How Ron Gilbert Would/Wouldn’t Remake Monkey Island

Writing a long post about how you’d remake Monkey Island sure is a funny way of demonstrating that “I have no plans to make another Monkey Island.” Threepwood co-parent Ron Gilbert’s done it anyway, and while I believe him when he says he’s currently not working on any such game, it’s hard not to tin-foil-hat-read his post as essentially a public pitch to Disney now they’ve taken LucasArts down to the bottom of the garden. He even mentions Kickstarter, for heaven’s sakes. This is calculated. Whether anything will ever come of it is anyone’s guess – I would imagine it’s less a case of resistance at Disney, and more one of corporate wheels turning too impossibly slowly and safely to even notice this sort of thing.

Anyway, the main event: how Gilbert would tackle a Nu-Monkey, given the opportunity.

You really should comb through his full, seventeen point list of desires, but here’s a few key selections:

It’d be a” retro game that harkened back to Monkey Island 1 and 2″ and “a hardcore adventure game driven by what made that era so great. No tutorials or hint systems or pansy-assed puzzles or catering to the mass-market or modernizing.” Ooh, take that, Telltale.

He would “rebuild” LucasArt’s olden adventure engine SCUMM, he would include a full inventory, it’d be fully voice, he would include dialogue puzzles, but he’d “lose the verbs.”

It would be 2D, in what he calls “enhanced low-res.”

He’d call it Monkey Island 3a and pretend nothing after MI2 ever happened. “All the games after Monkey Island 2 don’t exist in my Monkey Island universe.”

He wouldn’t do it unless he owned the rights. Which is the point where I accept this isn’t ever going to happen no matter how much anyone desires it. Disney might have no current or even future plans for MI, but big entertainment corporations are so rarely in the business of selling off IP that could one day turn out to be useful.

Disney are rubber, our dreams are glue.

At the same time, I’m oddly uninspired by Gilbert’s pitch. It doesn’t seem at all forward looking, and sounds suspiciously like he essentially wants repetition with different gags. That’s his prerogative of course, but I no longer see much appeal in pretending the last 25 years didn’t happen and there’s nothing to aim for from the next 25. Also, the reasons MI3, MI and Telltale’s effort didn’t resonate as much as the first two MIs isn’t, I think, solely down to not having the ‘right’ puzzles or gags: I wonder if it’s because the comedy pirate point’n’click adventure gastank isn’t an infinite one, even with the ideal team behind it. Really, truly, shaking things up is the best bet for making it fresh again, making it important again, not simply a second take on something that already happened. I’d love to see Gilbert get another crack at Monkey Island, but I hope if it happens it’s done as part of a team with big, fresh ideas for Guybrush and his frenemies.


  1. Xan says:

    Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

    I replayed Monkey Island Special Edition a year or so back, it had everything an adventure game needed and it was just a copy-paste of the original two Monkey Island games with new graphics and voices.

    • Shazbut says:

      As a die hard fan of the first two, I was very disappointed by the special editions. I’ve only played the first, but painting over that beautiful and evocative pixel art with that badly drawn watercolour crap was not a good thing. Neither was the fact that the voice actors had to follow the pace of the slow onscreen text, meaning the sentences don’t flow and they have to talk lines (which would be witty when read yourself or when delivered properly), in the style of slow and deliberate cod pantomime bullshit. You could park a car in those pauses. It’s most jarring with characters like Stan who should be talking non-stop. He says “WOW! Does your WIFE….KNOW…you’re such a CHEAP…SKATE?” and then pauses for a year while his arms flitter around like a hummingbird.

      I’d love an actual remake, with money.

  2. DonJefe says:

    A new Monkey Island sure would be great!….*sigh*… damn.

  3. karry says:

    Maybe he should just become a writer for a comedy performer ? Gags dont make good gameplay. Not many adventure games i would even classify as technically games, and funny adventure games are the worst of them all. Read the walthrough to divine the mad “logic” behind the puzzles, there, done. Monkey Island was funny. Was it a good adventure game ? Not really.

    • Dervish says:

      You seem to be responding to a different, imaginary article rather than the one linked.

      Also, not “technically games,” and “worst of them all?” You’ve gone off the rails, mate.

    • Flavioli says:

      I’m glad you don’t speak for all of us.

    • kikito says:

      No to everything Karry said.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      “many adventure games i would even classify as technically games”

      Well it’s a good job you haven’t been made the chief of classifying for the Institute of game classification association.

