Apr 13, 2013

If I Made Another Monkey Island

Yeah, I know, that sounds like the title of the O.J. Simpson book. I realized that after I typed it, but I'm not going to change it.

So, before I get into this fanciful post, I want to make one thing perfectly clear... actually, I'm just going to make it my first point. It's probably the most important one. Actually, I'll make it the first two points.

*One* - I am not making another Monkey Island. I have no plans to make another Monkey Island. I am not formulating plans to make another Monkey Island.

*Two* - Let me say that again. There is no new Monkey Island in works and I have no plans to make one. I'm just thinking and dreaming and inviting you come along with me. Please your keep your hands inside the boat at all times. No standing or you might get wet.

But, If I made another Monkey Island...

*Three* - It would be a retro game that harkened back to Monkey Island 1 and 2. I'd do it as "enhanced low-res". Nice crisp retro art, but augmented by the hardware we have today: parallaxing, depth of field, warm glows, etc. All the stuff we wanted to do back in 1990 but couldn't. Monkey Island deserves that. It's authentic. It doesn't need 3D. Yes, I've seen the video, it's very cool, but Monkey Island wants to be what it is. I would want the game to be how we all remember Monkey Island.

*Four* - It would be 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. It would be an adventure game for the hardcore. You're going to get stuck. You're going to be frustrated. Some puzzles will be hard, but all the puzzles will be fair. It's one aspect of Monkey Island I am very proud of. Read this.

*Five* - I would lose the verbs. I love the verbs, I really do, and they would be hard to lose, but they are cruft. It's not as scary as it sounds. I haven't fully worked it out (not that I am working it out, but if I was working it out, which I'm not, I wouldn't have it fully worked out). I might change my mind, but probably not. Mmmmm... verbs.

*Six* - Full-on inventory. Nice big juicy icons full of pixels. The first version of Monkey Island 1 had text for inventory, a later release and Monkey Island 2 had huge inventory icons and it was nirvana. They will be so nice you'll want to lick them. That's a bullet-point for the box.

*Seven* - There would be a box. I imagine most copies would be sold digitally, but sometimes you just want to roll around in all your adventure game boxes. I know I do. Besides, where would you store the code wheel?

*Eight* - There would be dialog puzzles. They weren't really puzzles, but that's what we called them. Being able to tell four jokes at once and meander and getting lost in the humor of a conversation is the staple of Monkey Island. No one has done it better since. Just my opinion.

*Nine* - I would rebuild SCUMM. Not SCUMM as in the exact same language, but what SCUMM brought to those games. It was a language built around making adventure games and rapid iteration. It did things Lua could never dream of. When Lua was in High School, SCUMM beat it up for lunch money. True story. SCUMM lived and breathed adventure games. I'd build an engine and a language where funny ideas can be laughed about at lunch and be in the game that afternoon. SCUMM did that. It's something that is getting lost today.

*Ten* - It would be made with a very small team. Not 30 or 20, but 10 or less. It means the game would take longer, but it would be more personal and crafted with love. Monkey love. Wait... that's not what I meant...

*Eleven* - The only way I would or could make another Monkey Island is if I owned the IP. I've spent too much of my life creating and making things other people own. Not only would I allow you to make Monkey Island fan games, but I would encourage it. Label them as such, respect the world and the characters and don't claim they are canon. Of course, once the lawyers get ahold of that last sentence it will be seven pages long.

*Twelve* - 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.

*Thirteen* - It won't be the Monkey Island 3 I was going to make in 1992. I'm not the same person I was back then. I could never make that game now. It is lost to time. Hopefully this one would be better.

*Fourteen* - The press won't get advanced copies. I know all the reasons they want to get a game in advance, and they are all valid, but I feel they should play it at the same time you do. I hope they won't be mad at me. My Metacritic score hopes they won't be mad it me.

*Fifteen* - It would have full voice. It's something we dreamed of back then and we can do it now.

*Sixteen* - If I used Kickstarter, there would be no fancy videos of me trying to look charming (as if I could). No concept art or lofty promises or crazy stretch goals or ridiculous reward tiers. It would be raw and honest. It would be free of hype and distractions that keep me from making the best game I could. True, I wouldn't raise huge sums of money or break any records, but that's not what I want to do. I want to make a game.

