Return to Monkey Island: the letter

This is the letter, in full, that was added to the scrapbook at the end of Return to Monkey Island.

June 18, 2020

Development won't start for another month or so, but we've been thinking about this for a while.

It seems like a good time to jot down a few thoughts, and then stash them away as a sort of time-capsule message to our future selves, about what we're setting out to do with Return to Monkey Island.

Who knows, we might learn something.

Monkey Island has historically been a reflection of the lives of the people who made the games. The Secret of Monkey Island was about a young person setting out to pursue an exciting new career. As designers in our twenties, that is what we all were.

The sequel, LeChuck's Revenge, was in many ways about the difficulties of making a sequel, or at least about what one does immediately after something that felt like a great success but which went unnoticed by most of the world at large. Many years (twenty!) later, after Guybrush had gone on a couple of adventures with other teams who had their own hopes and challenges, we set out to make Tales of Monkey Island as a story about trust, and it is, but what jumps out most for us in that it feels like a story about grown-ups. Because that's what we were, many of us in our forties by then, with children and lives and a lumpy encrusted layer of experience.

We are well into our fifties now. We've had lengthy careers, we've made a lot of games. But Monkey Island still defines us to a certain degree, or, at least, in the minds of many we are Those Guys Who Made That Game A Long Time Ago. And it feels like there's some unfinished business there. When the opportunity arose to come back to Monkey Island, we were pretty much on the same page as to what we wanted to do.

Guybrush, like us, is older now, and he's had a long and reasonably successful career. But he is mostly associated with something that happened a long time ago, and that feels unfinished to him. The game is a goofy pirate adventure, the same as always, but also it's a story about trying to recapture the past, with all its alleged youthful strength and glory. Guybrush will both succeed and fail at this. He will sort of get what he wants, but it won't be what he expected.

I predict the same for us.

Ron Gilbert
Dave Grossman

Read my musings about the ending of Return to Monkey Island [****LINK****]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s