With “Return to Monkey Island”, “we didn’t want to create a nostalgic video game”

Thirty years and nine months: such is the interval which separates the release of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (1991) and that of Return to Monkey Island, due September 19 on PC and Switch. During these three decades, the universe of pirates in which the fair-haired Guybrush Threepwood evolves has become a monument of adventure games in point and clicka genre where the hero is directed by pointing with the help of the mouse on scenery, clues or other characters to solve an investigation.

After American creators Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer split up in 1992, the series continued without them for three more episodes, but the magic was no longer there. However, against all odds, two members of the original trio have taken over the franchise from Lucasfilm Games (formerly Lucas Art), now owned by Disney, to deliver a sixth installment this year. Meeting, by interposed cameras, with Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, two pioneers who have not said their last word.

Only a few months separate the formalization of “Return to Monkey Island”, in April, and the announcement of its release, at Gamescom in Cologne on August 23. Why such an acceleration after thirty years of waiting?

Ron Gilbert: Our goal was to take people by surprise. We had to keep it a secret for nearly two years after we started working on the project. When we announced it, the 1er April, it was almost finished. We wanted to release it as soon as possible. At first we were even considering doing it in May, but the process took longer than expected. Then we spotted “International Talk Pirate Day” [un jour férié parodique célébré le 19 septembre] and we thought that this date made sense for the launch.

How do you manage the expectations of the public when you are recognized, like you, for a work that has become cult?

Ron Gilbert: This recognition is truly both a blessing and a curse. I think you always have to move forward and be careful not to get stuck in a role. But when I see all these games that have taken over this old Scumm interface [moteur de jeu co-inventé par Ron Gilbert pour Maniac Mansion en 1987, qui permet d’interagir avec des objets à l’aide de verbes suggérés dans une barre latérale]it’s heartwarming to know that we’ve had such an impact on people.

Dave Grossman: Sometimes I kinda feel like we’re like the original cast of star trek : people who are best known for things they did thirty years ago. And yet this recognition has also been beneficial during these three decades.

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With “Return to Monkey Island”, “we didn’t want to create a nostalgic video game”