Design Document (aka Puzzle Document)

Grim Fandango Puzzle Document
Grim Fandango Puzzle Document

The Grim Fandango Puzzle Document is the game’s initial design document, used to pitch Grim Fandango to LucasArts so that it could be developed. It contains designer Tim Schafer‘s vision of the entire game before any of it was built, which is remarkably consistent with what was eventually put together.

It includes a significant amount of cut content — characters, locations, and backstory that never made it into the final game. There’s also quite a bit of concept art, although much of this is in Grim Fandango Remastered.

Virtually all of the information contained within the Puzzle Document is being integrated into the ‘behind the scenes’ sections of our character and location pages. However, if you can’t wait for this process to be completed or you’d just like to peruse the document for yourself, it’s waiting for you below.


10 responses to “Design Document (aka Puzzle Document)”

  1. Amazing document! I love to know cutted details, but why is solution in puzzle #80 is corrupted? There is words overlapping eachother. Can you tell what is written there?

    1. Good spot! I forgot to mention it on the page but there is a funny anecdote from designer Tim Schafer about that, from when he originally posted it:

      “We didn’t have the last puzzle designed when I wrote that document, so I wrote two nonsense paragraphs and then overlapped them in the file so it would look like the final puzzle description was in there, but obscured by a print formatting error. That way I could turn the document in by the deadline.”

      It’s probably possible to decipher it, in fact I think I did once by zooming in very close. I’ll leave that pleasure for someone else this time.

  2. Did you know a lot of the cut content in this document exists as images in the storyboards? For example, the pizza delivery car and big dog trip over the river?

    Might be good to get them uploaded here as they contain cut content.

    I managed to find online versions on the grimfandangoart tumblr (not sure if I can post a link, look at posts tagged “storyboard”), which may be easier to see than the in-game versions. I’m also curious if there are any better quality versions, there’s one scene that looks like it could be the “Manny’s brother in the land of the living” presumably asleep? But it’s hard to see any detail at all. Googling I was able to locate photos of 2 pages of printed versions on twitter from 2 months ago, so it seems higher res exists (possibly that double fine book?)

    1. I agree it would be good to get more concept/storyboard content on the site — I’ll try to get some sorted.

      There is quite a lot in Grim Fandango Remastered which I’ve been meaning to extract.

  3. Dunja Stojkovic avatar
    Dunja Stojkovic

    Wonderful! I would love to download it, but the link doesn’t seem to work.

    1. Ryan Williams avatar
      Ryan Williams

      Sorry about that, it broke a couple of weeks ago it seems during some updates. I’ve just fixed it.

  4. Fantastic! The missus and I are playing through Grim Fandango Remastered currently.

    1. Ryan Williams avatar
      Ryan Williams

      Enjoy! I’m about ready for a replay myself now it’s been 4–5 years.

  5. I would love this document but the link is broken – does anyone have it?

    1. Ryan Williams avatar
      Ryan Williams


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