  4. Berzee says:

    Do you mind if I ignore the bulk of your post and instead hone in on the one tiny thing I disagree with, and write a wall of text about it? Great I will do it! *ahem* Monkey Island 3 was my favorite one! But it was also the first one I played. Also, when I tried to play MI1 and 2 I was by myself and had a broken arm, whereas most other adventure games were always played with my siblings (cooperation has always been a big factor in my playing adventure games but I never realized it until recently!). This post was much longer and more Curse-of-Monkey-Island-Fan-ish, but I’ve trimmed it down. =P Maybe I’ll have another go at the original two again, sometime.

    • WoundedBum says:

      Monkey Island 3 is great, don’t let anyone tell you any different!

    • tobecooper says:

      Curse of the Monkey Island is phenomenal but it feels extremely rushed in the ending. So despite its obvious awesomeness, MI1is better.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Curse is a really good game and has some nice puzzles but it kind of falls apart towards the end. Some of the stuff on Blood Island is on par with the best bits from MI2, but most of the rest of the game is below that standard.

        Murray is one of the best videogame characters of all time, but both Elaine and LeChuck have become a bit cartoonish and slapstick. they’ve lost a lot of the believability and seriousness in their characters that made them and their plot-lines, in the first two games, work as a counterpoint to Guybrush’s bungling in and out of things he couldn’t really understand or control.

        I think the reason Curse leaves a lot of people feeling unsatisfied is that we remember how beautifully MI2 ramped everything up towards the end and just kept getting better, more interesting and more intense. In Curse, everything kind of fizzles away after Blood Island and the final scenes are a let down in terms of exposition, puzzle difficulty, humor and tone, and that’s what sticks with you when you look back. What makes me want to replay Curse is remembering Murray and blood island, what keeps me from replaying Curse is remembering the final chapters.

        And now it’s just occurred to me that Elaine Marley is a Disney princess! Oh she wouldn’t like that at all, not one bit.

    • Colej_uk says:

      It’s my fav too. The art style, soundtrack, locations, voice work and characters were all fantastic and I don’t think it was any less funny either.

      • Bhazor says:

        The art style and voice acting is the best in the series by far. Though it’s in that strange zone where the animated cut scenes look worse than the in game stuff.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, Monkey 3’s a good-un. It retreads some ground that feels like padding (something something insult swordfighting but now a different sport—it’s been a long time), but it’s a lesser sin.

      If nothing else, that intro music. Chills.

      Now, 4, that never happened.

      • Bhazor says:

        There is a special circle of hell reserved for whoever designed the fucking Monkey Combat system. Two days it took me to get all the combinations. Two mother pumping days.

  5. WoundedBum says:

    I’m still surprised how many people consider Monkey Island 3 bad. Not saying that don’t have valid complaints, I just always grew up thinking the game was superb and was quite shocked by the fact it’s considered not very good.

    Anyway I finished the first 3 games recently and loved them all.

    • Berzee says:

      The best thing about it for me is that we bought it when I was a kid at like Circuit City or something because we saw it there while shopping for RAM or somesuch magical device. I’m not sure we even knew that it was “like King’s Quest” until we brought it home, and then the music started playing, and then the chickens started floating by, and I realized we had accidentally discovered something pretty special. =)

      • WoundedBum says:

        “May as well wish for some chicken and a big mug of grog for all the good it’ll do me!”

    • Teovald says:

      I don’t think that MI3 was bad either, but it the writers chose to ignore all of what they did not want to keep from the first two. The ending of MI2 in particular & the ambiguity over Guybrush real identity/age are all gone. I had a lot of fun with this game, but I would love to see a ‘real’ Monkey Island 3.

      • WoundedBum says:

        I do know what you mean, then I think in a series like MI it’s not the end of the world. MI2’s ending is quite odd and I wonder if they could go back in time what direction they should go in.

        If they ever do go back to MI they should have Guybrush and Elaine not married any more. Their interactions in 1 and 2 are superb and having them actually together isn’t as fun!

        • Teovald says:

          Well, it is not that odd if you get a deep look at the story as it unfolds :
          -when asked his age, whatever line you choose (and I think that one of the answers is 8), Guybrush is confused for a moment, and finally say 21.
          -Many parts of the universe seem to come from an amusement park. One of the treasures you find is even a T-Shirt.
          -You can later access an earlier part of the game (maybe MI1 in MI2), the connection between these two parts of the world don’t make sense geographically and there is a “closed for today” sign.

