One of the best point and click adventure game series ever made. Monkey Island might finally get the closure it required, that too from its original creator.
My name is Guybrush Threepwood and I’m a mighty pirate. These words might echo the ears of a generation of gamers. Rightfully so too. The words are spoken by Guybrush Threepwood, the hero of the point and click adventure game franchise called Monkey Island.
Released in 1990, The Secret of Monkey Island was the first game in the series by Lucasfilm Games (later renamed LucasArts). It followed the adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, who becomes a sea pirate in the age of sea piracy. He falls in love with the governor Elaine Marley, unaware that a ghost pirate, LeChuck, the villain of the series, too is eyeing her and Guybrush needs to then rescue her from the dreaded ghost pirate.
The second game in the series, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge was released in 1991. It follows Guybrush trying to find a treasure called Big Whoop and mistakenly awakens LeChuck, who is now in a zombie form. Now he has to fight LeChuck again with the power of voodoo.
Monkey Island 1 and 2 were a massive hit. They were among the most iconic games in the era of point and click adventure games. Iconic dialogs, excellent gameplay, exemplary Caribbean music and a memorable game design. However, their followup games was did not get that much of a backing either from the players or critics.
Enter Monkey Island 3 and 4
After Monkey Island 1 and 2 were made, Monkey Island 3: The Curse of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 4: Escape from Monkey Island were made. They were not as well received as the first two and did not reach the greatness of the earlier two games.
The reason behind it were many. New and confusing controls, new experimental graphics and uninspiring gameplay. The biggest for all of it was that the original creators on the game, Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman had left the studios before the development of these games happened. Ron Gilbert felt the series did not follow the original writing and were not the true successors of his work.
Years later, in 2009, LucasArts licensed the series to Telltale Games, which was founded by former LucasArts developers Telltale Games released the fifth game in the franchise called Tales of Monkey Island in an episodic series. It received good reviews but it too suffered from some problems of game 3 and 4, as it not have the backing and work Ron Gilbert, the main writer and director of the first two games.
The first two games however were later remade as Special editions and received good reviews.
LucasArts got sold along with Lucasfilm
When Disney bought Lucasfilm, LucasArts too got sold with it. LucasArts was a major game studio of the 1990s, coming with iconic game franchises such as Maniac Mansion, Indiana Jones, Star Wars games. It also made famous classic games like Loom, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, The Dig and many others.
Disney after buying LucasArts did not seem much interested in the games. In 2016, knowing that the series has not reached its original conclusion, Ron Gilbert made a plea to Disney on Twitter to let him buy the game series so that he can conclude the original story as he had intended.
Dear @Disney, now that you're not making games, please sell me my Monkey Island and Mansion Mansion IP. I'll pay real actual money for them.— Ron Gilbert (@grumpygamer) May 23, 2016
Looks like Disney did oblige.
Return to Monkey Island
Ron Gilbert, the original writer and director, announced Return to Monkey Island on Twitter. He said: “A little something we’ve been working on for the past 2 years in complete secrecy.” While saying that, he shared the trailer of the new game Return to Monkey Island.
The game is made in collaboration by Ron Gilbert’s Terrible Toybox, game developer Devolver Digital and Lucasfilm Games. The writing and direction is done by both Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, the original writers and directors of the first two games.
The music department marks the comeback of the trio of Michael Land, Peter McConnell and Clint Bajakian. All three were behind the music of the second game, with Michael Land being the lead music director of the first.
Dominic Armato, the voice behind the hero Guybrush Threepwood in game 3 and 4, along with remakes of the original two, too makes a comeback to the industry with this game.
They have also released a site for the game for those who want to check out.
Return to Monkey Island is announced to be released later this year. We will be eagerly waiting for it.
The announcement of this game has brought a lot of emotions in us. It has reawakened our childhood and the child in us. Let’s hope it stays up to the expectations. As long as Ron Gilbert is behind the game, it mostly will do so.
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