The Tex Murphy Wiki recognises several levels of canon. In this Wiki all information from all products are included, but in the case of conflicts and inconsistencies, lesser-canonical information is given on separate sections.
The canon division is also represented by the existence of 3 separate timelines.
The nature of the video games makes the definition of canon even more difficult. Many of the games have different paths, and endings. In most cases there is no clear way to determine that one path is more canon than the others. This wiki includes information about all alternative paths even when they contradict each other.
Tex Murphy: The Poisoned Pawn Game
This is a fan remake of Overseer with modern engine and new puzzles and areas. It has the blessing of Tex Murphy's authors, Chris Jones and Aaron Conners themselves, although it's unclear how much input they have included, or if it will tie into the poisoned pawn novel.
Absolute canon are the games designed by Aaron Conners from 1994 onwards: Under a Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive, Tex Murphy: Overseer, Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure including the Tex Murphy Radio Theater.
These products, where Conners establishes background and backstory, share a certain degree of continuity and don't acknowledge much from the earlier games, except for some minor references.
Tesla Effect has a number of flashback videos and materials that reference games all the way back to Mean Streets, as well as various different paths of previous games including Pandora Directive. Certain flashbacks only appear down certain paths in the game. There may also some characters in Tesla Effect whose stories change, depending on which path you are following. Thompson Ault, for example, is Chelsee's husband on certain paths, whereas in others they never got together.
As such, none of the endings from the previous games can really be considered "canon": depending on the path taken in Tesla Effect, Tex could have dated holo-women or have been unfaithful to Chelsee via the Lombard Street endings, with whom he eventually could have made up. Other elements seem to have been taken from the Mission Street ending as well, such as Chelsee's flashbacks from Pandora Directive. It's also possible that Tex may have taken the evil path at some point in his past, if we consider his decay into a brutish, unscrupolous PI from his forgotten period between Overseer and Tesla.
The game series' absolute canon may also depend on certain aspects of mixed canon, and also on the novels taking over as continuation of the series in the future if no more games are made. At that point, it may be easier to tell if Tex Murphy has a hybrid/mixed canon.
The early games Mean Streets and Martian Memorandum do not provide much continuity and are mostly ignored in the later games. For example, UAKM establishes that Tex married Sylvia Linsky whom she met during the events of Mean Streets, however in Martian Memorandum, which represents an intermediate period, Tex Murphy is alone and there is no mention of Sylvia. There are however minor nods to the past games: in the best ending of Pandora Directive, Chelsee mentions that Tex has saved the world 4 or 5 times according to his stories, after being told the story of what happened during the Pandora Directive case. This is a reference to all four games up to that point (Mean Streets, Martian Memorandum, UAKM, and Pandora Directive).
Overseer, which is a remake and reboot of Mean Streets, supersedes it in terms of canon. For example in Mean Streets Big Jim Slade is killed. In Overseer he is simply arrested alive, and appears again in Tesla. Mean Streets' Shoot-out is an Easter egg in overseer, taking the form of an arcade game in one of the game's playable areas. Mean Streets also appears as a poster in Sonny Fletcher's room.
Martian Memorandum has no remake, however the mere existence of the "Martian Memorandum case" is referenced in UAKM, where it is also established that Tex had some business with Lowell Percival. There is also a minor reference to Big Dick Castro (and his Martian Casino) in Pandora Directive. In Tesla Effect a brochure for Mars can be seen in Margaret Leaonard's Swamp House, and the Martian hoverboard is kept in Tex's storage room in Tesla Effect, which he acknowledges as being from his Martian Memorandum case. However, the bulk of the story remains unreferenced and obscure in terms of canon.
As a potential nod to some kind of mixed-canon between versions of Mean Street and Overseer, there is a newspaper article in Tex's office in Tesla that discusses that Tex was in critical condition after a shoot-out at the old warehouse district from Mean Streets (Bridgeview Warehouse). Tex mentions that during his first case, he experienced the shootout of his life, in which he had taken a bullet and, during recovery, he swore he would use his brains rather than his brawn. The game includes a flashback memory (video) to the shootout stage in Mean Streets, and the newspaper article includes image of Tex Murphy from the game's boxart. There is no "group" shootout in Overseer's version of the story, if we discount the face-off with Slade.
This may indicate that Tex is in part an unreliable narrator in Overseer (partially confirmed by the fact that he or Chelsee comment on Tex's deaths in Overseer), and that there is more to the actual story than he details to her.
The Tex Murphy novels are novelizations of the video games by Aaron Conners. Despite being authored by Conners, they deviate significantly from the games he designed. Some parts (like dialogues) are taken directly from the games, other parts represent earlier concepts that were dropped or altered in the process of designing the games.
The alterations range from minor (like Countess Renier being an elderly lady in the novelization), to significant deviations (like Alaynah Moore being the secretary of Lowell Percival Enterprises, who is also killed in the course of the story). There are also elements that aren't referred in the games at all (like the Crusade for Genetic Purity subplot, or the cooperation with Eddie Ching with whom Tex travels to the moon) and other elements that are absent (like the Mick Flemm case, or the Electronics Shop).
Pandora Directive follows certain aspects of the Lombard Ending.
The Tesla Effect novel has an original ending not found in the game version of the story. In this version, Tex is able to restore his memory form the missing seven years (this will tie into possible future novels or radio dramas that may cover that period).
As such, the novels may be considered to describe some "alternate reality".
Aaron Conners has plans to continue the Tex Murphy universe via the novels, including Tex Murphy and the Romanov Enigma, which would take place between Pandora Directive and Overseer; a sequel to Tesla Effect called "Trance"; and yet another retelling of Texas Murphy's first case, called the The Poisoned Pawn and set after Tesla Effect, in which he tells the story to Count St. Germaine while under hypnosis and regression following the events of Tesla Effect (in which Tex is supposed to remember details he had forgotten even during his account in Overseer, and see it from a different perspective). As such it seems the novels will be taking over as primary medium for the Canon.
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