This game is canceled, and should not have a release date or be attached to any concept, object, location, or character except the Canceled Games page. See the page for details.
Sam & Max: Freelance Police was a sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, in development from 2002 until its cancellation in 2004. It was to be a point and click adventure game, and featured 3D graphics, rather than the 2D graphics of its predecessor. As with Hit the Road, it followed Sam and Max, anthropomorphic freelance police investigators, who are a dog and a "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" respectively. The game was announced in 2002, and shown at E3 2003.
Little was known about the gameplay or storyline. It was known that it would feature standard point and click controls, rather than the control scheme implemented in other 3D LucasArts adventure game. The storyline was to play out in 6 distinct stories, all tied together by an overarching plot. For this reason, an episodic downloadable release scheme had been investigated, and many of the development team supported this idea; however, management favored a traditional, full disk-based release.
Despite ongoing media coverage of the game right up to February 2004, in March 2004 LucasArts announced the cancellation of the game. They released a statement saying "after careful evaluation of current market place realities and underlying economic considerations, we've decided that this was not the appropriate time to launch a graphic adventure on the PC".
Steve Purcell, creator of the Sam & Max comics, responded to this decision:
LucasArts' sudden decision to stop production on Sam & Max is mystifying. Sam & Max was on schedule and coming together beautifully. I couldn't have been more pleased with the quality of the writing, gameplay, hilarious animation and the gorgeous 3D world that Mike Stemmle's team has created. The rug has been pulled out from under this brilliant team who've so expertly retooled Sam & Max for the 21st century. I'm extremely frustrated and disappointed especially for the team who have devoted so much effort and creativity to Sam & Max. It's a shame to think that their accomplishments, as well as the goodwill that has been growing in the gaming press toward this project, will all go to waste due to this shortsighted decision.
Many of the development team since left LucasArts, and some of these formed Telltale Games, who in 2005, after the Sam & Max licensing deal with LucasArts expired, acquired the Sam & Max license and began developing Sam & Max Save the World.