Return to Monkey Island is a sequel to the legendary point ‘n’ click series, coming in 2022 from original writer-director Ron Gilbert.
Designed as a follow-up to the first two games – The Secret of Monkey Island and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge – the new game is being published by Devolver Digital in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games. It also brings back original co-writer Dave Grossman, and LucasArts composers Michael Land, Michael McConnell and Clint Bajakian. Fellow co-creator Tim Schafer – who runs Microsoft’s Double Fine – does not return.
On Twitter, Gilbert said his Terrible Toybox development studio has been working on the game for 2 years “in complete secrecy”.
— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) April 4, 2022
We don’t have any more information on the game than what’s included in the short teaser trailer above, but we do have a 2013 blog post from Gilbert in which he laid out his ideas for a new game in the series. At that time, he said he’d want it to be “a retro game that harkened back to Monkey Island 1 and 2”, and would specifically ignore the events of every game in the series after the second – and given this game follows LeChuck’s Revenge, it seems he may have gotten his wish.
His other ideas at the the time included making it “a hardcore adventure game” with no tutorials, hint systems, “pansy-assed puzzles or catering to the mass-market or modernizing.” On top of that, he wanted retro art but powered by modern hardware (to help the team do what Lucasarts couldn’t in the 1990s), a “full-on inventory”, a physical release, dialog puzzles, and no verbs used for commands. He also said he’d like to rebuild the originals’ SCUMM engine, among other points.
Return to Monkey Island follows a number of projects that seem to be returning to classic franchises from Disney’s Lucasfilm Games brand – including Indiana Jones, multiple new Star Wars projects, and more. It’s not the first time Monkey Island has reared its skeletal head, after it got an extended Easter Egg within Sea of Thieves’ Pirates of the Caribbean update.
We spoke to Lucasfilm Games about the project last year, who said the idea was to work with developers to make their dream games with Disney IP. Given that Gilbert has publicly said he’d like to buy the franchise from Disney, it might be that he saw this as the next best option.