Cult series from the end of the 20th century, the video game Monkey Island signs its big return this week with its creator at the helm, eager to complete the story of apprentice pirate Guybrush Threepwood.
“I can’t guarantee that all the answers are in this game, or even if players will like them”American Ron Gilbert, 58, laughs during an interview with AFP. “I always wanted to go back to this universe and do a sequel (…) This sense of unfinished business is a bit of a common thread for us and our hero”, he adds. It is true that like the ghost pirate Lechuck, the main antagonist of the story, his saga seems to be resurrected.
When the first opus was released in 1990, it was a huge critical success, with gamers praising its humor and slightly wacky hacking world. The adventure progresses as you solve puzzles and brain teasers, including collecting and combining various objects, ending on a strange Caribbean island populated by monkeys.
Although it is not the first game of the LucasArts group, the video game subsidiary of director Georges Lucas’s company, it refines the formula of computer adventure games.
“It was a very innovative game at the time”emphasizes Patrick Hellio, author of The story of Point’n Click: the epic of the graphic adventure gamewho brags about his “fascinating storytelling” Y “all the hilarious nods to pop culture”. An equally successful sequel was released the following year and left gamers with a cliffhanger that became memorable… and has never been resolved since.
Shortly after, Ron Gilbert left LucasArts and the series continued without its creator. Other shutters are born, the last one in 2009, but they know a more mitigated success. With Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 and the closure of LucasArts, Monkey Island It fades from the video game landscape, as does fans’ hope for a real ending to their adventure.
Also, when Ron Gilbert announces, on April 1, that he is working on a new play, disbelief runs high among the players. In the greatest secrecy, and after six months of negotiations, his studio Terrible Toybox and the American publisher Devolver have reached an agreement with Disney to develop a new work.
“We have been waiting for this for years and expectations are high”, acknowledges Patrick Hellio, adding that such a sequel, so long after, represents “a unique case” in the history of video games. A pressure that weighs on the shoulders of the small team of 25 people who designed the game for two years.
“Inevitably, players’ memories are tinged with nostalgia”explains Dave Grossman, co-writer of the series who also worked on this episode, released Monday on PC and the Nintendo Switch console.
“The secret of Monkey Island has become a myth in its own right and it is very difficult to tackle this mythology”Ron Gilbert points out. “We quickly told ourselves that we could never satisfy everyone, so we just played the game that we were going to like.”
If the more “cartoon”-oriented graphic style set some teeth on edge, Return to Monkey Island retains the inventiveness and absurd humor that made her famous. Revisiting the highlights of the series and its iconic characters, this return has a flavor of nostalgia for fans, with a modernized and streamlined format for new players.
“We should do one again every ten or fifteen years, right?” Dave Grossman jokes, smiling. Monkey Island may not have revealed all of its secrets yet.
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