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 evolution of the series is represented by four 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's canon is made up of essentially three generations of stories represented by three retelling of the original game Mean Street's story. Elements of this first game are retold again and again by Tex Murphy (perhaps others) as an unreliable narrator.
A fourth retelling of history is covered in the novels, which sometimes include extended plot lines, and new endings not found in the games themselves, or blend certain paths from the games into one.
The game series' absolute canon appears to depend on certain aspects of mixed canon. It is also unknown if the novels will take over as continuation of the series in the future if no more games are made. At that point, it may be easier how much of Tex Murphy material is of a hybrid/mixed canon status.
The series resurrection from 2014 onwards which includes Tesla Effect, The Poisoned Pawn, The Romanov Enigma, and Trance. It is set many years after Overseer and the Radio Theatre's events (but also fills in some gaps between Pandora Directive and Overseer/Radio Theatre). It follows elements of both Overseer timeline and the classic timeline, and second game of this generation will contain the third retelling of the Mean Streets/Overseer story.
This was the start of a new generation of games and stories following a 16 year hiatus following Overseer. Tex Murphy has noticeably aged, and much of his life in between is a mystery, or fractured.
The Case of the Nitro Stalker
Tex Murphy and The Case of the Nitro Stalker is a comic book prequel to Tesla Effect.
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 be 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 "absolute 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 Poisoned Pawn game
This is the next commercial game and continuation to the series, and represents the current highest state of canon (co-developed by Chaotic Fusion and Big Finnish Games with Aaron Conners). This game is a retelling of both Overseer and Mean Streets, and will tell the 'true story' including many details that Tex had previously forgotten.
This may include everything form Mean Streets to Tesla Effect (as well as the novels) in some fashion with both earlier versions of the original story seen from a new perspective.
The game has 20 plus areas (Overseer hat fifteen) and a new subplot.
The game originally started as a fan/community remake/reimagining of Overseer with modern engine and new puzzles and areas. It has since been announced that is being co-developed with Big Finish Games, and is intended to be the true continuation of the series.
"The Poisoned Pawn is act one of the final chapter in the Tex Murphy series."It will contain all new filmed content, as well as use elements older games as well.
In this cyberpunk, film noir, dystopian sci-fi adventure, you play as Tex Murphy, a typical 1940's gumshoe detective. Except, it's the 2050's. A post apocalyptic world has risen from the ashes of World War III and stands divided. New San Francisco sits atop the rubble of the old city. It's a city of glitz and glamour hiding a sinister undertone: a population segregated between those immune to the nuclear fallout and those less fortunate. Just outside the new city lies Old San Francisco, a vastly ignored reminder of a dark past, and home to the mutant population, and Tex himself.
In this latest adventure, the year is 2051. Shortly after the events of Tesla Effect (the 2014 adventure title) Tex Murphy (Chris Jones), with the guidance of St. Germaine(Jason Tatom), must revisit some of his most gripping cases in order to decipher his true past, and prepare him for an uncertain future.
This story picks up from the end of Tex Murphy and the Tesla Effect. It's November 2050 and Tex has just returned to New San Francisco with an invaluable bargaining chip and plans to sell it for a big Christmas bonus. But his plans are interrupted by a bizarre incident that seems related to events from Tex's very first case, thirteen years earlier. The Count St. Germain, who Tex met in his previous case and intended to do business with, suspects there may be important connections between Tex's past, present and future. He asks Tex to tell him the full story of his first case. With St. Germain's unique assistance, Tex remembers forgotten details and makes shocking new discoveries about what happened all those years ago...and how those events are about to change his future.
The developers promise there is to be more insight into some of the earliest titles including Mean Streets and Martian Memorandum in Poisoned Pawn, in relation to Overseer and this newest game in Tex's history (as well as possibly the novels).
This was probably adapted from the ideas for the novel with the working title of Polarity.
Tex Murphy and the Romanov Enigma
Story begins immediately after The Pandora Directive novel.
This novel tells the story of what happened to Tex and his lady love Chelsee after the events of Tex Murphy and the Pandora Directive. It begins with Tex taking on a new case just days before the infamous night at the Golden Pagoda. After the abduction, Tex's search for Chelsee leads him around the world and deep into the past, where he'll uncover secrets dating back to the time of the last Russian Czar. This adventure provides long-awaited details about Chelsee's "murder" and Tex's mysterious disappearance, as well as adding more pieces to the puzzle that is Tex's future.
This one appears to be the planned novel story, which had the working title of "Chance". This one is unlikely to become a game (although perhaps it may get referenced in a game) due to the age of the actor who plays Tex.
