If I Made Another Monkey Island

Apr 13, 2013

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 03, 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 06, 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 19, 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 05, 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 29, 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 09, 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 Sep 01, 2018

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.

Jose Juan Llanos Jan 24, 2019
Agreed with every point.
Regarding verbs, I would still use them, but reduced. Remove push/pull and use Interact or something more generic

Ale Mar 02, 2019
Make the game, take your time and make it just the way you want, with the team you want. We the fans will be happy to fund it. Once the game is done, we´ll make Disney realize that there is a huge market out there for your -uncompromised- version of MI3. Then sell the game to Disney for a fair amount of cash so them can sell it to us. I know this doesn´t resolve the problem of the IP, but you get the game you wanted done, and we get to play it.

Tony May 01, 2019
I hold my breath for so long until you release the game.
No seriously.
I am absolutely thrilled with your text. The points correspond to 100% of my wishes. In my imagination, the box is already on my shelf.
I hope that it will come to that.

P.S. What was this about? I think I forgot what game we're talking about here. (Did you read that, dear Disney staff?)

Jordi Sep 14, 2019
I just jumped of my chair when reading it!
I really wish yo finally can get the Monkey Island IP to make this true!!

Brett Jan 17, 2020
Since disney suck and this will almost definately never happen. Can you please just tell what the damm secret is? To be fair, 30 years is a long time to leave your extremely devoted fanbase hangin'. Just a quick rundown of what you had planned for the true monkey island 3 would be goddamm amazing.

Thom Jan 18, 2020

Petition to Disney to get the rights back in the hands of the creator. I doubt they'll listen, they don't give a shit about integrity, look at the new Star Wars'. Worth a shot though!

Souhiro Jan 20, 2020
*Seventeen* - The game would be the game I wanted to make. I do--n't want the pressure of trying to make the game you want me to make.

But the game I would want you to make is the game that you'd love to make. A game with humor, a game that would get me stuck for hours, and ask my friends "Do you know how to pass the waterfall? A MONKEY? we're from Spain, what is a Monkey Wrench?" and finally, get the joke.

The only ONLY thing I would you suggest, is to improve the sprite framerate: There are some pixel artists that are doing something like this, and looks impresive. It's the best from the past, and the best of our future.


What do you think about this?

Nathan Feb 26, 2020
This new CEO sounds like he just wants to focus on big brands...

dimitris Mar 03, 2020
i would love a  monkey island 3

Ariel Bosi Apr 12, 2020
Hello, Ron.

Considering this post is almost 7 years old and Thimbleweed Park was created in the middle, would you add/modify/delete any of these points?

Kerem Apr 28, 2020
We all know that Disney has the rights of the game. Isn't it possible to cooperate in the new monkey island  project with Disney?  Fans have been waiting for very long time.

Joerg Apr 28, 2020
I would really like a MI3a to happen and whished Ron could arrange a situation with Disney and the IP he is comfortable with.

But if not also another game with the same kind of humor in a fresh positive setting like MI was would be sooo nice! We need your bright stories and art we can fall in love with in these hard times Ron!

Francesco Favia May 11, 2020
At the beginning of the Dalores story Ron states he is working on a new adventure game.
He was silent about it, new interface will have no verbs, he already has a small team probably, he said clearly long ago he is not making another adventure due to revenue's reasons but he could change his mind if he would have a great idea... Well ... Is Monkey island 3a coming?

Sam B May 22, 2020
Seven years later and returning to this shrine to quixotic retro gaming nostalgia. I won't let Covid take me before I'm holding my Monkey Island 3a floppy!

Panos May 23, 2020
Looking back at it, I am trying to make a small tech demo with godot for an adventure game, and recently played the Delores Thimbleweed tech demo. I see that in the Delores, you nailed what you were writing here.

I've played games for over 30 years, and your adventures played the pivotal part of defining some aspects of my life. I am 40 now. I know due to the Disney stuff, there will be no coming back to the IP for Monkey Island in the near future (I sure hope it isn't so!) but this document is awesome. Keep up the good work, I am waiting for your next game :)

Adam Jul 13, 2020
If I ever came into big money (whoop) I would pay Ron well, to create this game, in a hole somewhere, without disruption, as he says, the way it was supposed to be. It would one day appear on Pirate Bay with no one at Disney aware of what happened. Nameless. But there. The final piece of a puzzle that may never be. Eugh, where are these MI millionaires hiding and what is taking them so long.

Reto Oct 18, 2020
Wouldn't it be possible to just change the name slightly. Just so, that the old crowd, thirsty for another adventure, recognize the connection, but legaly on the safe side?

Robert wagner Nov 05, 2020
Aww man, Monkey Island 1 and 2 were my all time favourite games and the memories they bring back thinking about playing them on my Amiga... Man what I would do to play a proper sequel to those! Ho hum...

Jonathan Dickinson Nov 24, 2020
I've just started Monkey Island 2 again and yeah, I'm stuck pretty much instantly... but that's the enjoyment modern gamers don't understand. Being frustrated for days, then trying the most random thing and feeling that elation when it works and you find out what happens next. Young gamers won't put up with that nowadays, they either want their hand holding or want to blow shit up. I wish AAA titles were diverse games that brought the most joy not the most money for the publisher. There's no personality in popular games anymore, it's just about the return. Monkey Island 3 would be the game to change that.

Santiago Dutil Mar 01, 2021
Dear Ron, I can't get tired of reading this post, is like a manifesto of how to work with love. If it ever happens, I know so many will be so happy. Now I am 43 and seeing how much love you have put in MI I understand why it was so important to the 12 years old me. We all need to put love in what we do, we probably never know, but it will change someone's life.

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