Sam & Max: Freelance Police was a graphical adventure game that has been developed by LucasArts from 2002 until its cancellation in 2004. It was supposed to be the sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, a game from 1993.
LucasArts didn’t reveal much of the gameplay, but Freelance Police featured a new 3D game engine that wouldn’t follow the control scheme of Gram Fandango or Escape from Monkey Island. It was designed to use the classic point-and-click mechanics instead. Lead designer Michael Stemmle, who also was responsible for Hit the Road, told in a January 2004 interview that the game’s plot was actually “really six stories, loosely held together by a thrilling über-plot”. Each story contained a separate case for the Freelance Police. However, LucasArts apruptly announced the cancellation on March 3, 2004. This decision was prompted by a report of an external marketing analysis group, which claimed that the European market for adventure games “had simply disappeared”. Many fans, as well as Steve Purcell, the creator of the Sam & Max franchise, were frustrated and disappointed about it.
Some of the former Freelance Police development team formed Telltale Games in June 2004 to continue developing the sort of adventure games that LucasArts no longer wished to produce. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the rights of Freelance Police from LucasArts in order to finish the game. After LucasArts’ license for the Sam & Max franchise expired in 2005, Telltale Games acquired them from Steve Purcell and developed an episodic series of Sam & Max games.