This will be the final novel in the series, and maybe the final game in the series as well. The 'last chapter'. The developers at Big Finish Games hope to make one final tex game, his biggest and best ending for the hero.
Future Audio Dramas
Maybe a continuation of previous audio dramas, and fill in the gaps which Tesla Effect touched upon/portrayed. The lost memories restored.
...or it maybe something that will have to be completely original and rewritten from scratch.
There was ideas for it to cover materials related to Poisoned Pawn, and other future novel ideas. But as many of those are being rewritten to be adapted into new video games, the original plan for the audio dramas had to be replaced.
This was series designed by Aaron Conners from 1994 onwards to 2001 (the primary difference in this generation Overseer seemingly replaced Mean Streets): Under a Killing Moon, The Pandora Directive, Tex Murphy: Overseer, Tex Murphy Radio Theater.
The main influence of this generation is introduction of Overseer as both a continuation of the earlier FMV games a total retelling of the original Mean Streets game. These products as a whole, where Conners establishes background and backstory, and shared a certain degree of continuity and don't acknowledge much from the earlier games, except for some minor references. Overseer has no references to Martian Memorandom as its focus is on the original game's story (but there are some references back to UAKM and Pandora Directive in subtle ways).
Overseer was a complete retelling of Mean Streets (from Tex Murphy's own unreliable perspective), but treated the former game as more of an easter egg inside the game. Mean Streets' Shoot-out takes the form of an arcade game in one of the game's playable areas. Mean Streets also appears as a movie poster in Sonny Fletcher's room. Overseer also changed certain historical/chronological dates used in the original games for certain events.
The Tex Murphy Radio Theatre served as a kind of direct sequel to Overseer but ends abruptly on a cliffhanger it was meant to be a prologue to a cancelled games story.
Another example of differences that in Mean Streets Big Jim Slade is killed. In Overseer he is simply arrested alive, and appears again in Tesla.
Some of the changes are simply due budget restraints limiting the more fancy mutant makeup of earlier games (see one headed Hammond vs the two-headed version from the earlier games.).
The original plan
Question: What happened after Overseer and radio theater? What was that you mentioned about an upcoming trilogy? What were you referring to? Answer: The "Trilogy" consists of three connected stories: "Chance", "Polarity", and "Trance", all of which revolve around Tex Murphy, as well as his past, present and future. Part I ("Chance") begins a few weeks after the cliffhanger at the end of Overseer, which happened (in Tex's timeline) a month or two after the conclusion of the Pandora Directive case. (For those who haven't played all the games, Overseer was a retelling of Tex's first case "Mean Streets" -- from years earlier, which Tex related to Chelsee over dinner at the Golden Pagoda.)
Contrary to some rumors, the Trilogy stories had existed only in "outline form", accompanied by many, many pages of notes, drawings, conversations, etc. It's possible that they could be written in novel format, or perhaps as movie screenplays, but ideally they would become fully developed, multi-pathed, interactive computer games.
The First Generation timeline includes Mean Streets up to The Pandora Directive. The early games Mean Streets and Martian Memorandum do not provide much continuity and are mostly ignored in the later games. But while latter two games do not reference previous games much (they still do acknowledge the previous two adventures in subtle ways, and occasional off hand references).
There are however several minor nods to the past games: in the best ending of The 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). Another way the first four games link up is the ever evolving history between the Tex Murphy and Mac Malden characters (who also acknowledges the previous cases in minor ways).
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 a crossword puzzle. 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.
There are a few possible inconsistencies or overlooked details. 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. However, it is possible that they married following Martian Memorandum case. However, the mere use of Sylvia is a clear call back to the events of Mean Streets.
As a 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.
Overseer was an "unreliable narrator' retelling of the first story (and ignored many details from the original game). The upcoming game The Poisoned Pawn, which is a remake and reboot of both Mean Streets and Overseer, supersedes both earlier games in terms of canon but may blend elements of both. The unreliabler narration is 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.
Note: The new material in The Poisoned Pawn which is to contain yet another 'retelling' of "first case", Tex Murphy I said to be learning more about his 'true past', this version will likely supersede both Overseer and Mean Streets details and might further incorporate details from both, or contradict both further.
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", or perhaps a fractured "alternate memory" of Tex Murphy's (if considered as part of hybrid canon at all)...
Aaron Conners has plans to continue the Tex Murphy universe via the novels, including Tex Murphy and the Romanov Enigma, which would take place after Pandora Directive immediately after Chelsea's kidnapping in 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). This appears to be another indication that "Overseer" was Tex telling the story as an 'unreliable narrator' (but it is unknown if it will incorporate more of Mean Streets or not).
As such it seems the novels will be taking over as primary medium for the Canon.