Good & Evil is a cancelled Action RPG / RTS that was in development by Cavedog Entertainment / Humongous Entertainment by a team leaded by Ron Gilbert, a game designer, programmer, and producer, best known for his work on several classic LucasArts adventure games, including Maniac Mansion and the first two Monkey Island games. The project was cancelled when Cavedog’s main company, GT Interactive, fell into debt.
As Good & Evil was still in early development, GT saw Cavedog’s game as another economic risk and decided to stop the project in fall of 1999. GT Interactive was then purchased by Infogrames and the Cavedog label was discarded by Humongous Entertainment in 2000. Cavedog officially declared bankruptcy in 2000.
Using Ron Gilbert’s own style and humor, Good & Evil was meant to be a funny take on the classic RPG formula, as we can read in an old Gamespot article:
The warrior arrives in town, trips over a drainage ditch, impales himself on his own sword, and dies. Now they need a new hero. [...]
As you’d expect from the Monkey Island creator, Good and Evil is going to use lots of humor; – much of it directed at role-playing conventions. Characters will talk amongst themselves about “leveling up,” for example, while the plentiful dialogue and ridiculous characters, like an evil crow, will retain Gilbert’s absurdist bent. [...]
Largely inspired by Legend of Zelda, Gilbert is designing a large, fully 3D world to be played in a third-person perspective; it will be open enough for gamers to explore on their own, in a nonlinear fashion, while simultaneously keeping things story based. [...]
Even if Good & Evil was never finished, it seems that after 10 years it’s main concept was reused in DeathSpank, an action RPG designed by the same Ron Gilbert and developed by Hothead Games, released in 2010 for Steam, Xbox Live Arcade and PSN. As we can read in a couple of interviews with RPG Codex and 1UP:
RPG Codex: Given your and Clayton Kauzlaric’s connection to Total Annihilation, was there any consideration of going with an RTS? Any other genres you’d like to give a try? Any genre you’d never try?
Ron Gilbert: Funny you should mention that. Back when I was running Cavedog Entertainment, I was designing a game called “Good & Evil” that was a melding of adventure and RTS. DeathSpank shares a lot in common with that game. As far as other genres I’d like to try? Just about anything except FPS. I’m not a huge fan of them and I’d probably make a really bad one.
1UP: Before DeathSpank, you were working on a game called Good & Evil [which got cancelled partway through development]. Have any of those ideas directly influenced what you’re working on now?
RG: Actually, quite a bit. Good & Evil was back when I was at Cavedog [Entertainment -- the hardcore-leaning division of Gilbert's company Humongous Entertainment]. That was a little bit of a blending of an adventure game and a real-time strategy game. I think the thing about adventure that really interests me a lot now isn’t so much the weird, complex puzzles, but it’s just the way adventure games tell stories, and the way that they tell them through those puzzles, and, for me at least, the humor that adventure games have. That’s one of those things that was a little bit lost when the classic adventures went away. It’s like this whole thing was lost and I really wanted to bring that back. But there’s actually quite a bit from Good & Evil and it just made its way into DeathSpank — the weird, bizarre feel that I had for that world is definitely something that is in DeathSpank.
Thanks to Celine for the contribution!