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. Dain says:

    Murray.

    Murray.

    Murray.

    Murray.

    Please?

    That is all.

    Also yay for the return of the Guybrush beard.

  2. Dzamir says:

    OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG

  3. aukondk says:

    Looking forward to the remake certainly, but where does this leave the fanmade speech project? They’ve just passed the 25% mark. I guess that could be for the peeps that don’t like the new ui
    Interesting that the HD stuff just sits on top of the original game engine, only difference is the UI, you can even flick between the old and new gfx if you wanna stay retro.

    I’m a bit meh about the Telltale games, perhaps MI4 has just made me a bit jaded about new MI stories

  4. pkt-zer0 says:

    Ugh, hideous 3D. Will they never learn?

    The remake looks fairly decent, though.

  5. subedii says:

    I propose that “OUTRAGEOUS” fights like a dairy farmer.

  6. clovus says:

    When the Wii first came out I was hoping it would create an Adventure Game Renaissance. The Wii-mote finally makes the point-and-click gameplay work on a console. AGs seem like the natural step from the casual “Party” games that most Wii owners enjoy. Good AGs don’t require twitch skills or even fast thinking. It just seemed like the Wii was perfect.

    However, I don’t think that’s happened. I’m not sure how well “Zack and Wiki” have done, but there really haven’t been a bunch of good AGs for the Wii. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine that these new Monkey Island episodes will start the revolution.

    I am excited to be able to play an updated version of the original Monkey Island though. I think my first Monkey Island was 3. I somehow just missed the whole Monkey Island thing. I guess the Sierra “Quests” just took up too much time and what little money I had.

  7. Stupoider says:

    @Subedii: How appropriate, you fight like a.. what was it now.. horse? No.. sheep? Nooo.. to hell with it! I am rubber, you are glue!

  8. jalf says:

    So they’re actually admitting they dropped the ball over the last 15 years? This could be good.

    And yeah, I just found the piece on grumpygamer.com too before coming here. Was a nice read.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I thought I was the one in minority with preferring the first over the second. But I’m certain I am in a very select group of people who think the third is the best (possibly because it was the first one I played.) I actually thought the majority of the fourth was ok, except for the infuriating Monkey Kombat sections.

    A continuation by Tell Tale I’m skeptical about. Never liked the look of the new Sam and Max games (played Abe Lincoln Must Die and thought it was ok, but it was supposed to be the best by a long way,) Wallace & Gromit didn’t have Peter Sallis and I hadn’t heard of Strong Bad until Telltale start making games from them. I get this horrible feeling from their games that they are exceptionally easy, with Dreamfall-esque puzzles and lacking the quality story. I can’t really imagine this being any different.

    The remake on the other hand could be promising. It looks exactly like the original, just with the voice actors that were used later in the series. I can’t really see how anyone can complain about that.

  10. Carra says:

    I remember that Lucasarts said that they won’t release another adventure this decade. They lied!

    But seeing how I like these new Sam & Max seasons and I loved the first two Monkey Island games I’ll get my hopes up.

  11. subedii says:

    @ Stupoider: I’m shaking, I’m shaking!

  12. Serondal says:

    @Vandelay I’ve watched Strong Bad E-mails since they first started putting them up and I can tell you the adventure games they released are SPOT ON the origonal content with perfect voice acting (of course they used the origonal actors so that isn’t much) the jokes were perfect, the game wasn’t too easy or too hard, it was just right so you could enjoy the story without getting stuck for an hour trying to figure out a puzzle that made no sense any way. The graphics weren’t mind blowing but they fit the content perfectly along with several collection based objectives like finding cards and collecting them (Adam Sessler would love that ;P)

  13. MikeBiggs says:

    The games might (and I hope they will) be quite good.

    But if I’m honest I just want to see the original games sold on a decent download site! Bring on GOG!

    After all, surely LucasArts want to take our money?!

  14. Nayon says:

    I love the MI games but both the telltale game and the remake look pretty awful and low-budget to me. The graphics on the remake look like bad casual games and the voice acting is like bad american cartoons, while the new game has terrible animations. Unfortunate.

  15. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    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.

    Earl Boen? Did he do the voice of LeChuck in CoMI? I only know him as the psychiatrist from the (and the only character other than Arnie to appear in all 3) Terminator films.

