Jonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog and I have much in common when it comes to video games. We both grew up with LucasArts’ adventures, he with archaeology professors and me with wannabe pirates, and these have influenced our gaming preferences since.
When Jonez was nominated for a Real Neat Blog Award last month, he was asked the question: if you could revive one series of works that has been abandoned or dropped by its creators for any reason, which series would it be and why? Among mentions of anime shows, I wasn’t surprised to see him say he could talk about his wish for a new Indiana Jones game; but he followed this by saying he wasn’t going to because a revived series may never live up to expectations.
I understand where he’s coming from. Alongside The Secret of Monkey Island, the Fable franchise is one of my favourites and I have admiration for Peter Molyneux where a lot of other people don’t. I adored 2008’s Fable II and was so excited for 2010’s follow-up – but it was disappointing. New features which didn’t feel like previous content were awkward, raising enough gold to save everyone in the kingdom was boring, and the end battle was an anti-climax over in a couple of minutes.
Does that stop me from being excited about the possibility of a Fable IV though? Not at all. Although I’m a little sad it’s being developed by Playground Games and that Lionhead didn’t get the chance to make the title fans have been waiting for, it won’t stop me from eagerly buying it upon release. Microsoft revealed nothing during their E3 presentation last year so it seems we’ll have to wait a while; but I want the opportunity to get sucked back into the adventures of Albion, even if there’s a chance it won’t meet expectations.
This is how I feel about Monkey Island too. The fourth instalment, 2000’s Escape from Monkey Island, was the last to be made by LucasArts alone before they co-developed Tales of Monkey Island with Telltale Games in 2009. I bought the episodes and tried playing them back in 2014 but gave up after half an hour and haven’t been back to them since. The current iteration of Guybrush just didn’t feel like the wannabe-pirate I’d come to love, while the controls and changing angles were frustrating.
My heart sank when I found out that LucasArts had been purchased by The Walt Disney Company in 2012. It may have millions of fans all over the world but I can’t count myself within their number. The reasons why are varied and perhaps the subject for another post at some point in the future; but let’s say for now their business practices and content leave much to be desired, and I agreed with Ron Gilbert when he said that he wasn’t optimistic about the future of Monkey Island as a result.
But there’s still a chance that Gilbert will one day get to make the game he wants to create. After Disney Interactive announced they would cease production on gaming in 2016, he took to Twitter to ask them to sell the IPs for Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion back to him. And an online petition created the following year by fan of the series Thaddeus Sharpe now has more than 24,300 signatures, so it’s clear I’m not the only one who’s eager to see Guybrush return.
Why do I want another game, when there’s every possibility it might not be what I’m looking for? I could be just as disappointed with it as I was with Fable III. As Jonez wrote himself in his award response: “There are so many things that could be revived but they might never live up to expectations. I don’t want a sort of Duke Nukem Forever situation on my hands with the franchises I adore.” A new Monkey Island title could be the best adventure game we’ve ever played. On the other hand, it could be the worst.
But we’ll never know what could be if we don’t get another title. And let me be clear here: I’m not talking about a game produced by Disney or another developer who’s simply interested in continuing an IP to rinse as much profit out of it as possible. We need a new instalment made by the original creators, who know what makes the series special and loves it as much as the fans do. We want to see where Gilbert will take Guybrush next and what new chaos he’ll find himself wrapped up in.
To quote Thaddeus Sharp: “Do the right thing Disney, give the intellectual property rights for Monkey Island back to its progenitor, who intends to make great content with it. Please, if you’re not going to do anything with it, let the original artist have back this proverbial paintbrush, he’s the only one worthy of wielding it. You’d be enabling the creation of art, the possibility the world would get to enjoy another adventure in a beloved land conceived back in 1988.”
Get yourself over to change.org and add your signature if you haven’t done so already. If you need more convincing, keep your eyes open for an upcoming collaboration with Gao Li from Gao Li Occasionally Reviews because we have a plan to encourage as many people as possible to stream The Secret of Monkey Island on Twitch on the same date. There’ll be more news coming about that soon, and if it manages to get the petition a few more signatures then I’ll be a very happy gamer.
Please, Disney. I want to be a pirate.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.