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Since reemerging last year with a new strategy as Disney’s go-to video game umbrella for all things Star Wars and more, Lucasfilm Games has been busy raising the bounty on its treasure trove of old-school video game names. Now we can add another long-dormant one to the list — and it’s a swashbuckling blast from the past.
Return to Monkey Island, a new sequel to the beloved game series that first set sail with The Secret of Monkey Island is on the way — and it’s reassembling most of the key creative leads responsible for the original game and its 1991 sequel, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. The old-school pair of addictive point-and-click adventures introduced early-1990s fans to Guybrush Threepwood, the intrepid island-exploring wannabe pirate who can still lay claim to one of the coolest names in gaming.
Though it’s brief and shows only a single snapshot of what’s in store, the official announcement teaser for Return to Monkey Island is already making a big cannonball splash on social media.
Check it out:
In partnership with Lucasfilm Games and hitmaking studio DevolverDigital, original Monkey Island co-creator Ron Gilbert helped spread the news on Twitter, announcing the game will be dropping anchor soon — as in sometime this year. A release date that close is definitely eye-catching, but Gilbert even teased that his Terrible Toybox studio has been plying the waves to bring the project to life for a while now: It’s “[a] little something we’ve been working on for the past 2 years in complete secrecy,” he tweeted.
Via IGN, Return to Monkey Island reunites the core team from the old LucasArts studio who made the first two games in the series — with the exception of co-creator Tim Schafer (the same mind behind Psychonauts and Grim Fandango). That includes original co-writer and designer Dave Grossman, as well as composers Michael Land, Michael McConnell and Clint Bajakian.
Coming during the formative gameplaying years for many of today’s current big-name developers, the old-school Monkey Island hooked players with its highly interactive blend of RPGs dialogue choices and a Caribbean-set story that glamorized its hero’s high-seas hopes for pirate-worthy adventures. Later hit franchises like Uncharted would go on to incorporate some of those same themes, and in fact Naughty Dog even paid homage to its 1990s forerunner with a basket of cleverly-hidden Monkey Island Easter eggs that showed up in Uncharted 4.
Though more Monkey Island sequels followed throughout the 1990s, the first two games appear to be the jumping-off point for this one, with DevolverDigital teasing Return to Monkey Island as “the long-awaited follow-up to the legendary Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge.” There’s scant info on what the new game contains, though IGN reports that Gilbert has previously hinted at wanting to make “a hardcore adventure game” that recalls the spirit of the earliest games in the series.
Whatever’s on the horizon, at least the wait won't be long: Return to Monkey Island is set to make landfall sometime before the end of 2022.