Return to Monkey Island
is a new point-and-click adventure game from series creator Ron Gilbert, LucasArts veterans Dave Grossman and David Fox, among others. Published by Devolver
and Lucasfilm Games
it has secretly been in development for the past couple of years, and it's on track for release sometime this year.
As part of a new interview over at Adventure Gamers
with Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman we got some insight into the development of this long-awaited return to... Monkey Island. Plus the very first screenshots highlighting the new art style.
Ron has expressed interest in creating a new Monkey Island in the past, though it was always with the caveat that he would get creative control. How it all came about was a meeting with Devolver, who knew someone at Lucasfilm Games at Disney, to ask and see if anything was possible. "The whole thing came about because I was talking to Nigel [Lowrie] from Devolver," Ron Gilbert say. "We got together, I think it was at PAX, and we just started talking. He had mentioned that he knew John Drake, that they were friends, and John Drake was in charge of, I think, the licensing at Lucasfilm Games. So he wanted to approach [John] about doing a Monkey Island, and I thought sure, let’s see if anything goes."
Of course, before the pitch Ron got together with Dave Grossman where the pair spent a few days together hammering out the new story. "After that discussion with Dave that I felt confident, 'All right, I think we can make a good game'," Ron adds. "And that’s when the discussion started up for real."
In the interview we also learn that the development team on Return to Monkey Island peaked at around 29 people, with things currently winding down as the game readies for release. In terms of the art direction, Rex Crowle, who worked on LittleBigPlanet and Double Fine’s Knights and Bikes, brought a new style and look to the series. As far as moving away from pixel-art, this is something Ron had always planned on.
"The pixel art had been done before—we’re now thirty-five years from the last pixel art game version of it—[The Curse of Monkey Island] had its art style, [Escape from Monkey Island] had its own art style, [Tales of Monkey Island] had its own art style," Ron says. "So you really look at these games, and there have been more non-pixel games than there have been pixel games, at this point in time. And I wanted to embrace something new, and to try something new for the art style, and kind of continue that tradition, almost, of reexamining what the art was for [Monkey Island]."
Be sure to check out the full interview
for more on Return to Monkey Island. Where we also learn that even though this will be a sequel of sorts to Monkey Island 2, Ron and the team have ensured that they don't invalidate any of the canon and stories found in subsequent Monkey Island adventures. Plus, at some point the action will return to Melee Island - the setting of the very first game.