Gilbert DeathSpank-ing Hothead

Famed designer joins Penny Arcade developer as creative director, announces "Monkey Island meets Diablo" episodic series.

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Having built his reputation on cult adventure game favorites such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, Ron Gilbert is a name most people associate with quality within the industry. However, speaking to GameSpot recently about the trials and tribulations of pitching a game, the iconic game designer revealed that despite years of effort, he could find no takers for his latest project, which he credited in part to, of all things, his adventure game rep.

Death, certainly, but where's the spank?
Death, certainly, but where's the spank?

Far from abandoning the project, Gilbert has at long last found a publisher willing to bite. Hothead Games announced today that not only would Gilbert be joining its Vancouver, Canada-based operations as creative director, it would be publishing his labor of love, DeathSpank.

With gameplay described as "Monkey Island meets Diablo," DeathSpank follows the travails of the unusual titular hero, which first appeared as an animated comic cocreated by Clayton Kauzlaric on Gilbert's Web site, Grumpy Gamer. The first episode of DeathSpank--Orphans of Justice--is currently slated to arrive on undisclosed platforms "soonish."

Gilbert's ties to Hothead stem from the gamemaker's forthcoming high-profile adventure game, Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness. In May, Gilbert revealed he was collaborating with the studio and Penny Arcade webcomic creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik on the episodic series. The first episode of Penny Arcade Adventures was slated to arrive for PCs and Xbox Live at the end of 2007, though it is not yet available.

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