          So revealing that Guybrush is in fact a kid daydreaming in an amusement park makes sense.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Yep, that was the genius of MI2 – there’s also the ambiguity over exactly what happened to his parents. They’re not dead – except as a manifestation of his fear of losing them or being abandoned by them. Somebody on here said that the anachronisms were handled better in the subsequent games but I really don’t see what they could possibly mean. If anything the subsequent games got it completely wrong, just saw the anachronisms as part of the humor and went over-the-top with them (A pirate Starbucks…. Really?), when in fact the anachronisms were deliberate clues about what was really going on. Notice that Guybrush in MI2, is never surprised by anything that seems out of place to us.

      • blackmyron says:

        Yeah, I didn’t find the “TV’s Lost” ending to MI-2 all that engrossing.

  6. FurryLippedSquid says:

    The Cave was pretty dull. I suspect he has laid on his laurels a tad too long.

    I wouldn’t be excited for a new Monkey Island tbh. It was a beautiful thing, just leave it alone.

    • GepardenK says:

      I dont know… The cave was an attempt at doing a adventure game for everybody. One with easy puzzles and platforming etc. If you read his blog the ideas behind “monkey 3a” seems both sound and interesting. I think gilbert still can pull off a proper adventure game if he sticks to the original genre, monkey or otherwise

      • Widthwood says:

        Who is this “everybody”? I don’t think Cave was very successful, so his almost random simplifications do not make sense.
        And he wasn’t pressured by a big clueless publisher into making an easier blander game (although I imagine Shafer could probably be pretty intimidating, especially when he still had his beard).
        And most his changes like lack of inventory and platforming didn’t even make the game simpler, only more annoying.
        And he certainly doesn’t seem to get what may be wrong with the Cave, I saw his excuse for criticism along the lines of “MM also wasn’t universally loved when it launched” which is just really out of touch how these situations are completely different. I mean, most criticisms of Cave are that its a kind of meh game in a well established genre, and MM was simply something new, something that wasn’t immediately recognizable or acceptable.

        • GepardenK says:

          He went for simplification in the hopes that it would make his game more popular, that much is clear. He needs to make successes if he wants to keep making games. It backfired and I think it mostly has to do with him trying to make improvements because he think “everybody” will like it and not because it makes the game itself better.

          Gilbert is not the first veteran to make that mistake. People need to chill down a bit, not about the cave but about Gilbert as a developer. Its okay to put out a few mediocre titles here and there, it dosent make you a horrible person

          • Widthwood says:

            But the thing is exactly that – he is not the first one to make the same mistake, yet he still made it and defended it as a good decision. If he wanted a popular platformer – there are numerous great examples how to make a smart platformer in recent indie games. Instead he made a platforming-as-a-chore, falling into the same trap as Grim Fandango, Dreamfall and Psychonauts AND additionally cut elements that made those games great despite not being commercial successes – story and dialog.. With him being an industry veteran, in an environment where he had all the creative freedom he wanted – this does not inspire confidence in his future endeavors.

            He is definitely not a horrible person, but he just might have become a not very good game designer.

        • baozi says:

          i find it hard to reconcile making a game that’s more mainstream and suddenly talking so bad about this (“no tutorials or hint systems or pansy-assed puzzles or catering to the mass-market or modernizing.”)!

          • GepardenK says:

            Why? Different projects have different core values and goals

          • baozi says:

            True, but by the tone of the list it seemed more like these were his personal core values rather than something demanded by a project; he sounded dismissive and antagonizing, imo.

  7. Sander Bos says:

    If it ever comes to Kickstarter here is some free advice to potential backers:
    “Never pay more than 20 bucks for a computer game.”

  8. Yachmenev says:

    A true Ron Gilbert Monkey Island 3 shouldn’t be forward thinking. That’s already been tried with Curse, Escape (crap though) and Tales of Monkey Island. The only point with Monkey Island 3 by Gilbert is to get the final chapter of his tale, with characters, story and puzzles that feel consistent with the two first game. And great characters, story and puzzles, how can that not be exciting?

    • Werthead says:

      Because if Ron Gilbert was able to do this now, it wouldn’t be the same as if he’d done it back in 1993. It’s not even a given that Ron Gilbert himself would have managed to make a third great game in a row in the series back then. It’s even more unlikely that he’d be able to do it now, 21 years later when he’s a different person in a different place, without his collaborators (Gilbert is a very important part of the MONKEY ISLAND story, probably THE most important part, but Schafer and Grossman were important too).

      Sure, it could be awesome. But it could also be self-indulgent and an attempt to recapture old magic rather than trying to do something new and interesting.

