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GDC 2013: A Quick, Early Look at ‘Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded’ for iPad

Point-and-click isn’t what they used to be, right? Modern adventure titles just don’t do the stuff that old adventure games did. It’s one of those “for better or worse" kinds of deals. If you’re in the “or worse" camp because you still dig the pacing, the logic, and the more… contemplative mechanics of old-school games, Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded is going to knock your socks off. It’s a remake of the original game that features new text and new puzzles and new dialogue, all of which has been remade with the original game’s vision, theme, and tone in mind. Replay Games has basically just doubled-down on Leisure Suit Larry, making a game that is 200 percent a Leisure Suit Larry game.

While I was talking with Replay’s Paul Trowe at GDC in San Francisco the other day, it quickly became clear that this re-imagining of Leisure Suit Larry is an actual labor of love. Dude has been into adventure games since he was a kid and he’s stoked to be behind this. As we chatted, he was constantly pointing out throwbacks, as well as commentating on what made old-school adventure games great. Reloaded, from what I’ve seen so far, is Leisure Suit Larry to the max, as if the last decade of re-tooling traditional adventure game design hasn’t happened. For instance, it even still has a point-and-click UI with a visualized verb list that extends over the top of the screen.

Warning: Language and content in this video, being Leisure Suit Larry and all, might not be appropriate for the workplace.

In the demo we saw, Trowe showed off the opening of the game, which of course, asks users to verify that they’re of age to play Leisure Suit Larry. It does this through a series of random trivia aimed at older folk. It’s kinda cute the first time, but we wonder how quickly this might wear thin on folks. After passing this, we saw the bar and got a look at a down and broke Larry, standing in front of it. The narration here was cheeky. When we went into the bar, Trowe pointed out that thousands of new lines had been written for the game. He used an interaction with a woman at the bar to demonstrate this. He used a lot of the game’s verbs on her, each of which resulted in unique dialogue.

Later, we went into the bar’s bathroom and back room. This is probably the part where we should bring up that Reloaded is as gross, if not more so, than the original. It has a ton of adult-themed jokes, some of which came off as more… gross than intended. This is going to be one of those games that either clicks with you or doesn’t at all.

The way you interact with the game is pretty standard. With a finger, you poke around the world, grabbing verbs from the list and directly pressing whatever object you want to use that verb on. You can also hold down on the screen and pull up a radial menu to bring up that verb list, if that’s what you fancy.

The iPad version of the game won’t support voices or voiced narration at launch because of size limitation. A voice pack is actually going to come out after the game hits. And speaking of that, Reloaded is due out in Q1 2013, which from what we understand, is a slight delay from when it was originally expected.

The build we saw today was pretty rough in spots. There was placeholder art in spots and the UI was kinda broken. But, it was easy to see the game’s vision from the demo and get a clear impression that this thing is going to be very much a Leisure Suit Larry game.