Grim Fandango is a 1998 adventure game directed by Tim Schafer and developed and published by LucasArts for Microsoft Windows. It is the first adventure game by LucasArts to use 3D computer graphics overlaid on pre-rendered static backgrounds. As with other LucasArts adventure games, the player must converse with characters and examine, collect, and use objects to solve puzzles.
Grim Fandango is set in the Land of the Dead, through which recently departed souls, represented as calaca-like figures, travel before they reach their final destination. The story follows travel agent Manuel “Manny” Calavera as he attempts to save new arrival Mercedes “Meche” Colomar, a virtuous soul, on her journey. The game combines elements of the Aztec afterlife with film noir style, with influences including The Maltese Falcon, On the Waterfront and Casablanca.
Grim Fandango received praise for its art design and direction. It was selected for several awards and is often listed as one of the greatest video games of all time. However, it was a commercial failure and contributed towards LucasArts’ decision to end adventure game development and the decline of the adventure game genre. The critical success of the 2012 video game, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, was seen as constituting a revitalization of the adventure genre.
In 2014, with help from Sony, Schafer’s studio Double Fine Productions acquired the Grim Fandango license following Disney’s acquisition and closure of LucasArts as a video game developer the previous year. In June 2014, Double Fine announced a remastered version of the game, featuring improved character graphics, controls (including point and click), an orchestrated score, and directors’ commentary. It was released for Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, OS X, and Linux in January 2015, for Android and iOS in May 2015, for Nintendo Switch in November 2018, and for Xbox One in October 2020.