      Recently I sat down to read Simon Furman’s new TRANSFORMERS comics, the ones picking up after the end of the original Marvel Comics run (coincidentally, about the same time MONKEY ISLAND 2 came out). The original run was cut short by the comic’s cancellation and the story got a very truncated ending. Furman himself (not to mention the old art team as well) getting to go back and do the ending ‘properly’ and wrap up all the loose ends sounded like it should have been fun. Instead, it’s painfully obvious that 20+ years have passed. The story hasn’t got the same energy, there’s lot of inconsistent characterisation, and he’s admitted to having chucked out a lot of the ideas he had back then in favour of newer ones, and it shows (plus I’m not 12 years old any more). Apart from nostalgia value, there’s little else there. Gilbert I think would be risking the same thing.

      This is where I think inXile and Obsidian got it right: WASTELAND 2 sounds like it’s going to be more of a remake of WL1 (which didn’t exactly have a compelling plot and in-depth characters) whilst ETERNITY and TORMENT are all-new stories, worlds and characters more inspired by old-school mechanics and ideas. A new Ron Gilbert adventure game that featured new characters and storylines but was ‘heavily inspired’ by the SCUMM days would be fascinating. MONKEY ISLAND 3 I think will almost inevitably disappoint.

  9. Dervish says:

    Many adventure games have sunk so low that it’s hard to be forward-looking until you’ve climbed back to a previous high point. “Let’s focus on what made old games good, but do it even better, and try to avoid their mistakes this time” is a fine plan to start with. His point about iteration is a good one in general.

    • Bhazor says:

      Modern adventure games miss a crucial component. Getting stuck.

      In Monkey Island I was stuck for days. But that’s where it became memorable. Thats when I was chatting with all the character’s, exhausting dialog trees, combing every inch of every location, that’s when the I started to grasp the cartoon logic and think like a Looney Tunes character. That’s where I found most of the jokes and that’s when I started to appreciate all the little background details and all the little character traits. That is the part that made the game so enduring. In comparison I recently played Gemini Rue. A decent looking adventure game made by a talanted team. I can not remember anything about it. I can’t tell you what happened, who the characters were on a single puzzle solution. It was so smooth and watery that I drank it straight down without so much as an aftertaste. In fact I just had to my GoG account to find the name. Journalists and designers seem so obsessed with making puzzles “logical” for fear of getting in the way of the story. It seems a modern adventure game has to be a string of simplistic one room puzzles or it’s an archaic throwback.

      • RaveTurned says:

        Being stuck in adventure/puzzle games isn’t a thing any more for two reasons:

        1) People who aren’t that invested in the game yet will just stop playing. This is a higher risk these days because it’s easier to get hold of high-quality games. There’s more available for less money, and you can start playing them in minutes.

        2) People who are invested enough in the game to want to know what happens next – i.e. those who would have persevered in the past even if they had other things they could play – can just go online and find a walkthough to progress. The only ways I can think of to defuse that are making some kind of random element to the puzzle (which makes development that much harder), or to make it skill based rather than logic based (which alters the genre of game somewhat).

  10. Spoon Of Doom says:

    The comment system keeps eating my replies, so I’m just gonna say here that MI3 was fucking awesome. I don’t know why it appears to have such a bad reputation on the net. Only thing that kind of bugged me was that the ending of MI2 wasn’t in any way explained, but since the devs probably didn’t know how it was supposed to continue themselves, you can hardly judge them for it.

    • GepardenK says:

      I think most people, even the crazy internet ones like myself, will agree with you that Monkey 3 is awsome. Its just that it shifted the entire universe towards a more cartoony style. It is a great game, but it has very little to do with the originals style/story. Many of us would like to see a sequel where we follow the original characters instead of the new ones who only share names and a few basic character traits with their monkey 1/2 counterparts

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Hm, I think that’s overly harsh. I don’t think Guybrush is that much different in 3 from how he is in 2 – they’ve amplified some traits and minimized others but I think if you turn off that simultaneously-cocky-yet whiny voice-over and read Guybrush’s dialog in your own way, he isn’t so different. There’s still an extent to which he’s more earnest and naive than he is snarky. Elaine and LeChuck are more of a disappointment for me. I still cringe during the open sequence when LeChuck appears to talk to the camera in a way that reminds me more of Elmer Fudd than of the menacing character he was in the first two games.

        • GepardenK says:

          I’ll give you guybrush to a certain extent at least. Although I still feel the monkey 1/2 guybrush is more relatable as a person/hero (he was clumsy and goofy, but not that goofy). I actually love Dominic as the voice of Guybrush in Curse and beyond, he is a really good addition to the universe. Monkey 2 played with old graphics but with voice enabled is epic to say the least.

