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.
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.