Nobody ever thought it would happen, but then it did: Ron Gilbert returned to Monkey Island with, well, Return to Monkey Island. The game is a sequel to The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge. The game first launched for PC and Nintendo Switch in September, and the developer has now announced that it will also be coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series (sorry, last-gen users).
It’s been years since Guybrush Threepwood battled (with wits) with zombie pirate LeChuck. Guybrush finds himself adrift and unfulfilled as his true love is no longer focused on governing. It doesn’t help that he never actually found the Secret of Monkey Island. Meanwhile, young pirate leaders have taken over Melee Island, with infamous businessman Stan imprisoned for marketing-related crimes. Old faces and new will make an appearance in Return to Monkey Island, on familiar islands. Then Guybrush sails the seas to explore the unknown. All he needs to do is solve puzzles, get out of bizarre situations, and battle his was to glory. Easy peasy.
Return to Monkey Island is a shining example of classic point-and-click gameplay in the modern world. It features “classic” adventure game controls, context-sensitive interactions, reactive dialogue trees, and an easy inventory system. The series creator, Ron Gilbert isn’t the only big name on the project: other people that worked on the game include co-writer Dave Grossman, art director Rex Crowle (Knights & Bikes, Tearaway), and composers Peter McConnell, Michael Land, and Clint Bajakian (Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge).
Matt was beyond excited when Return to Monkey Island was announced, and I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment. The Monkey Island Games are the gold standard of point-and-click adventures, often used as inspiration for other developers. At least part of my excitement comes from the thought that maybe this will popularize the genre again… there’s been a good amount of indie titles with the same idea, but big studios don’t seem terribly interested. Too bad.
Developed by Terrible Toybox and published by Devolver Digital, Return to Monkey Island will be released for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series on November 8. It is current available for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch.