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Ron Gilbert Dreams of Monkey Island 3a

posted by BlankCanvasDJ on - last edited - Viewed by 3K users
Ron Gilbert posted this in his blog yesterday, in case you guys didn't see it.
If I Made Another Monkey Island...
Apr 15, 2013 five past eleven am
Yeah, I know, that sounds like the title of the O.J. Simpson book. I realized that after I typed it, but I'm not going to change it.

So, before I get into this fanciful post, I want to make one thing perfectly clear... actually, I'm just going to make it my first point. It's probably the most important one. Actually, I'll make it the first two points.

One - I am not making another Monkey Island. I have no plans to make another Monkey Island. I am not formulating plans to make another Monkey Island.

Two - Let me say that again. There is no new Monkey Island in works and I have no plans to make one. I'm just thinking and dreaming and inviting you come along with me. Please your keep your hands inside the boat at all times. No standing or you might get wet.

But, If I made another Monkey Island...

Three - It would be a retro game that harkened back to Monkey Island 1 and 2. I'd do it as "enhanced low-res". Nice crisp retro art, but augmented by the hardware we have today: parallaxing, depth of field, warm glows, etc. All the stuff we wanted to do back in 1990 but couldn't. Monkey Island deserves that. It's authentic. It doesn't need 3D. Yes, I've seen the video, it's very cool, but Monkey Island wants to be what it is. I would want the game to be how we all remember Monkey Island.

Four - It would be a hardcore adventure game driven by what made that era so great. No tutorials or hint systems or pansy-assed puzzles or catering to the mass-market or modernizing. It would be an adventure game for the hardcore. You're going to get stuck. You're going to be frustrated. Some puzzles will be hard, but all the puzzles will be fair. It's one aspect of Monkey Island I am very proud of. Read this.

Five - I would lose the verbs. I love the verbs, I really do, and they would be hard to lose, but they are cruft. It's not as scary as it sounds. I haven't fully worked it out (not that I am working it out, but if I was working it out, which I'm not, I wouldn't have it fully worked out). I might change my mind, but probably not. Mmmmm... verbs.

Six - Full-on inventory. Nice big juicy icons full of pixels. The first version of Monkey Island 1 had text for inventory, a later release and Monkey Island 2 had huge inventory icons and it was nirvana. They will be so nice you'll want to lick them. That's a bullet-point for the box.

Seven - There would be a box. I imagine most copies would be sold digitally, but sometimes you just want to roll around in all your adventure game boxes. I know I do. Besides, where would you store the code wheel?

Eight - There would be dialog puzzles. They weren't really puzzles, but that's what we called them. Being able to tell four jokes at once and meander and getting lost in the humor of a conversation is the staple of Monkey Island. No one has done it better since. Just my opinion.

Nine - I would rebuild SCUMM. Not SCUMM as in the exact same language, but what SCUMM brought to those games. It was a language built around making adventure games and rapid iteration. It did things Lua could never dream of. When Lua was in High School, SCUMM beat it up for lunch money. True story. SCUMM lived and breathed adventure games. I'd build an engine and a language where funny ideas can be laughed about at lunch and be in the game that afternoon. SCUMM did that. It's something that is getting lost today.

Ten - It would be made with a very small team. Not 30 or 20, but 10 or less. It means the game would take longer, but it would be more personal and crafted with love. Monkey love. Wait... that's not what I meant...

Eleven - The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP. I've spent too much of my life creating and making things other people own. Not only would I allow you to make Monkey Island fan games, but I would encourage it. Label them as such, respect the world and the characters and don't claim they are canon. Of course, once the lawyers get ahold of that last sentence it will be seven pages long.

Twelve - It would be called Monkey Island 3a. All the games after Monkey Island 2 don't exist in my Monkey Island universe. My apologies to the all talented people who worked on them and the people who loved them, but I'd want to pick up where I left off. Free of baggage. In a carnival. That doesn't mean I won't steal some good ideas or characters from other games. I'm not above that.

Thirteen - It won't be the Monkey Island 3 I was going to make in 1992. I'm not the same person I was back then. I could never make that game now. It is lost to time. Hopefully this one would be better.

Fourteen - The press won't get advanced copies. I know all the reasons they want to get a game in advance, and they are all valid, but I feel they should play it at the same time you do. I hope they won't be mad at me. My Metacritic score hopes they won't be mad it me.

Fifteen - It would have full voice. It's something we dreamed of back then and we can do it now.

Sixteen - If I used Kickstarter, there would be no fancy videos of me trying to look charming (as if I could). No concept art or lofty promises or crazy stretch goals or ridiculous reward tiers. It would be raw and honest. It would be free of hype and distractions that keep me from making the best game I could. True, I wouldn't raise huge sums of money or break any records, but that's not what I want to do. I want to make a game.

