What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman return to Monkey Island. Absolutely devoted or cautiously skeptical, a legion of gamers between their thirties and fifties are already counting the hours, days and minutes to get their hands on a game that, more than a game, promises to be a generational event.

In the summer of the 90s a brand new one PC 286 Computer Tulip go home. With it came two games that would soon become, for me and for many others, an absolute obsession. I speak, of course, of the graphic adventures from Lucas Film Games: The secret of the monkey island And Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The golden age of graphic adventure lasted half a breath, barely five years. Fortunately, it gave time for the luxury trident formed by Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman Y Tim Schafer (there was little room for Mbappé), he signed two legendary titles, the first two parts of the adventures of Guybrush Threepwoodeternal pirate apprentice.

The secret of Monkey Island y Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revengethey were The Godfather I and II of the genre, but as happened with the Coppola trilogy, the third chapter (The Curse of Monkey Island), although good, it would not completely meet the expectations of the community when you arrive regularly and late. It is true that that episode had many “esques”: “it’s no longer in pixel art”, “it’s that Gilbert doesn’t direct it anymore”, “it’s that now what sucks is the Earthquake II“… Then there would be the grim 3D delivery and tank-like control, and we all remember what happened, right? The point is, the graphic adventures have marked a before and after for the storytelling, both at because of all the reps who fit a lot Sierra online launched between the 80s and 90s or by the more punctual but equally brilliant ones by Lucas herself. In recent years, the truth is that absolutely all genres are undergoing a large number of deliveries due to the fact that the industry is changing and getting wider and wider which has benefited this type of game which has passed very hard. the beginning of two thousand. We have recently seen powerful games like Thimbleweed Parkin fact, clearly paying homage to the style of Palazzo Maniaco. However, we lacked the Monkey Island saga. A few days ago we had what we needed: the announcement of Return to Monkey Island.

20 years later, on Monkey Island

It was the year 2016 when a tweet written by Ron Gilbert (expressly addressed to Disney) has pinched the hearts of many of us. Gilbert asked the entertainment giant, since they would not do anything with them, he would give them licenses for Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. At the time, the request seemed far from successful..

Gilbert, in command of his company Terrible toy box, was immersed in the development of that Thimbleweed Park of which I spoke only a few lines above. A vintage graphic adventure financed through crowdfunding that promised to take us back in time to the early 90s, offering us all the good of the time and none of the bad. The game was a hit among veteran players, but a rushed ending (probably due to lack of budget) and somewhat patchy puzzle design caused we would love to but that some of the most demanding players have turned up their noses a bit. It’s true that Gilbert, who teamed up with Gary Winnick for the occasion, promised a tribute to Maniac Mansion, and it would be fair to say he delivered, but the community burned the first two Monkey Islands into their subconscious. high demandmaybe too much.

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

Almost six years had passed from Gilbert’s tweet to Disney until last April 1st (the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of our April Fool’s Day), when Gilbert himself, on his personal blog, announced that, although he didn’t like fish very much April, was about to develop a new Monkey Island. It was just that, two sentences. Not an image, not a video. It seemed like a more or less heavy joke which also did not make too much noise in the networks. Three days later, things would change and a lot …

On April 4th, once again on his blog, Gilbert posted a teaser video hosted on Devolver Digital’s YouTube account announcing the return of the franchise, and for this year! In it, we can see a ghost pirate playing the violin who receives a visit from the Murray skullthat after referring to Gilbert himself, he is thrown overboard by the pirate, putting the first bar on the table and an important mission statement: the new game, titled with an evocative Return to Monkey Island, will be a direct continuation of the first two installments, so, if it had one, the franchise’s canon will ignore the sequels that haven’t left their hands. by Gilbert. The skull of The Curse of Monkey Island comes out, but is thrown into the water: it’s a bit ambiguous, does it mean that any hope of seeing characters or situations from the third and fourth episode goes into the sea with it? Although there are also people who have interpreted it as “okay, there is Murray. There are things in Gilbert’s head beyond the first two games. “

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

In fact, we don’t have much information about this new game, aside from the graphic style shown in the video, the fact that it is the “real” third part of the franchise and the certainty that Dominic Armato will voice Guybrush, but what? what can we expect from it? Let’s start with the safe: when it comes to music we can rest assured, as three legends of the golden age of “Casa Lucas” are confirmed: Michele Terra, Peter McConnel Y Clint Bajakian. And the truth is, even if you can’t ask for less, the teaser sounds luxurious.