          Dont get me wrong here. I love all the monkey games. Even MI4 gives me loads of fond memories despite what most people seem to think. But the universe of Monkey 1/2 is far superior imo and I would really like a new adventure game build on that

  11. HothMonster says:

    Rom just reminded me how much I miss OldManMurray. link to

  12. perestroika says:

    why didnt he use those ideas for the cave instead? i thought it was a boring platformer with nothing going for it.

  13. Quickpull says:

    Man, Ron is…really out of touch.

    • NachoPiggy says:

      Yeah, I mean I respect Ron Gilbert immensely and personally think he’s one of the biggest pioneers of adventure gaming, design craft and storytelling in games.

      Plus I’m a huge fan of Monkey Island and love every single game in the series (not so much for MI4 but it still holds a place in my heart despite how far it is from the Monkey Island spirit). I can’t recall any other moment that I literally jumped and yelled out a happy cry when I first heard Telltale was reviving Monkey Island with Tales, and they satisfied that certain itch of dreaming of another Monkey Island game that can capture the magic of the first three games again.

      But while Mr. Gilbert is a key ingredient, he’s comes out lacking a bit of flavor without Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman. I mean just from his recent works such as DeathSpank and The Cave, which while I enjoyed both, it just didn’t felt right, like I’m seeing the charm and style that made Monkey Island good but something about it makes it feel half-baked. I’m not just talking about the gameplay either but the charm and humor on the writing just wasn’t speaking out “rubber chicken with a pulley in a middle”, rather just a rubber chicken with a roll of duct tape to imitate a pulley in the middle.

      The list itself is interesting, and I’m curious to see this “enhanced low-res” look, which I’m imagining to be something like Wadjet Eye Games had been doing for a while, but more vibrant and Monkey Island-y. But the rest sounds like it’s just pondering to nostalgia and close minded cynical looks in game design. Don’t get me wrong I believe Ron has the right to pick up where the series left off under his last game and all that, but everything about it seem to reek big ego and “retro” game style just for the sake of being retro. Still I’m actually hoping this leads up to somewhere but Ron Gilbert better have the company of the other fine minds that made the MI series so great.

      • Teovald says:

        I don’t think it reeks retro for the sake of being retro. It feels more that he wants to keep his art style while benefiting from new technologies. Something never felt right to me with MI3 and later games art styles.
        It is not that they were bad, it is just that they were having very different styles from MI1 & 2 and did not feel like they really belonged to the same universe.

  14. Gap Gen says:

    What if it had zombies and muscular army men who say things like “Bravo Whisky Whisky” or “Mission Acquired Sitrep Charlie”. What then.

    • Hematite says:

      Now you’re making me think of The Milkman Conspiracy from Psychonauts mashed up with Call of Duty.

  15. Discopanda says:

    Ron, why are you so grumpy? :(

  16. jalf says:

    At the same time, I’m oddly uninspired by Gilbert’s pitch. It doesn’t seem at all forward looking, and sounds suspiciously like he essentially wants repetition with different gags

    For the third game in a series, that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

    If you want to bust open new genres and reinvent everything (and someone absolutely should do that), why not do it with new IP? You don’t need Guybrush Threepwood for that.

  17. quijote3000 says:

    “Disney are rubber, our dreams are glue” Pure gold

  18. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I began the series with Curse of Monkey Island, which remains my favorite. I felt it handled the anachronistic stuff with more charm and subtlety than the first two titles, which didn’t seem to know what the hell they were doing with it. The fourth game is the funniest in terms of writing but the weakest in terms of puzzles (and don’t get me started on the Monkey-Fu garbage). I had no problems with Telltale’s output, though it was not especially memorable.

    Having said all of that, regardless of what he thinks, it is a staggering “FUCK YOU” to the people who made the Monkey Island games after LeChuck’s Revenge. They clearly put a lot of effort into the titles, and they deserve a little more than to be told their work would explicitly be retconned out of existence (and presumably forbidden from resale?). Also, I don’t know the details–so forgive me if I’m way out of line here–but if LucasArts had the faith to publish a third Monkey Island game (with clearly a lot of resources given over towards voice acting, animation, and sound design) as well as Tim Schaefer’s risky (and ultimately unsuccessful) Grim Fandango, why didn’t Gilbert stick around to make it? LeChuck’s Revenge has one of the absolute worst endings that I’ve personally encountered, and I applaud the effort that went into trying to make some degree of sense out of it in MI3.

    Finally, let’s be totally honest here: Ron Gilbert did not make Monkey Island by himself or in isolation. Looking at his output since, which has largely gotten a great big “meh” from everyone, I think it is clear that whatever game he makes next is unlikely to be the glorious rebirth of 90s adventure games, let alone better than Curse of Monkey Island. Hell, teaming up with Tim Schaefer only got us The Cave, which from what I’ve heard (full disclosure: I haven’t played it) isn’t especially great.

    Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of game developers who were once involved in good/great projects coming along and acting as if they are some kind of blessed game developer messiahs who will lead us all to the promised land. Whether it’s Gilbert acting as if he’s a paragon of quality titles or Jon Shafer retroactively disowning Civ V (despite the enormous improvements Firaxis made to it after he left), I’d like them to start putting out titles that prove they have some talent independent of their teams and/or past glories.

    • GepardenK says:

      I dont find Gilberts thoughts on Curse and the other monkey games offensive. He only states that they are not his monkey games and that I agree with. Curse is great, but besides a few characters it has nothing in common with the original series. The later monkey games are more cartoony while the Gilbert games was more “real but weird”, I like both styles for different reasons

      The Cave was made at Tims company but did not include Tim himself on the team in any major way. I agree with you that Gilbert probably need Tim`s dialouge writing to make a truly good adventure game.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        So if you had been paid to make an official sequel, had put the time and energy into it to make it something you hoped was a good game in its own right and a worthy successor to its predecessors, only to have one of the original creators come along and explicitly state that, if he were to get the rights and be allowed to do his own sequel, your game would officially not count, you’d be fine with that?

        Think about that incident when a certain ARPG (which seems to make all of my posts vanish) was under development and one of the original creators of that franchise said the team would need to be very careful about loot balance and some of the mechanics, because they were difficult to get right. It wasn’t even a criticism of the game–it hadn’t been released yet!–and they viewed it as an attack, despite the fact that he was making exactly the same kind of game, always-on and everything. This is far more explicit, and I think it reflects extremely poorly on Gilbert.

        • GepardenK says:

          I dont know what kind of ARPG inncident you are refering to, but its sounds like someone from an original team tried to influence the creators of a remake/sequel by telling them “how it is done”. That is certanly a form of attack and not what Gilbert is doing at all. He simply states that he has his own vision of the Monkey Island universe and that if he was to make a new game he would start where he last left of: right after Monkey 2

          Curse will always be a part of the official monkey island games. But that shouldnt hinder someone from going back and create a story that builds on the events of Monkey Island 2.

          Im not sure if you have read Gilberts direct qoute from his blog. It goes like this:

          “it would be called Monkey Island 3a. All the games after Monkey Island 2 don’t exist in my Monkey Island universe. My apologies to the all talented people who worked on them and the people who loved them, but I’d want to pick up where I left off. Free of baggage. In a carnival. That doesn’t mean I won’t steal some good ideas or characters from other games. I’m not above that. “

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            Hint: the ARPG in question begins with a D and ends with a 3. I’d be more specific, but RPS seems to HATE any mention of it in my comments, which is weird because I don’t talk about it often.

            I guess you aren’t wrong that it’s an attack in that sense. Of course, he also turned out to be 100% correct. Also, saying that “loot balance is important to an ARPG” is a little like saying “good jumping mechanics are important to a platformer.” Not exactly breathtaking or unexpected.

            I still stand by my statement that a piece of advice delivered before a game is released is far less aggressive than “I would erase your work from history.” Exaggerated, I know, but that’s basically what Gilbert is saying he’d do.

        • jalf says:

          Read what he’s saying. He’s not saying they’re bad games, just that if *he* could make *his* Monkey Island sequel, then it would be a sequel ti *his* Monkey Island games, and not to the Monkey Island games made by others.

          Isn’t that pretty reasonable? He’s talking basically about his own personal pet project, finishing what *he* started.

    • Werthead says:

      I didn’t quite get that vibe from Gilbert. He spoke of it as being MONKEY ISLAND ‘3A’, existing alongside MI3 (and apparently 4 and TALES as well) but following a different canon/continuity. He even says that 3, 4 and TALES all have good ideas and characters in them that he’d happily steal. Fans of course can then decide on which version they like best.

      We’ve seen this just happen with Ridley Scott ruling that only PROMETHEUS (and presumably its two as-yet-unmade sequels), ALIEN and ALIENS are ‘canon’ in his mind, and that should count because he directed the first movie that started the whole thing off. The fact that 20th Century Fox spent millions of dollars and hundreds of people spent years making ALIEN 3, RESURRECTION and AVP1+2 and fans spent lots of money going to see them didn’t really seem to impress him very much. And, after the debacle that was PROMETHEUS, a heck of a lot of ALIEN fans have instead ruled that PROMETHEUS never happened instead (although of course you have a lot of ALIEN fans who already hated everything post-ALIENS, or thought ALIEN 3 was good but nothing else, or any other configuration you can think of).

