A month ago it was confirmed that not only was a brand new Monkey Island game in development, but better still, Ron Gilbert was back at the helm (something he said he’d only ever do if he got control of the franchise back). – While anticipation for the game has been high, however, following the release of its first official gameplay trailer earlier this week, let’s just say that the fan reaction has been mixed at best.
While some are focusing on simply being happy that a new Monkey Island is on the way, others are more than a little disappointed at the apparent art style it will have. – It seems, however, that the comment section has become so vitriolic that Ron Gilbert has said that, moving forward, all comment sections for official posts from the project will now be closed!
Bang up job, everybody.
(I’ve seen a lot of passionate but polite/polite-adjacent discussion going on, but the comments on Ron’s blog were a total shitshow.) pic.twitter.com/BUBoPdU1fS
— Dominic Armato (@SkilletDoux) June 30, 2022
Return to Monkey Island Trailer Creates Division Among ‘Fans’
The decision has predominantly been taken because while initially starting off as a debate between both supporters and critics of the game’s art direction, things have (as often is the case on any social media board) descended into open insults with people attacking each other while apparently forgetting what the point they were trying to make in the first place was.
Ahead of a new and still mostly highly-anticipated gaming release, however, this is clearly not the kind of fan interaction that either Ron Gilbert or the team behind the title want to see. Seeing people dump on their unfinished work clearly isn’t a motivator. And more than that, it doesn’t really make for good PR for media outlets to notice that a portion of what you would think would be its most ardent supporters are not happy with what they’re seeing!
Sorry Guys – But We Gamers Are a Fickle Bunch!
Having a lot of love for old point-and-click adventures, I’m well aware (having seen it with my own eyes) that a lot of people are unhappy with the art direction of this new Monkey Island title. And yes, I’m going to say it myself, compared to everything we’ve seen before from the franchise, the new style is certainly more than a little jarring, and, dare I say, it looks a little bit… well… cheap
I think though that this is a key point. Although I’m not privy to the finances, I think it’s almost certain that Return to Monkey Island is not being made with masses of AAA-gaming cash at their disposal. There wasn’t any kind of crowdfunding efforts and, on the whole, I’d be massively surprised if the overall development budget (including marketing) was over $350,000. A pittance by today’s standards. And just to put this figure into context, Elden Ring is understood to have cost somewhere in the region of $170,000,000 to $220,000,000.
More than anything though, and at the risk of potentially offending some of you, I can’t help but think that this trailer backlash highlights that we gamers are, generally speaking, quite fickle people. We cry and cry and cry for remakes, remasters, and new titles from franchises, and when we get them, we only mostly complain about it!
Now yes, in some instances, those complaints are entirely justified. The GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition, Blade Runner Enhanced, and XIII Remake certainly come to mind! – When dealing with franchises like Monkey Island though, that have barely been relevant for over 20 years, I think we should mostly just be grateful that something new is happening at all! – It’s like we’re starving and get given a slice of cake only to complain that we wanted chocolate instead of lemon drizzle!
No, Return to Monkey Island doesn’t look like the games we so fondly remember. What’s more important though? The fact that it looks so different, or the fact that after over 20 years since its last official instalment, we’re finally getting a new title?
What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!