It doesn’t look like any of the classic old names LucasArts will be involved.For what concern graphic appearance, until we see more material it will be difficult to pronounce. It doesn’t sound like any of the old classic names LucasArts will be involved, and the bitter memory of the graphics of the special editions of the first two “Monkeys” (especially in the case of the first) published in 2009 and 2010, instills a certain uncertainty in the players. Is there a guarantee, yes, artistically it all comes from the hand of Rex Crowdfunding (who has powerful games like Little big planet) and the truth is that you might like the teaser more or less, but it has a lot of personality.

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

What we know for sure 100% is that Gilbert does not come alone to take on the project, but rather that he does it accompanied by the essential Dave Grossman, the calm and witty yin that balances Gilbert’s charismatic and broad yang. With this we have two of the three in charge of the legendary games of the franchise (Tim Schafer must be quite busy with the development of future projects after the recent release Psychonauts 2 at his Double Fine company).

How I wish it was Return to Monkey Island

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

Let’s be honest, if the main attraction of a new Monkey Island is the morbid nostalgia and the itch that comes from knowing that Gilbert is once again in charge of the project, the graphics frustrate me. If there was one good thing about Thimbleweed Park, it was hers wonderful pixel art, the work of the legendary Mark Ferrari and the new Catalan genius Octavi Navarro. In the newly released teaser, the graphics are not bad, but it seems clear that they are 2D motion graphics and not discrete assets on a sprite sheet. We haven’t seen much either, so you can’t put the bandage on before the wound, however, if a game needed some nice and refined pixel art, it was this “third part of Monkey Island”. Yes, the development would have been much more time-consuming and resource-intensive, but I hope the decision was artistic and not just commercial.

As for the game itself, recently Noah Falstein, another big name in the classic LucasFilms Games (later LucasArts), claimed to have been testing the game for months and said he was happy to see it finally came true, but he did not include an ounce of hype in his message. This also doesn’t mean anything, of course, but it’s not something that particularly reassures me.

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

The fact is that the years have passed and the players have aged, we have become institutionalized, like Brooks Life imprisonment. we have become comfortable, we want everything for yesterday and at our doorstep. Can this new delivery live up to the first two? There’s a possibility? The more than thirty years that have passed since we first played those games must be noted yes or yes. Also in Ron Gilbert.

His layout will, no doubt, be unbeatable, but since Gilbert is in charge of the engine, the puzzles, the story … Maybe they are. too many pending things to take into account, and even more so in these days of alpha versions and early access, where there is not much time to stop and look at the landscape, the development context, something that graphic adventures need to breathe.

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

Personally, I want the game to work. I need everything to be okay. I need it to be a The Godfather Part IIIsomething different, anachronistic, but which does not detract from the brand (as did the old and late fourth chapter, the deservedly forgotten Escape from Monkey Island), which is a worthy end point, a heroic and courageous work that tries to pay homage to itself knowing that it has much more past than future, that many of the original actors are no longer with us and that most of the viewers are not they see longer films about the Italian mafia. I, at least at this point, have to believe it …

What I like and dislike about Return to Monkey Island as a fan of adventure games

But although I am skeptical about certain things, indeed prudent, there is something that should make us hope that all this will come true: and it is precisely the fact that Gilbert and Grossman they make an artistic and working couple again. With Grossman focused on balancing the humorous tone of the game, Gilbert will be able to focus more on the overall direction of the game, as well as handling the puzzles. In these times of cynical skepticism, nihilism, bigots, thugs and skinny skins, Return to Monkey Island won’t be easy, but for many this will be the last chance to be young again for a few hours.

If nostalgia is the attempt go back to the ghost of the place where you were happy, Monkey Island is having a summer snack at your grandparents’ house as Induráin wins another Tour on TV. The only thing that remains to be known is whether the sandwich, on this occasion, is Nocilla or Nutella, which yes, they are similar, but they are not the same thing.

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