LeChuck Me: Monkey Island Returns

By Alec Meer on June 1st, 2009 at 5:31 pm.

Shock! Classic comedy-adventure Monkey Island is coming back – twice. First up, we’ve got a remake of the original Secret of Monkey Island, complete with new graphics and – ooh, controversial – voicework. Then, Telltale (who handled the recent, divisive Sam & Max comeback series) will work with Lucasarts on five new gamettes, to be known as Tales of Monkey Island. Blimey. Hell just froze over, pigs flew, and the pope did his business in the woods. Details and some footage below.

This is sure to be met with equal parts utter joy and utter dismay, depending on folks’ fandom/puritan balance. Clearly this is the tip of the iceberg, however – read the bit at the end of the below press release, in which Lucasarts claim to have other surprise resurrections of their olden franchises waiting in the wing. It’s like the last 15 years didn’t happen… No mention of Tim Schafer being involved, alas, but Ron Gilbert has been involved in, at the very least, a consultancy sense. To celebrate the announcement, he’s just posted a long making of piece for the original SOMI.

More details on the remake on its official site here, and on the Telltale games here.

Here’s a trailer for Telltale’s new series:

There’s also this making of docco for the remake, which features Ron Gilbert hisself, amongst other Lucasarts alumni:

Finally, a very long press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif – June 1, 2009 – LucasArts today announced that the original hilarious pirate adventure is back, with two new projects underway based on the classic Monkey Island franchise. Beginning in just a few short weeks, Telltale will premiere the Tales of Monkey Island™ game series, delivering a completely new epic storyline and swashbuckling flair that will unfold across five monthly episodes on PC and WiiWare™. The Monkey Island celebration continues later in the summer when LucasArts publishes The Secret of Monkey Island™: Special Edition, a completely re-imagined version of the first game in the series that adds updated high definition graphics, a re-mastered musical score, and full voiceover to the classic adventure game originally launched in 1990. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition will be made available on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and PC.

Today’s announcement represents a new partnership between LucasArts and digital entertainment pioneers Telltale who are crafting new experiences for today’s audiences with engaging stories delivered through regular monthly episodes. Tales of Monkey Island is developed by Telltale, whose team includes designers and artists who worked on all of the previous Monkey Island games. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition is being developed internally by LucasArts, the company that started it all with the original Monkey Island games.

“We couldn’t be any more excited about bringing Monkey Island to today’s gamers — both in our special edition of the original classic, and through our collaboration with Telltale on the episodic series,” said LucasArts’ President Darrell Rodriguez. “We can’t wait for Guybrush Threepwood and LeChuck to return to gamers’ screens.”

About Tales of Monkey Island
Telltale’s Tales of Monkey Island brings the adventures of pirate Guybrush Threepwood into a new era with an explosive storyline that becomes deeper and more entangled during the course of the five-episode saga. While battling his nemesis, the evil pirate LeChuck, Guybrush accidentally unleashes an insidious voodoo pox that threatens to transform the buccaneers of the Caribbean into unruly pirate monsters. Players will experience the humor, romance, and swashbuckling action the Monkey Island games are famous for and unravel an insidious plot which is revealed across the course of the series. Tales of Monkey Island is set to premiere on PC and WiiWare in the coming weeks.
“The Monkey Island series set the standard for storytelling and character development in games,” said Telltale CEO Dan Connors. “The next several months should be filled with all kinds of surprises as we continue the dramatic stories of Guybrush, Elaine and LeChuck. We are happy to be working with LucasArts to make this happen.”

Telltale has posted a video preview and screenshots today at http://www.telltalegames.com/monkeyisland, and has opened up pre-orders at this site.

