Gale: Yeah, exactly. One prediction we were 99 percent sure we’d get right was that in 2015, people would be nostalgic about the 1980s. We made it into this Café 80s, so we could have good time looking at the ’80s through the prism of 30 years. If you look real closely at some of the TV shows that are playing in the Café 80s, there’s an episode of Taxi with Christopher Lloyd and an episode of Family Ties with Michael J. Fox. And, of course, the hoverboards. A new version of the skateboard chase. What would the skateboard of 30 years in the future be like? Now people are out there working on that, too.
GamesBeat: It’s like the rush to invent them comes from how cool that looked in Back to the Future II.
Gale: It’s not a new story. Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry, always said that when he was a kid, he read Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. That fired up his imagination. What if you could actually send a rocket to the moon? It wasn’t a rocket exactly in what Jules Verne wrote, but that sparked his interest in rocketry.
GamesBeat: It’s always fascinating how fiction inspires science and technology through the years. Even when we’re having fun with things like Back to the Future, that can have an impact. Is that something you thought about at all when you were writing this? What are people going to think about this in 2015? Or was it so far ahead at that point that it never even entered your mind?
Gale: No, no. We always thought it would be fun, in 2015, to get together and watch the movie again and see what we got right and see how widely we missed some things. Flying cars, for example. We didn’t really think we’d have flying cars today. But we promised it in part one, so we had to deliver flying cars. I think people have enough trouble driving in two dimensions still. It’s probably a blessing that we can’t drive around in three.
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