      Or, more appropriately given the Disney connection, there’s the STAR WARS situation, and the fact that it looks like the Expanded Universe (the STAR WARS continuity containing all the comics, novels and computer games published since 1978) is going to be dumped in favour of a new continuity for the new movies, but will still exist as an ‘alternate timeline’ to mollify fans of that material.

      Ultimately, it only really matters what you enjoy. Ron Gilbert’s MONKEY ISLAND 3 (if it ever becomes more than a thought experiment) would effectively be MARVEL ULTIMATES MONKEY ISLAND, a fresh take on an old continuity. The fact that it’s by one (and only one, that we know of) of the original writers shouldn’t have any bearing on that. If it’s good it’s good and if not it’s not. It won’t make CURSE or the other games flash out of existence or your memory, no more than Jean-Luc Picard vanished when J.J. Abrams took over the STAR TREK franchise.

      • Nick says:

        I only count Alien and Aliens myself as all the others are terrible. Yes even the producer cut of Alien 3.

        Although I do like Ron Pearlman in everything he does, even if its terrible.

        Oh and AvP:R might have been good, I don’t know, it was too fucking dark to see anything.

        But its not my say what is canon, I just choose to wish I had never wasted my time watching all the others. Even Prometheus which could have been good if they had some people who could actually write do the screenplay.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      He has since clarified his point 12 link to

      I’ve been reading grumpygamer longer than I’ve been reading RPS, and I should caution anyone reading it for the first time that it’s really not a place where he reveals much about what he’s working on or is planning to work on – it’s more of a place for him to rant. It’s just a well written blog by someone who I share a lot of videogame opinions and memories with. The comments on his posts are often littered with people bashing the 3rd and 4th Monkey games but Gilbert himself doesn’t really get involved on that level. It’s fairly clear that he respects Curse a great deal and his issue is with plot continuity not with the quality of the game.

      • Widthwood says:

        I think he wants the story to take more esoteric turn with “serious” subtext, while makers of 3,4,and telltale simply wanted to make games in the spirit of MI1 and MI2.

        Which is actually worrisome, given that he’s 60 now it might turn into boring drivel that destroys our childhood memories.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I thought there was definitely a serious element to both the original games. Voodoo was kind of scary even though there was humor around voodoo themes it was still mostly quite serious. Elaine, LeChuck and the voodoo lady were basically straight characters although the occasional slapstick moment befell them. Fast-forward to Curse and even the way Guybrush’s voice actor pronounces the word “voodoo” shows you just how much respect there is left for the supernatural aspect of the story. In the early games you had a sense you were doing something powerful and dangerous that was probably going to have consequences. In the first game you literally went to hell and the second game hinted at dimensional travel All that stuff WAS the plot and the theme of the game. The humor was light relief. In curse and Escape, although ostensibly voodoo was still a theme it wasn’t the voodoo of the first two games and was mostly just an excuse for fantastical plot elements or something gimmicky to be ridiculed.

  19. jfrisby says:

    Never was a fan of COMI — as someone who started with the first two games — it took all the ambiguity and darkness of the pixel art and dialogue and colored-between-the-lines to make it the most cartoon / referential version possible… and that has plagued us since (with Telltale, Deponia.. a whole generation of bad copies, with whiny dialogue). It’s a huge pity that it hit at the right moment, and was good enough, to win over a whole generation (that still don’t give Ron proper credit).

    I disagree that Ron’s not looking forward — it sounds he’s going back to before things went in this bad direction, and attempting to build anew from there.

    • Ciergan says:

      Nail. Hit. I find the latter Monkey Island games enjoyable enough but their approach has watered down the genre too much.

  20. baozi says:

    This is going to sound stupid, but for some reason, he sounds much, hm, less nice from his writing to me than I would have imagined.

  21. Gothnak says:

    MI1 was great, MI2 was awesome, MI3 although an ok adventure, it wasn’t what ‘I’ thought was a MI game. The humour was different, Guybrush certainly wasn’t Guybrush and the style just looked like it was working too hard. I was smart enough not to try the later ones.

    Tbh, what Ron says is pretty much exactly what i’d want. Squat, miserable Threepwood is sooo much better than tall, horse faced, posh Threepwood.

    link to

  22. Lemming says:

    I know it didn’t take many risks, but what was his problem with ‘Curse? I thought it was the last decent one.

    • tyren says:

      It doesn’t sound like he thinks Curse is a bad game (or at least he doesn’t say anything that suggests that to me), but he left Lucasarts between 2 and Curse and at that time probably had his own ideas for where he wanted the next game to go that Curse completely ignored.

