Right. I’m so excited I’m going to write another article about Return to Monkey Island. Yes indeed. There’s going to be a proper third instalment to the original Ron Gilbert creation, Monkey Island. Right now, we know very little about the game but we can piece together some clues, right? Just what will Return to Monkey Island be like?
Back in 2015, Gilbert said Monkey Island 3a wouldn’t be the third instalment he would have made back in 1992. Now, I don’t think this is going to be the game he thought he would have made back in 2015.
But first, here’s the teaser in case you haven’t seen it yet.
1. A Mix Of Curse of Monkey Island and Thimbleweed Park
A lot of the clues we have come from the original game creator, Ron Gilbert’s blog. Back in 2013, he penned that post discussing what his hypothetical third Monkey Island would be. His very first point in that post is perhaps the one he’s going to step furthest back on. 2015 Gilbert wanted Return to Monkey Island to be retro, a nod to his first two Guybrush games, describing them as “enhanced low-res”. He goes on to talk about a lot game design principles that technology just didn’t let him do in the early days.
If you’ve been following Gilbert’s more recent work, you might be familiar with Thimbleweed Park. Thimbleweed Park was Monkey Island meets X-Files, and it was sublime. But I don’t think that’s the style approach Return to Monkey Island will take. It was very close to the original style of Monkey Island, which isn’t a bad thing. That design is timeless. But, now that we have Disney involved here, Return to Monkey Island will need mass appeal and likely console ports too.
I see the 2017 Thimbleweed Park as being Gilbert getting some of that want for pure retro out of his system. He also said any new Monkey Island game would ditch the “verbs”; the core control system of the original game. These feature in Thimbleweed Park, perhaps another last hurrah.
No. Instead, I see Return to Monkey Island being closer to Curse of Monkey Island. It’s hard to describe it, but I see it being retro Monkey Island backdrops, Curse of Monkey Island in the middle with a layer of modern animation sitting on top.
Yeah. That makes total sense.
2. Nope. You’re Not Getting Clues
I despite a game that has a sparkling item in the corner telling me to go pick it up. Give me a few minutes and I’ll find it. I didn’t need to clue. While the commercials of reality dictate this new Monkey Island game will have to have mass appeal, I don’t think Gilbert will have any interest at all in providing hints for puzzles. Actually, Gilbert nor Dave Grossman, who’s the co-writer for Return to Monkey Island – I’ve not given him the air time he deserves. He’s kept this as much of a secret as anyone and tweeted just how much of a secret it was today:
But, again, it’s Gilbert’s blog that’s the big giveaway here. Speaking about what a new Monkey Island might look like he says, “No tutorials or hint systems” and “it would be an adventure game for the hardcore. You’re going to get stuck. You’re going to be frustrated”.
Which is good. Because you’re going to get your money’s worth…
3. No, It Won’t Cost Twenty Bucks
A famous quote from the original Monkey Island game is “never pay more than twenty bucks for a game”. Immediately, the game’s creators are being slapped with this online. Let me be the first to say, I’ll pay more than that for Return to Monkey Island. Because inflation.
$20 in 1990 is $43.41 in today’s money. While I’d probably pay more than that too, I really hope someone in the marketing team has some swing on the new game’s price tag.
4. It’ll Start In A Carnival
Return to Monkey Island is Monkey Island 3a. Gilbert initially said that after the first two games, the rest of Monkey Island effectively didn’t happen. Again, he’s backtracking here a bit. I guess Disney will do that to you.
Why do I say that? Well, the evidence is in the teaser released today. Murray, the talking skull, first appears in the chronologically third game, Curse of Monkey Island. He appears in the teaser and Gilbert has confirmed on Twitter that he’s in the game “big time”.
Of course, I get what Gilbert is getting at here. He’s possibly had a rough idea in his head about how he would have closed out a trilogy of games. Basically, if something from the Telltale series doesn’t line up with Return to Monkey Island, he doesn’t want to hear about your loopholes.
5. Music, Voices and More From Curse Of Monkey Island
Michael Land, Clint Bajakian and Peter McConnell will feature as composers of the game’s score. Another massive piece of the puzzle is the confirmation that Dominic Armato returns to voice Guybrush Threepwood again.
The game is also going to be international. Not that that’s a big surprise or anything, but there are loads of translation specialists working on, well, translations.
6. We’re Going Back To Mêlée Island
I was very excited when writing that first article about Return to Monkey Island. I was firing on all cylinders and not really researching things. I thought the scene looked a bit like where you meet the Men of Low Moral Fibre on Scabb Island. But I was wrong. In some other artwork emerging from the game, you can see that the ship in the teaser video is docked towards the south of Mêlée Island.
Yep, we’re going back to where it all began on Mêlée Island. You can see the lookout spot and all.
You know what, this was going to be longer but I’m going to go start playing the old games again to get back up to speed. I’ll add to this article as I learn more.