About The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
This summer, LucasArts will release The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition via Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 and for PCs.
Back by popular demand, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition faithfully re-imagines the internationally-acclaimed classic game (originally released in 1990) for original and new audiences alike. The development team at LucasArts is bringing the game into the modern era with all-new HD graphics, a re-mastered musical score, full voiceover, and an in-depth hint system has been added to help players through the game’s side-splitting puzzles. Purists will also delight in the ability to seamlessly switch between the updated HD graphics and the original’s classic look.
The game’s twisty plot leads hero, Guybrush Threepwood, on a hilarious quest throughout the fabled Monkey Island. Tales of pirate wealth attract Guybrush, who lands at the port of Mêlée with high hopes, no money and an insatiable desire to become a pirate. If the player is clever enough, Guybrush will win the confidence of Mêlée’s established pirates and soon find himself blown by the winds of fate toward Monkey Island — a storied isle whose name alone chills the bones of even the most bloodthirsty buccaneers.
More information about The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition can be found at the official website, www.MonkeyIslandSpecialEdition.com.
These efforts are just the start of LucasArts’ new mission to revitalize its deep portfolio of beloved gaming franchises. In addition to these new Monkey Island projects, LucasArts recently revealed that the classic adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (originally released in 1992) is included as an unlockable bonus in the Wii™ version of Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, set to be released on June 9. Additional announcements are forthcoming.

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139 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    That pic doesn’t look like Guybrush much =/

  2. Psychopomp says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

  3. Luomu says:

    High-def remake for PC and Xbox 360 but Tales of Monkey island for PC and Wiiware? What sense does this make?

    Well, maybe some technical sense. Telltale’s 3D engine is already proved on PC and Wii, while a new 2D game is maybe easier built for PC/360.

  4. Lobotomist says:

    Shave my legs and call me grandma!

  5. BlazerKnight says:

    Tim Schafer doesn’t seem to be involved.. but then we have the reputable Telltale Games.. yes, equal parts utter joy and utter dismay, indeed!

  6. Dracko says:

    Eh, could work.

    The Monkey Island series wasn’t all that funny past the first one, and really took a dip with the fourth iteration, and I can’t necessarily see it benefiting from yet another series of sequel being further removed from the core comedic conceit of the first one.

    Any word on who’s doing the voicework? Chances are there will be an option to mute it anyway.

  7. RLacey says:

    *squeels with joy*

  8. Smee says:

    As long as they get Dominic Armato, this could be really good.

  9. Bigfoot_King says:

    never got to play the original since it was before my gaming started yet this is one game i’ve always wanted to play

  10. Blather Blob says:

    That video on the Telltale site left me pretty cold, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m really excited about the remake though!

  11. Freelancepolice says:

    “Smee says:

    As long as they get Dominic Armato, this could be really good.

    quoted for truth. Glad these will coexist as seperate entities. Please bring MI2 and 3 to XBLA as well…. but not 4

  12. RLacey says:

    ^ they do have Armato onboard. For both the remake and the new series.

  13. The Hammer says:

    Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god.

    Excellent news!

  14. Nick says:

    Huh, just watched the making of video.. “we even did sketches of him with a beard..” what, like in Monkey Island 2? Revolutionary.

  15. James G says:

    This gets a nervous grin, although oddly I’m a bit more excited by the High Def remake, rather than Telltale’s attempts. Perhaps this does indicate that all fans of a game really want is the same game made over and over again.

    I’d have prefered a certain ‘Deathspank’ developer been given the reins for ‘tales’ but it seems that he at least got a chance to speak to the devs: http://grumpygamer.com/8280380 (He also gives a bit of insight into his recent re-play of Monkey Island)

    Monkey Island was in many way a formative game of mine. I began a long running love of the graphic adventure, and was something that firmly cemented me in the computer, rather than the console, side of things. I still remember eagerly clutching my copy of Monkey Island II on the Amiga, as I poured over the box-art.

  16. demonarm says:

    WTF

    This, gentlemen, has me overwhelmed. It bloody better be good, too.

  17. Danfishblue says:

    Not really into adventure games.

