Gilbert and Grossman aim to make a Monkey Island video game that appeals to new players but also retains the canon.
The news came this month: Monkey Island Returns, with Ron Gilbert. Return to Monkey Island will be a direct sequel to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. However, the announcement contained rather little information. Now we can find out more about the development from an interview with the authors, as well as several new images.
Starting with the latter, the screenshots show an ending closer to what we saw in The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition than The Curse of Monkey Island or Thimbleweed Park from Terrible Toybox, dismissing the idea that the new installment in the franchise could be a retro comeback.
In an interview, game co-creator Dave Grossman told The Verge that both he and Ron Gilbert have learned enough to say new things about the world of Monkey Island, so they’ve accepted the challenge to return to the series. “It’s an opportunity to work with Ron once again and revisit these characters, this world that I love, and have fun.” he says.
But time has passed for both the creators and the game – can this adventure game still appeal to today’s generation of gamers? “We wanted to make a really good, authentic Monkey Island, something capable of satisfying the thirst of the fans. But we were also very aware that there are probably a lot more people who have never played Monkey Island but have heard of it.” says Gilbert. “We wanted to build something that was accessible to them and they could easily enter the world of Monkey Island without feeling alien the moment they start the game. Those are really important aspects of the story and design that we addressed.”
To achieve this, they worked on a visualisation that allows the context of each situation to be explained in a natural way, especially when it is relevant to the story. And according to Gilbert, some of Thimbleweed Park’s players less familiar with LucasArts’ legacy have also reviewed the adventure’s references and humorous points.
What about the canon of Monkey Island?
Another topic of discussion was how the game fits into the universe that had several parts after Ron Gilbert left the franchise after LeChuck’s Revenge. Shortly after the announcement of Return to Monkey Island, the software developer assured us that The Monkey Island Escape would remain in the canon of its universe, but had previously stated that this was contrary to his vision for the story of Return.
“We couldn’t make a game identical to the one we would have made in 1992; we’re not the same as we were then, the world is different and there are several more releases of the saga in it. We see them, and we like them, and we didn’t want to just not acknowledge them,” the designer states in The Verge. “Our general philosophy is part of sticking to the existing canon as much as possible with two caveats: one is that we can’t be on top of all things […] The other is that canon can sometimes get in the way of telling a good story, and that’s never a battle you want to lose.”
Source: The Verge