I keep saying this, but this was a dream project! I can’t help that there’s so much cool stuff that I want to work on!
Full Throttle came out when I was in high school; my first memory of it was watching a friend play it on PC. That was back when I used to go to Comp USA and Micro Center just in case a new game came out for Mac (I had no way of knowing release dates). I was OVERJOYED when I saw the box on the shelf. By then I knew the answers to all the puzzles, but I bought it, and loved it all the same.
I got this gig via Double Fine’s community manager James Spafford (aka Spaff). I’ve known Spaff since he was community manager at Media Molecule. We first met at a PAX West Double Fine party via Chris Remo of Campo Santo who at the time was Double Fine’s community manager. Chris and Spaff are two of the original founders of Idle Thumbs before it was even a podcast.
Around when Full Throttle Remastered was coming out, I talked to Spaff about making a fan trailer for it, and instead I got to make an official trailer for it! The most important thing about this opportunity is I had access to the clean dialogue files. In the game a lot of the dialogue is mixed with music and/or sound effects, so there’d be no other way to get that clean audio.
My approach for this trailer was exactly the same as the fan/spec trailers I make for games like Uncharted. Full Throttle isn’t a very long game, but I didn’t feel too much obligation to avoid spoilers since it’s been out for so long. I also felt emboldened by the previous trailers by 2-Player Productions which used shots from all over the game. Still, I tried to avoid certain story moments because I want people to experience the game for themselves.
The hardest part of making this trailer was finding the right music from the soundtrack. I only had the game’s score by Peter McConnell and soundtrack by The Gone Jackals to work from; a lot of it didn’t immediately jump out as having the sorts of highs and lows that are good for trailers. My main concern was that the best cue for after the logos was very energetic. One of the easiest ways to make a trailer monotonous is to have the energy level be the exact same the entire time. So if I started high, where could I go from there?
Fortunately the cue I used for the middle section did have JUST ENOUGH variation that it worked. There are also some very badass guitar riffs that worked wonders for the transitions. Of course the finale had to end with the main theme “Legacy,” which took things up another notch. The lesson here is that regardless of tempo, music with lyrics will always be more dramatic than instrumentals (in trailers at least).
The other thing I wanted to do was repeat the intro dialogue at the end of the trailer. This is something I took from the trailer for the movie Crank. I love that structure in trailers, and it felt especially appropriate to use for a noir like Full Throttle.
After doing my trailer sound design, I handed over my audio tracks to Camden Stoddard at Double Fine so he could insert the missing bits of sound design from the game that I couldn’t get clean, and do a full sound mix. I gave him a couple rounds of notes to tweak the mix (I could’ve done it in one round, but I neglected to mention something the first time, sorry Camden!). I’m SO happy with how the final mix turned out; the most important thing for me was that the music really carry the trailer since it’s such an important part of the game.
Full Throttle is one of my favorite games; I'm so happy I had this opportunity to make a badass trailer (at least I HOPE it's badass). Of course thank you to Tim Schafer and the original LucasArts team for the amazing game/memories, and the Double Fine team for the remaster!
I hope it encourages many more people to play it!