    I’ve never been good with puzzles since I always try logical things like kick the door down or use the key on door instead of doing crazy things like combining the key with a 2×4, the cat and the moon to create a time machine.

  18. Ginger Yellow says:

    “This gets a nervous grin, although oddly I’m a bit more excited by the High Def remake, rather than Telltale’s attempts”

    Likewise, although I’m willing to give Telltale the benefit of the doubt for now. I really, really liked the Strong Bad games. Their others, not so much.

    Any more word on the precise nature of Gilbert’s involvement? I thought he and LucasArts weren’t on the best of terms these days.

  19. RLacey says:

    I wonder if this is the gaming equivalent of another Star Wars film – if the new games aren’t superb there’ll be hell to pay…

  20. Tonamel says:

    What Psychopomp said.

    Also, OMG.

  21. Stupoider says:

    Wow! And only a matter of days after I finished the first 3 games. <3 I love you, RPS.

    I was hoping they would go back to the cartoony look of Monkey Island 3, though. :(

  22. Sal says:

    loading DOSBox as i type…oh yeah, i think i wet myself.

    Side note: Does this mean lucas will re-lunch older games too? Like, um, X-wing?

  23. MrMud says:

    monkey island is great, but honestly telltale are a little uneven in their stuff. Some things like Abe Lincoln must die is great but other stuff, not quite so much.

  24. James G says:

    @Ginger Yellow

    From his blog I got the impression that it was mainly just courtesy chats with the devs, and a bit of informal advice.

  25. Guto says:

    OMG! Monkey Island is easily my favorite series of all-time, and Telltale is the best adventure game company since LucasArts stopped making ‘em, so I’m pretty excited for these new releases =D

  26. CMaster says:

    I’m nervous that the new games would be as unfunny as the 4th one. Also, while moneky island was great, isn’t it honestly time to retire Guybrush now? He’s rich, sucessful and getting towards middle age.

    @Sal – ScummVM is a much better way to play the MI series (and all old Lucasarts adventures) than DOSBox.

  27. Cooper says:

    A remake of the original. Maybe, now, I might be bothered to play it… Yes, that’s right. I’ve never played it. Green pen letters to the usual address.

  28. rocketman71 says:

    Nice about the remake, not so sure about Telltale’s new series.

    Also.. PC and.. Wii Ware?!?!

  29. IvanHoeHo says:

    Exicted! But let’s hope that the engine’s actually capable of facial expressions by the time of release.

  30. Sisyfos says:

    I’m amazed about how faithful the special edition is to the original. The fact that you can switch seamlessly back and forth between the old and the new game is really cool.

  31. Tworak says:

    Well, then… nice.

  32. Serondal says:

    waiting for new version of Grim Fandango

    BTW Telltale made a series of Strong Bad adventure games which were EXTREMLY funny and true to the series. I wouldn’t be to worried that whatever the produce won’t be funny based on this track record along. Then again it may just be that Strongbad is funnier than Monkey Island ;)

    Personally love the pictures in the closet.

  33. Nick says:

    “Also.. PC and.. Wii Ware?!?!”

    That has happened with Strong Bad as well. Not sure about Sam & Max.

  34. Xercies says:

    Am I 7 years old again?

    Man I had a great grin on my face for that trailer but like everyone else I’m more excited about the remake(god damn I hate being a hypocrite) then the telltale one. I’ve heard not so many good things about Sam and Max so am a bit wary. Also without Tim on it how can it possibly still have Monkey Island humour?

  35. OUTRAGEOUS says:

    this is outrageous, the remake looks like absolute shit. I’m not even taking the sequel in consideration.

    The first monkey island is fine as it is. The remake is unnecessary and shit-looking.

    RAGE

  36. JohnArr says:

    LeChuck sounded shit. If they can get Armato they can get whoever played LeChuck in COMI. Unless he’s dead now, er.