    I’m really excited about the remake, not so much for the graphics as for the musical update (I really want high quality MI music!), and I expect the speech will be quite good.

    I’ve also given Telltale the benefit of the doubt (and some money) and preordered their episodes. While Sam & Max were a bit pants, I enjoyed the first two Wallace & Gromit episodes quite a bit, so I still have hope Telltale will not ruin The Legacy of Monkey Island™.

    The graphics on the remake look like bad casual games and the voice acting is like bad american cartoons, while the new game has terrible animations

    The graphics on the original Monkey Island games weren’t great by contemporary standards, the voice acting was non-existent, and it had terrible animations. They didn’t stop it being great.

  16. yxxxx says:

    Now this is news.

    Left for dead 2 is coming out November 17th

  17. Carra says:

    And why doesn’t Lucasarts sell their old adventure games in their shop? I’d love to spend a few bucks on Grim Fandango.

  18. Serondal says:

    I just wish someone would take over the Lesiure Suit Larry titles and start making good ones again. The old games were Adventure game with a bit of sex in them, now the new games are Sex games with a BIT of adventure in them, that formula doesn’t work ! I loved the one with Passioante Patty :P

  19. Reverend Speed says:

    NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGH. SPEND MORE MONEY ON ANIMATION LUCAS IT’S WHAT YOU’RE GOOD FOR HOLY SHIT GUYS!!

  20. Bohan says:

    Incredible. I just ubercame.

  21. Spazmonkey says:

    From Ron Gilbert’s site:
    “This next year is going to be very interesting. Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer all have games coming out. Someone check the scriptures. Might be a good time to start hording canned goods.”

  22. Mika says:

    Monkey Island 1-3 are my favourite games of all time. But I can’t say I’m terribly excited about these new games.

    Telltale game seems to be about as unfunny as Escape and looks just about as crappy as well. And the remake also has hideous graphics. The voice acting seems to be quite decent at least.

  23. JKjoker says:

    nice, but the voice acting doesn’t sound as good as MI3′s greatness, i hope they work a little more on that, the excellent voice overs and sound turned a good game into a gem

  24. Rei Onryou says:

    Yay. Only good things can come from this. We need more insult sword fighting!

  25. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’d rather not see any more insult sword-fighting. It was great in MI1, because it was completely unexpected. It was sensibly not repeated in MI2. MI3 introduced an unfunny, unchallenging variation, and MI4 just parroted that.

    Let’s see them come up with new, funny, jokes rather than just tired rehashes of MI in-jokes.

  26. Baris says:

    I wish there was a way to make all the hopelessly cynical posts disappear so that we can roll around in our joy without the people who hate everything bringing it down momentarily.

    Also, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Monkey Island!

  27. Igor Hardy says:

    That’s all excellent news on one hand, but… on the other, The Monkey Island Speech Project which I was part of for many months now becomes immediately pointless.

  28. pauleyc says:

    Three days of pain after endodontic therapy (aka Route Kanal), a crappy weekend and working late today – all a distant memory now…That remake looks absolutely brilliant.

  29. Srejv says:

    Yes.

  30. Jon K says:

    I am so incredibly thrilled for both of these. I wasn’t sure about the look of the new one until I saw the video, but it looks pretty damn good. The re-make is so faithful it’s OBSCENE, and the voices for both are perfect. Armato IS Guybrush.

    (While others have criticised the sequels, I thought MI2 was the best, with the first and third games joint second).

    While I have my concerns about an episodic Monkey Island, the fact that I thought this day would never come makes me absolutely THRILLED.

  31. Wulf says:

    The last great Monkey Island for me was Lechuck’s Revenge, as a fan of the series, I could just see what was lost from Curse of and onwards. The awesomeness of Threepwood was replaced by creepy blond turban-head kid, he of reverse aging.

    I really liked the Telltale video, so much. The LucasArts video goes on about how Guybrush ‘evolved’, but they just butchered his look over time, not evolved it. The Telltale approach is to basically say; okay, everything after II sucked, let’s toss all that ouut the window and try to create a stylised 3D version of our own based on II, ignoring the creepy turban kid that followed.

    And I say good for them.

