A few months after the surprise (not) April’s Fool announcement, Devolver Digital and LucasFilm have revealed the gameplay for Return to Monkey Island.
Back in April, Return to Monkey Island was announced as one of the most unlikely video game sequels in recent years in the form of an April Fools’ Day prank. Series creator Ron Gilbert first aired the story on April 1 before it was officially announced on April 3, revealing that it would be a new instalment in LucasArts’ beloved Monkey Island point-and-click adventure game series, published by Devolver Digital in partnership with the recently reformed LucasFilm Games.
After nearly three months without any updates despite a 2022 release window, Devolver finally revealed Return to Monkey Island’s gameplay today as part of the Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase.
The series creator Ron Gilbert is positioning the game as a true sequel to 1992’s Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, which culminated in the now-iconic cliffhanger ending that hasn’t been fully resolved by sequels like Curse of Monkey Island since, at least according to Gilbert’s intentions.
Return to Monkey Island is the first new instalment in the series since 2009’s Tales of Monkey Island and the first episode Gilbert has directed and written since leaving LucasArts after developing Monkey Island 2. Despite serving as a sequel to the second instalment, Ron Gilbert has stated that Return will include characters and elements from later games.
The Return to Monkey Island was conspicuously absent from Devolver Digital’s Devolver Direct 2022 presentation, leaving many fans who were looking forward to the game puzzled.
Now it has been revealed that the game will be a timed console exclusive for Nintendo Switch. This announcement came alongside the first gameplay trailer, which showed that several beloved characters such as Carla, Wally, Stan and Otis would be returning, as well as the first look at the game’s new art style, which comes from Knights and Bikes and Tearaway artist Rex Crowle.
The trailer also introduces a new interface inspired by Ron Gilbert’s Thimbleweed Park spin-off game Delores. The game is being developed by Terrible Toybox, the studio founded by Ron Gilbert, who previously developed Thimbleweed Park, and will see the return of Guybrush Threepwood’s voice actor Dominic Armato.
Return to Monkey Island will also feature music from the series’ composers Michael Land, Peter McConnell and Cliff Bajakian.
Although there is no specific release date for Return to Monkey Island, the game’s Steam and Nintendo eShop pages are now live and reveal details about the game’s story. Set sometime after the events of Monkey Island 2, Return to Monkey Island will follow Guybrush, who has “drifted” because he never found the true secret of Monkey Island. Guybrush has been replaced by a new generation of pirates, such as the new character Captain Madison, and familiar locations like Melee Island have been brought under new, formidable control.