*Seventeen* - The game would be the game I wanted to make. I don't want the pressure of trying to make the game you want me to make. I would vanish for long periods of time. I would not constantly keep you up-to-date or be feeding the hype-machine. I'd show stuff that excited me or amused me. If you let me do those things, you will love the game. That, I promise.

I hope you've had as much fun reading this as I had writing it.

Kolzig

Jan 02, 2018
It's especially cool reading this again now after so many years and also because Thimbleweed Park is out and many of your 17 points are exactly like you did with Thimbleweed Park.

That is just so great.

Mimi

Jan 05, 2018
This is amazing to read! I really hope that this becomes a reality one day as I will be first in line! Just completed my first play through of Thimbleweed park and its been a wonderful experience and has made me want to replay Monkey 1 & 2 yet again! Thank you!

Ben

Jan 18, 2018
Why not make it anyway? Use a little wink wink here and there, a Tybrush Greepwood, Donkey Island, etc. Half kidding but seriously, thank you for an amazing experience.

Alberto

Jan 24, 2018
I understand why it must be frustrating to have your IP taken away from you. I myself am making a game based on my story, and it would suck to no end to have some people own the story and characters i developed with passion and love, and who are pretty much like children to me. ALso, in my personal opinion, other people have no right to decide what is canon to the story; only the creator, no matter if they bought the "rights". I hope, I really do that someday you will manage to get Monkey island back. I love the game. Good luck!

Hector

Apr 04, 2018
I don't want to die without playing it.

Kyrone

May 22, 2018
Why are the comments from 2018? Suspicious

Olgu

May 25, 2018
The Secret of Monkey Island came out a year after I was born. The amount of times I played both monkey games combined is probably more than my age at this point. The true third game lived in my dreams for long years. The year is 2018 and I still can't get point and clicks and Monkey Island out of my head. Well I'm not trying to. In fact I'm writing my master thesis on something close to your point *Five*. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and  I hope you get the IP one day to complete the legendary series.

Steve

May 28, 2018
Yeah, this needs to happen.  Every person I've introduced the MI games too has fallen in love with them, but without question everyone's favorites were game 1 and 2, and I feel the same.  3a would be a most welcome addition to the true gospel of MI.  :)

Jon

Jun 20, 2018
If you made this (and you're not), I would want a special edition that somehow came on 12x3.5" floppy disks - Monkey Island on my Amiga 500 is a cherished childhood memory :)

Fred

Jul 08, 2018
Kickstarter to buy back the ip?

Toni

Aug 18, 2018
Kickstarter to buy back the ip +1

Ben Millen

Aug 31, 2018
Kickstarter to buy back ip +2 or find someone at Disney who played these games as a kid and speak to their better nature to pull some strings..... Kickstarter it is then

Ron Gilbert

Aug 31, 2018
*sigh*

This isn't about money... it's about Disney not wanting to sell.   The problem is, the more someone at Disney likes the game, the less they are willing to sell. The best thing that can happen is for everyone to just forget about MI, then maybe Disney will think it's worthless and sell it.  The more people buy the old gages and start petitions, the worse it gets.

Christian

Sep 18, 2018
Played MI1+2 first when i was 12 years on my Amiga 500. Today i am 41 years, still have my original Amiga and playing the games once a year. The Boxes are stored in my shelf, the absolution certificate is at the wall in my office.
I *can not* die before i played MI3a. It is not possible. How about a Kickstarter for getting Ron out of Jail when he releases MI3a without Disney's approval xD ... With luck, i have 25-30 years left. Ron, you have to create this game. Really. The world is lost without MI3a - without RONs MI3a, not Disneys.

Johan Windh

Oct 09, 2018
"The best thing that can happen is for everyone to just forget about MI..."

This means it is never going to happen.
:'(

Matias

Oct 25, 2018
Tybrush Greepwood's idea is awesome. The whole game could be just like that. Governor Melaine Arley would love him.
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