  37. SuperNashwan says:

    Seeing that I don’t think the original is diminished in any way because of its dated graphics, and the voice acting in that ‘making of’ was pretty Saturday-morning-cartoon, I can’t say this excites me in the least. As for the episodic series, it’s just not going to be Monkey Island without the same people writing the jokes, is it?

  38. Thirith says:

    I always liked the second Monkey Island game better than the first. Including the ending. I think I’m pretty much in a minority with this, though.

  39. Downloads_Plz says:

    Oh my God.

    x1000

  40. Fede says:

    Oh, cool, we should get more remakes :D

    Hopefully also Telltale will do a good work, but if they don’t we still have the remake :P

  41. skizelo says:

    It’s a shame that Ron Gilbert’s not on board: it would be nice to see the beginning he planned after LeChuck’s Revenge’s finale. And to insure that the game’s, you know, good.
    And it’s good to see LucasArts doing something with the gold in its back-catalog, and I hope they continue the trend with games I don’t own already (like Dig and Zak McKracken). Don’t really know why they’re gilding it with new graphics, but hey, a re-release is a re-release.
    And Thirth, I prefer the second one as well. It’s a thing of beauty in every aspect.

  42. Pani says:

    I was hoping they’d use cell-shaded for future monkey islands, after seeing Wind Waker I always thought that cell shading was born for monkey island.
    Ah well, I’m just pumped they’re doing another game. This is a definite purchase for me!

  43. JohnArr says:

    Earl Boen! That’s the chap. Find him and hire him please Telltale or I’ll assume you’re actively trying to poo all over the brand.

  44. two_cents says:

    The remake does look awful indeed. I never liked the look and feel of Monkey Island 3 (and 4, then), when they made the character much younger, much “lol-ish”, cartoon-ish. He seemed decently an adult in 1 & 2, and it added to the fun. Adult as in “let’s play an adult, with a beard, and all”. I have nothing against making a remake, but they chose to keep the “Monkey Island 3 character”, and I think it is a deep mistake.

  45. Markoff Chaney says:

    Excellent comments, James G, and mirrored pretty heavily here as well. I look forward to the remake not because I feel Secret needs to be remade but I think it can be a good way to introduce some people to a franchise that helped define a genre. Here’s to hoping that the Telltale games follow the StrongBad mold, as I enjoyed them quite a bit more than the Sam and Maxes. I’m also hoping the execution is as good as the idea.

  46. ...hmm... says:

    cool, this is like them reissuing epic olden albums and then kids getting into it and reviving the music scene or something.
    didnt that happen with ska several times?

  47. cali746 says:

    Aaaargh!

    They removed the “Play loom” badge on the pirate’s jacket in the bar… Call me “fanatic” but it worries me for the spirit behind the special edition.

  48. Dr. Nerfball says:

    Umm… yeah, not sure i’m okay with this. If it’s good then all is fine and well, if it’s not, then I shall weep for all of todays younglings who gain the impression that Monkey island was “meh, a’ight” or whatever they say in this day and age.

    In other news: God damnit Telltale! Don’t destory what few happy memories remain of my teenage years!

  49. Smurfy says:

    So will the originals finally be on GOG now?

  50. Sabre says:

    Cool! Excuse me whilst I preorder immediately.

    I hope they remake LeChuck’s Revenge as well. Curse of Monkey Island has graphics and artistic direction that can easily stand the test of time and thus only ever needs updates to keep it compatible (thank you ScummVM), but Monkey Island 2 is in the same boat as Monkey Island 1, and deserves similar treatment.

    The new voices are strange, but I have no doubt we will get used to them; same deal with the transition between the three sets of voices used between Sam & Max Hit the Road, the cartoon series and the Telltale series. Its good they got Dominic Armato in though. He is Guybrush.

    Nevertheless, it is absolutely fantastic to see Telltale and LucasArts co-operating. The two could go really far together if they pool their resources.

    Now, can LucasArts be persuaded to reinstate Sam & Max: Freelance Police from their vaults of despair….