Seventeen - The game would be the game I wanted to make. I don't want the pressure of trying to make the game you want me to make. I would vanish for long periods of time. I would not constantly keep you up-to-date or be feeding the hype-machine. I'd show stuff that excited me or amused me. If you let me do those things, you will love the game. That, I promise.

I hope you've had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

Personally, as a fan of the entire series (not just the first two), I'm not terribly excited about the idea of a game that completely disregards more than half of the storyline, but it's nice to see that serious people still have more Monkey Island on the brain.
17 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I want to play one where four is true!
  • Just knowing that Ron Gilbert actually wants to make another game (whether or not he ever can) is enough to give a little hope. It's reassuring to see that he's on the same page as his fans.

    The fact that Ron's been holding onto the 3rd part of his story for so many years means that deep down he knows he'll one day get a chance to tell it.

    Even with the IP locked up in the House of Mouse and Telltale moving on to other ventures, I wouldn't count this series out yet. Like LeChuck, it always manages to resurrect itself.
  • I would be OK with Ron disregarding 3, 4 and Tales... It would not make me enjoy those games anyless... I would still think of them as MI games.. just sort of an alternate story or universe (going all comic dork on your faces!!!!)
  • User Avatar Image
    Ron has made another blog post which clarifies one of the things he had said.

    I find this bit to be quite interesting: "If I end up being able to make this game at some point, we all might find that it fits nicely in between Monkey Island 2 and Curse of Monkey Island."
  • I liked Curse and Tales (mixed feelings about Escape), but I'd have no complaints if Ron did make his own MI3A. I'd just be curious if he'd have Dominic Armato voice Guybrush cause I really can't imagine anyone else doing it.
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    Jennifer Moderator
    Considering Dominic Armato has now voiced Guybrush in all 5 games thanks to the special editions, it would be a bit weird not to have him voice Guybrush in Ron's Monkey Island 2 sequel.

    I must say that I wasn't too thrilled about the prospect when I thought it was meant to be a replacement for Curse of Monkey Island, but now that it's revealed to be a compliment to CMI, I really like the idea. CMI does start mysteriously enough that another game could conceivably take place before it (and LeChuck's explanations at the end about the carnival of the damned never quite explain how Guybrush got to be floating on a bumper car out at sea).

    The sad thing though, is that it's not likely to ever happen (unless Ron changes his mind about working on the game while the franchise is owned by someone else).
  • Yeah, I was going to mention before Ron went ahead and did it anyway that I recall Ron never having many problems with Curse apart from the whole getting married thing as he saw Guybrush and Elaine more like squabbling siblings.

    As Jennifer points, LeChucks retcon fest of tying up as many loose ends as possible still leaves the massive question of how the game starts, why is Guybrush older, why is he in a bumper kart in the middle of the ocean, etc, etc. We just assume there was some crazy adventure that Guybrush had to regain his adult form and escape.

    Another point I didn't agree with in Rob's initial post was about the graphics style, this whole nostalgia effect has been drained by indie developers, that whole "Retro" 8 bit charm feels way over done now and with all the games you see doing that now, it doesn't feel right, the graphic jump from Monkey Island 1 to Monkey Island 2 was huge and the art style of Curse just felt perfect, the ONLY way I would agree with it is if it met somewhere in the middle, say done in the style of Sam & Max: Hit the Road or Full Throttle, so it would be like as if it WAS released between MI2 and Curse.

    edit: And in regards to a rare reply by Ron in the comments section about Murray...
    2) I never said Murray wouldn't be in it.

    ...If Ron could work a Human Murray into the story somehow, even if it's just a cameo where he doesn't meet Guybrush, that would be great, IF it ever happens of course.
  • I feel that many people would jump on me for saying this, but I would rather Telltale did another Monkey Island then Ron Gilbert.
    Tales is the best game in the series and to be honest monkey island 2 is probably the worst in my opinion.
  • Eighteen - Please see one and two!

    It's just a dream
  • Syd wrote: »
    Ron has made another blog post which clarifies one of the things he had said.

    I find this bit to be quite interesting: "If I end up being able to make this game at some point, we all might find that it fits nicely in between Monkey Island 2 and Curse of Monkey Island."

    I've seen him say similar things before, and it makes sense. I've heard a variety of people saying that MI2 was just a kid playing around, and while it certainly seems that way at the end of the game (and even kinda feels like it if you go through the plot), I think the whole "LeChuck flaming eyes" thing was supposed to unseat that as an absolute. (Leave it open for sequels if he wanted one.) It seems he did, at one point, want it to continue, so we can't assume the kid thing was supposed to be gospel truth. Rather, it was just the devs playing around with us.

    Now that Guybrush's future and continuity has been long decided, there are still a few deliberate holes left in the story. (Usually for humor.) We don't know how he escaped from the Carnival floating away in a bumper car. It would make an interesting theme for a new game.
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