Ron Gilbert, creator of the Monkey Island franchise, addressed the negative response to the recently announced sequel’s art style.
Series creator Ron Gilbert is saddened by the negative fan reaction to the art style of Back to Monkey Island. Back to Monkey Island is the direct sequel to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revengereleased in 1991. Ron Gilbert wrote and directed the first monkey islandthen also designed and programmed LeChuck’s Revenge.
The first two monkey island came out in the early 90s, and the now-iconic look of those games was all pixel art. This in itself used two different styles. In the main world where the player can walk around as the main character Guybrush, the art is simpler and retains only necessary details. Then, when Guybrush has a conversation with characters such as Elaine Marley or the Sword Master Carla, the player is treated to fully detailed and realistically rendered portraits. However, with the trailer for Back to Monkey Islandit was revealed that the next game will have a more cartoony look.
Like VGC reports, Ron Gilbert was sad to see the negative fan reactions to the Back to Monkey Island artistic style. “It’s ironic that the people who don’t want me to make the game I want to make are diehard Monkey Island fans,” said Gilbert. “And that’s what makes me sad about all the comments.” He continues with “Returning to Monkey Island may not be the art style you wanted or expected, but it’s the art style I wanted” showing that he is not too discouraged by such comments. He is confident in the abilities of art director Rex Crowle, and that he and his team will make a great video game.
While Back to Monkey Island the new look is quite stylized, it’s not far off from other entries and special edition versions of the monkey island series. A direct comparison of monkey island different styles of art can be seen by looking at the original box art for The Secret of Monkey Islandthen to art for The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. Both boxes depict the same scene, with the figures in the same positions, but with radically different art. The special edition took on a more cartoony and stylized look, while the original was more realistic and dramatic. Another sequel to LeChuck’s Revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, also took on a different but still cartoonish look. Then fans saw changes again when embattled developer Telltale made Tales from Monkey Island. Needless to say it’s far from the first time monkey island had a change in art style.
With the style of monkey island barely able to stay consistent for more than two games, it’s quite surprising to see some backlash about the looks of Return to Monkey Island. Art director Rex Crowle is known for his art and design work for little big planet and Knights and bikes, both of which are colorful and stylized titles. Although this contrasts with the two original entries of the monkey island series, with their realistic and painterly pixel portraits, the more stylized look matches the humorous and whimsical vibe of monkey islandthe story and writing style of .
While it’s saddening to see some fans unhappy with the look of the new game, hopefully the excitement over this long-awaited sequel prevails. The backlash isn’t stopping Ron Gilbert from creating the game he wants, and fans are eagerly awaiting to see this longtime project come to fruition. Back to Monkey Island should be released later this year.
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Source: Video Game Chronicle
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