  23. Yglorba says:

    You know, Disney owning Monkey Island brings up another possibility:

    Monkey Island movie, anyone? Thinking about it, it’s actually one of the videogame franchises that would translate best to the silver screen. I mean, you wouldn’t want to follow the plot of the games slavishly (chicken-with-a-pully-in-the-middle?), but core thematic things like the insult swordfighting would translate well.

    • darkliht says:

      There already is one. It’s called Pirates of the Caribbean

    • blackmyron says:

      In all fairness, the ride has been cited as an inspiration for Monkey Island…

      • GepardenK says:

        True, but the movie took a lot from the game aswell, from ghost captain and skeleton crew to voodo ladies and using coffins as a raft. Not suprisingly though as the script for POTC was actually a rewritten version of a proposed monkey island film

  24. Screamer says:

    Writing a long post about how you’d remake Monkey Island sure is a funny way of demonstrating that “I have no plans to make another Monkey Island.”

    How appropriate, Ron fights like a cow!

  25. Danda says:

    I want to play Ron Gilbert’s Monkey Island 3a.

    Maybe you liked COMI a lot, but MI2 was hands down the best one. OK, maybe his other hybrid games from recent times didn’t set the world on fire, but come on, he knew how to do an adventure, and he definitely knew how to do a Monkey Island game better than anyone else. That’s what he wants to do now. Nobody told Tim Schafer “I won’t fund your Kickstarter adventure because I didn’t like your latest game, an RTS in disguise!”. So you should be happy about Gilbert’s intentions!

    He created the series and the two best games in it. It’s only fair that he owns the IP.

  26. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Alec Meer… what the hell man. We’ve had forward looking, look at all the games that followed LeChucks Revenge, I know they have their fans, but I thought they were all middling to crap and I know I wasn’t alone there.

    A return to the fundamentals is what is required, no VO, retro graphics, no holdy hand BS.

    “Sounds suspiciously like he essentially wants repetition with different gags”. Which is what I want. It’d be nice if the puzzles were slightly more intuitive than they were in 1 and especially 2, but not easy and no bloody hints. Other than that, more of the same please, we’ve had enough of the different already and it hasn’t scratched that itch for me.

    Hey maybe I’m in the minority but at a guess I’d say the people who really really want a new Monkey Island game are the same people that will be fine with criticism like “not very forward looking”.

    • Danda says:

      Yes, technically MI2 is “MI1 with different gags”, so… how can it be so much better than the original?

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I’d actually venture that since most of us played MI1 & 2 when we were very young – the humor was really just a bonus, some of which we didn’t get. What really made the games magical was the adventure! The animations and locations, the storytelling and the puzzle solving. A proper spiritual successor to Monkey Island should not get hung up on trying to have as much witty dialogue, and piratey self-reference as possible and thinking this is what made the first two games great. I think people forget that at the time we first played these games, the graphics were amazing and the gameplay was revolutionary compared to adventure games that had gone before. Removing the verbs? Nevermind that, the SCUMM games removed the text parser, from older format adventure games.

  27. bar10dr says:

    I’d throw my money after them.

  28. bar10dr says:

    I love how Gilbert is getting slammed in the article for not being forward looking while EA gets rave scores for most of their never ending fps series with minuscule changes in engine and plot each iteration, what a load of crap.

    • welverin says:

      EA gets rave scores for their never ending string of me too FPS games?

      Other than Battlefield 3, in the last five years what EA FPS has been well received?

  29. Acorino says:

    The Curse of Monkey Island is great, probably my favorite one of the series. It’s just a bit annoying that it doesn’t really connect all that well to the previous two games, especially storywise. The odd ending of MI2 is never explained fully and lots of plotholes remain. Also the tension between the new story that’s told (Elaine being the victim of a curse that turns her into a gold statue) and the old one that’s waiting to be resolved is rather uneasy. Somehow I wish Curse wouldn’t have dealt with the old stuff at all than to half-heartedly try to knot the loose threads together again.
    While I do like Curse a lot, I wish Lucas Arts would have done some other adventure game in its place instead. It wasn’t a good sign for the company to do an unneeded sequel to a popular property instead of creating something new.

  30. Jackablade says:

    Hm. I don’t remember hating Escape all that much. Am I wrong? I do remember far less about it than I do about MI3 despite playing it far more recently, so perhaps that’s telling.

  31. The Random One says:

    Sorry Mr Gilbert, but after playing Kentucky Route Zero “you will constantly be stuck on puzzles” is as attractive to me as “the game will constantly crash to desktop”.