20. August 2022

A new trailer for Return to Monkey Island dropped in late June and it’s wonderful. And the game website has been updated too with more exciting information that looks very promising! Stan trying to sell the game! Guybrush narrating his story in the trailer! The return of Dominique Armato, who became the voice of Guybrush Threepwood 25 years ago! A hint of a new story! A first look at the characters in motion! A full-blown orchestral music score! It’s all very fun and nostalgic and refreshingly new.

But then something sad happened. The negative comments about the art style began to take over, even though most people seem to be happy with the design. The mainly enthusiastic and supportive mood about the new Monkey Island began to turn bad and in only a few days the discussion about the style turned toxic in many comment sections. On Ron Gilbert’s own GrumpyGamer blog the comments got so bad that he had to turn them off and he said he refuses to discuss the game online anymore – much to the disappointment of many, including Dominic Armato, who shared the news in a Twitter post.

The accusations against Ron Gilbert and his team were downright mean and abusive – people demanding that the game should be cancelled and redone were just the tip of the iceberg. That is not the way to treat creators and I think it was Dominic Armato again who brought it to a point in another Tweet: “It isn’t about having the freedom to voice your opinion. It isn’t about constructive criticism. It’s about trying to bully somebody into giving you what you want.” He also wrote “For a community that fiercely defends its medium as art, there are an awful lot of people who do their damndest to treat it like a dumb commodity.” It’s plain and simple abuse of people who just want to create a game to bring sorely needed joy in those times when it’s most needed..

It’s sad that Ron Gilbert had to endure lthis and his reaction is completely understandable. Fortunately, Dominic Armato’s Twitter posts rallied the true fans of Monkey Island around – after a long thread about the what and why of the graphics style, the love, admiration and general goodness started pouring in. It was clear that a small, but loud minority tried to bully the game developers just because they could. But they did not succeed and as more about Return of Monkey Island comes to light, the game just looks more and more amazing.

Now we have Monkey Island Monday on Twitter, where someone from the Team – mostly Ron Gilbert or Dave Grossmann – share a new video of the game in action and revealing more new and old Characters – this makes the waiting much more fun.

As for myself, I think the graphics will be just fine! Every Monkey Island game had its own style and people complain each time. People didn’t like the cartoon style of Curse… and the 3D style of Escape… and Tales… but the point is that this didn’t come out of nowhere. The game has been in development for two years already! Of course the graphics owe much to the style of art director Rex Crowle, but his interpretation of the characters is actually spot on and look even better when they are animated in the latest clips that have been shared.

It’s neither “90s flash graphics” or “cheap commercial animation” as some people are shouting, but goes somewhat back all the way to the sometimes minimalist style of designer Saul Bass and illustrator and painter Josh “Shag” Agle. It will be strange, familiar, exciting and amazing. And the graphics are not even everything, we can also look forward to a new story, the already amazing sounding music and, of course, the voice acting. It will be a LOT of fun!

I have only one worry: will my old PC be able to run it? Probably, but I might need a new graphics card if the engine doesn’t support DirectX 11. It would have tradition – about 20 years ago I bought my first 3D graphics card just for Escape of Monkey Island!

Where it all started…

Kategorie: Games, Lucasarts
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