Sam & Max: Freelance Police was the title of the planned sequel to Sam & Max Hit the Road, developed by LucasArts. Like its predecessor, Freelance Police was a Point and Click Adventure Game, but it was also the franchise's first foray into 3D animation. Despite great anticipation among both the Sam & Max fandom and Lucasarts adventure game enthusiasts, Lucasarts announced its cancellation on March 3, 2004 due to "current market place realities and underlying economic considerations".
- The following synopsis is essentially "translated" from that described in Poker Night 2. It may not map exactly to the plot of the finished game, had it been completed.
Sam and Max were called to clean up trouble at the Saint Swithin's dance over at William Henry Harrison High. When they got there, they saw that there was pigs blood everywhere. All of a sudden the honor society went into a trance and began a suspiciously well-choreographed musical number. At the climax of the chorus, they all pointed at the Freelance Police, and started chanting about the "Chosen One."
Sam and Max then had to stop the Snowzerina's insane plan to take over the city's Winter Festival, in August. One zamboni fight to the death later, and they put the Snowzerina on ice. But then, she went into a trance. At first, Sam & Max thought it was hypothermia, until she started singing about Subarctica, the Chosen One, and the end of the world... Sam thought it would have been super creepy if it weren't coming out of the mouth of a disgraced beauty pageant contestant turned super-villain.
Sam and Max checked with their usual experts about Subarctica, and they didn't find anything, even from Satan, and he knows everything. All they could find out was something about The Lost Legend of Subarctica, and that it was a kind of prehistoric advanced civilization with ancient astronauts and other advanced technologies. However trying to find out about the lost legend didn't go anywhere. Sam & Max had no leads, so they went to the annual Burning Max festival, where tens of thousands of underemployed hipsters gathered in the desert, took off their clothes, and built a giant effigy of Max. Things became weird when they all went into a non-drug-induced trance, and began singing about the Chosen One enslaving humanity in Subarctica's herring mines.
Sam and Max had one last desperate font of knowledge to check out for information about Subarctica. When they traveled to la Estation Espacial to get to the sum of all human knowledge, they discovered it was a sentient space computer built out of tortilla chips, and suspended in a matrix of cheese dust and salsa. It was N.A.C.H.O., the Nachoistic Artificial Cyber-Heuristic Organism. They intended to quiz N.A.C.H.O. about Subarctica and The Chosen One, but he was in the middle of going crazy, and trying to kill his crew! Just before Max ate his way into N.A.C.H.O.'s gooey picante core, the killer robot froze up, and sang a little song, singing "Mañana será el alba de los pingüinos", or "Tomorrow is the day of the Penguins".
In the morning, a couple of emperor penguins pulled up in a rental van, threw Sam into a burlap sack, and drove him off to the high school librarian's office. The librarian was the Subarctican high priestess, dedicated to ushering in a new age of human subjugation, by sacrificing Sam to the Subarctican penguin gods! While Sam was wriggling naked on the librarian's sacrificial altar, Max burst in to save him, only to be confronted by the high priestess's true form: a hundred-foot-tall fire-breathing penguin with wriggling green tentacles! Unfortunately, the penguins turned out to be impervious to Max's gunfire. Luckily, Max had been carrying around a piece of inventory for the last week or so that proved to be the key to reversing the high priestess's incantation, sending the Subarctican warriors to sleep for another thousand Flopnards, which is a Subarctican unit of time that is either 37 years, or 23 hours, but Sam and Max were not sure which. The Subarctica plot was foiled and Max got a souvenir, a gigantic black penguin eyeball that was the eyeball of Penelope, High Priestess of Subarctica. It was said that if you stare into it, you can hear her never-ending penguin shriek of terror.
The cancellation caused considerable uproar among the adventure game community and resulted in several petitions, all of which were unsuccessful.
It also caused several of the game's developers to abandon Lucasarts and form their own company, Telltale Games. This got many fans hoping that a new sequel was in the works, a hope that was vindicated when Telltale announced the first season of an episodic video game series featuring the Freelance Police in September 2005, four months after the Lucasarts license expired.
A box with the date 03-03-04 (The date of Freelance Police's cancelation) can be found in Sam and Max's office during the first season of the Telltale series. When examining it, Sam describes it as a "particularly gruesome" case. Another reference can be found in the second season episode Moai Better Blues, where one of the things Sam finds in a large lost and found box is a working Beta version of the game.
- Bill Farmer revealed in a 2014 interview he and Nick Jameson completed two or three days of recording on Sam & Max: Freelance Police, spread out over different months, but then never heard anything from LucasArts for a year. Farmer ultimately found out the game was cancelled upon looking it up online. He expressed disappointment at this, noting Hit the Road had some of the best writing he has ever performed and he would have liked to reprise Sam.
- In the same interview, Farmer recalls he and Jameson recorded a scene where Sam and Max's brains were switched, with Jameson voicing Sam and Farmer voicing Max.
- One scene the developers described writing was a sequence where Sam and Max meet their arch-nemeses, who were human versions of them. Originally, they wanted to cast Harvey Atkin and Robert Tinkler, the voices of Sam and Max from the cartoon series, but when budget constraints prevented this they settled on simply having Farmer and Jameson voice them but by doing impressions of each other's character. It is not clear if this is the aforementioned scene that Bill Farmer recalls.
- Comment by Mike Stemmle about Zyzobia in Poker Night 2, in May 2013.