    The Guybrush they present really feels like the Guybrush from the second game, he feels like the Gilbert Guybrush. Those Telltale guys really do care about their source material, and to me, that’s the most promising video of the two. Though having the original graphics of Monkey Island plus voice overs is nice, providing I can turn creepy turban-head kid off, like they claim.

  32. a says:

    I don’t know guys. Part of me wants to squeal with glee and part of me wants to mention Deus Ex, Fallout, Thief and hell, MI4. =(

  33. Pizen says:

    Let me be the first to say:

    Yes.

  34. Pod says:

    It looks worse than the original. The sprites seem to slide around now. Still, at least they left in the old art, so I’ll get to play the old game with Dominic Armatos voice and that. I wonder who’s voicing Elaine?

    Alsoalso: I’m very suprised Gilbert likes it. Then again, he has just been living off MI’s fame for the last 20 years and doesn’t skip a beat when the chance to bring it up arises.

  35. LionsPhil says:

    Well, Telltale continue to ruin everything that was once good about PC adventure gaming. That trailer was dreadful.

    As for remakes, insert Yahtzee here. And they seem to have blurred all the once-crisp-and-bright graphics, too.

    Also, this: “the voice acting doesn’t sound as good as MI3’s greatness…the excellent voice overs and sound turned a good game into a gem”

  36. sfury says:

    I’ve always wanted to play that! Instant switch between HD and olden version is pretty sweet feature too.

  37. Serondal says:

    Reminds me a bit of the Pirates remake they made years back. I figured they’d make the game realistic and awesome like Pirates Gold ! But the game ended up being cartoony and boring after a very short peroid of time. Then my brother stole it O.o but that is besides the point and not the developers fault.

  38. somnolentsurfer says:

    When I saw this I thought that was going to be the most exciting news of this E3 wrapped up. Then they announced L4D2, and now I can’t decide. I guess I trust Valve a bit more but, Monkey Island! I’d be preordering now if it was available on Steam, but I guess there’s not much chance of that from LucasArts? I’ll wait till the end of the show and see what happens…

    The remake looks awesome. I’ve not played any of Tell Tale’s games yet, but I’m confident that it has to be better than MI4.

    And, seconding a hope Murry!

  39. Pijama says:

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

  40. Golden says:

    Yeah. Praise be

    The best news since monkeys opted to turn into man

  41. Nero says:

    I hope the new Monkey Island doesn’t use the interface from Wallace & Gromit because I didn’t like it.

    Also, just bring the old games to GOG without the fancy new graphics..

  42. Monchberter says:

    More Lucasarts reboots?

    TIE Fighter please.

    Please
    Please
    Please

  43. Riaktion says:

    WOO HOO! Great news.

    Now can they deliver?.. I really really really really really really really really really hope so.

    Really.

  44. Bluepixie says:

    YEEEEEESSSSSS!!! *in true Napoleon Dynamite style*

  45. Serondal says:

    apes you mean

    Persoanlly I think they need to stick George Lucas in a room with the DCS team for a few months and have them make an extremly realistic Tie Fighter simulation based on the depths of his imagination. Would be INSANE to have Track-Ir and be able to look around the cockpit and actaully click the buttons with the mouse. Launch from INSIDE a star destroyer and have to go through all the start up stuff , delatch your tie fighter from it’s docking clamp, fly down through the opening in the bottom of the star destroyer and then engage your targets with extremly skill (As a tie fighter is aparently extremly easy to destroy)

  46. Robin says:

    Monkey Island SE: Not keen on the new art style (a bit German?), but being able to switch between new and original style at any time is excellent. The voice work also seems to fit much better than I had expected.

    Tales of Monkey Island: Telltale are risking becoming a bit of a sausage machine. This just looks a bit… stilted, from the trailer, compared to the bouncy and snappy (at its best) direction and animation of Sam & Max & Wallace & Gromit (which is a sex farce I never want to see, btw).

  47. lumpi says:

    “divisive”?

    I thought everyone but the most bitter Lucas Arts fans out there agreed that Telltale did an amazing job with the new Sam&Max episodes. And that comes from a huge (and usually more critical) fan of the original.

  48. Finn says:

    Wow, RPS just turned into an aint it cool news talkback…..
    Lighten up fellas.