Return to Monkey Island, what can we expect?

Return to Monkey Island, what can we expect?

Return to Monkey Island

It was 1988 when Ron Gilbert conceived The Secret of Monkey Island, then released in 1990 under the LucasArts label. What is not an understatement to call one of the most influential graphic adventure writers ever, had just closed Zak McKracken And The Alien Mindbenders and, while developing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was looking for new ideas on how to create a comedy of the same level as Maniac. Mansion and Zak.

The idea came from the novel Haunted Seas by Tim Powers, full of pirates, voodoo magic and with a protagonist who looked like the classic fish out of water, apparently unable to survive in a harsh and hostile environment like that pirate. From there began the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, a fop who wanted to become a filibuster, just landed on Mêlée Island, a haunt of pirates and a charismatic and fascinating governor, whose fate will cross with him: Elaine Marley. During the first episode, Guybrush will meet other characters as strange as memorable as the ship seller Stan, the sword master, the shipwrecked Herman Toothroot, as well as the ghost pirate LeChuck, who will become Guybrush's nemesis for the entire saga. .

Gilbert will only write the first two chapters of the series: The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1992). In the following years LucasArts will launch two more: The Curse of Monkey Island, another very classic point and click adventure, despite the greater production effort, and Escape from Monkey Island, a clumsy attempt to modernize the series by giving it a more console friendly style. . It was 2000 when absolute silence fell on Guybrush and associates, silence broken only by Tales of Monkey Island, a 2009 episodic series developed by TellTale Games under LucasArts license, very successful. Since then, however, apart from the special editions of the first two chapters and the thirtieth anniversary collection, Monkey Island will practically no longer be talked about. Many had given the series for dead and gone ... At least until the surprise announcement of April 1, which in the following days turned out not to be a joke. Or rather, the joke was to confuse him between the buffaloes and the fish of that unfortunate day, so as to have the double surprise effect. In full Monkey Island style.

What can we expect from Return to Monkey Island?

Return to Monkey Island

Return to Monkey Island, image of the new game by Ron Gilbert Return to Monkey Island is the game that no one expected, but that all fans of graphic adventures wanted . Gilbert announced it on April 1, 2022 on his blog, Grumpy Gamer. Everyone thought it was a joke, but it wasn't. Not only that, because Gilbert was also keeping a promise he made in 2013, when he said that if he worked on a new Monkey Island, he would announce it on the day everyone makes bogus announcements.

The names involved are those that bode well. LucasArts appears only as the owner of the intellectual property, while the production is Devolver Digital, a much loved publisher for the way it treats its titles.

Who would have thought that Ron Gilbert would be returning to Monkey Island? Development is naturally in the hands of Gilbert's Terrible Toybox, but with some important returns. The most relevant for fans is certainly that of Dave Grossman, one of the screenwriters, as well as designer of the first two episodes, but those of Dominic Armato dubbing Guybrush, historical voice of the character, and Michael Land on the soundtrack are also very welcome ( worked on all the chapters of the series). Among the new names stands out that of the former Media Molecule Rex Crowle (LittleBigPlanet, Tearaway) to the artistic direction, which we imagine will give the game a very marked style. Unfortunately, Tim Schafer, the current head of Double Fine, will not be part of the dream team, who is busy with other projects.

Let's analyze the teaser trailer

The current home page of the official website by Return to Monkey Island The Return to Monkey Island teaser trailer offers some interesting ideas, despite its dryness of content. Meanwhile, she introduces us to a new character: a phantom piratess playing the violin, of which we know absolutely nothing, not even if she will be one of the main characters or a simple extra. It also confirms the presence of the Murray skull, a character introduced in the series with Curse of Monkey Island, which confirms how Gilbert and his family do not want to abandon everything done in the past by the other developers who have put their hand to the franchise, keeping some ideas. Indeed, the reality is that at least the third chapter will be kept in the canon of the series, as confirmed by Gilbert himself. We do not know what will become instead of Escape from Monkey Island and Tales of Monkey Island. Gilbert could also take something from these two chapters, but at present it is impossible to say what.

From the video it is difficult to draw other indications, but some more information comes to us from the official website, where we can see an image of Mêlée Island, the place where much of the first episode was set. A ghost ship is moored in the port of the island, recognizable by the aura that surrounds it, which is the same as the trailer, as detectable from the keep (the raised deck at the stern). We can therefore take for granted that one of the most iconic places of the entire series will return and that part of the new adventure will take place in environments known and loved by fans. Unfortunately, it is very premature for the plot to make any assumptions, even if one wonders what that ship is doing there.

Monkey Island 3a

Now, in the past Gilbert had outlined on his blog and in an interview, as his hypothetical third Monkey Island would have liked. Someone is taking that old post, dating back to 2013, as if it were the actual project of Return to Monkey Island (or, at least, a draft of it), when in reality already many of the elements revealed so far make it out of date. Meanwhile, in that post there was talk of a so-called Monkey Island 3a with pixel art graphics, but equipped with more modern effects, while the Return to Monkey Island teaser clearly shows that the game will be in vector graphics. Gilbert also claimed that he would only do so if LucasArts sold him the brand, because he no longer wanted to work on other people's intellectual properties. As you can understand, even this point has been rejected, given that the new Guybrush adventures will still be by LucasArts, even if published by Devolver Digital. This means that Gilbert, although author, may not have complete control of the project and that he has had to give in to some diktats of the production. So also other wishes expressed at the time, such as the total absence of help to solve puzzles and riddles, the development with a team of less than ten people, the cancellation of the Monkey Islands not his, not wanting to send review codes to the press and others again, they may simply not be reflected in the final version of the game. The only certainty is that it will not be the same Monkey Island 3 that it would have done in 1992, as stated by himself.

Who knows if Gilbert will keep something of Tales of Monkey Island too Incidentally, the series was conceived as a trilogy. In the first chapter LeChuck is a ghost, in the second he is a zombie and in the third he would have to transform into a demon, with Guybrush having to go to the underworld to face him. Now, it must be said that something similar has already been done by TellTale with Tales of Monkey Island, so it wouldn't make much sense to brush up on the idea. Gilbert himself spoke about it in a live broadcast of The Video Game History Foundation dedicated to the thirtieth anniversary of the first chapter, revealing however that the journey told by TellTale was very different from what he had thought. However at this point it is difficult to dust off that found. If we want, to confirm that Return to Monkey Island will be very different from what has been outlined in the past, the same teaser thinks about it, where Murray is thrown into the water by the ghost piratess precisely because he is controversially recalling one of Gilbert's statements (the one on the ownership of the brand) .

For now, the only conclusions we can draw from the unveiled Return to Monkey Island concern the almost physical pleasure we felt knowing that it will be directed again by Ron Gilbert. It's not much, we admit, but the rest is still a mystery and as such is impossible to assess. However, we confess that we can't wait to find out more. It's hard not to get caught up in enthusiasm, especially if you've lived through the era of the first two games and loved them madly.


There's Ron Gilbert It's Monkey Island Devolver is involved in the DOUBTS project Very little is known about the game. Have you noticed any errors?

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