New Monkey Island Game: Yes To Hints, No To Pixel Art

Return to Monkey Island will have modern graphics and a hint system. Creator Rob Gilbert has explained that he’s had some major rethinks over what he calls a “new” Monkey Island game rather than “another” game in the series.

Speaking to Arstechnica about the forthcoming release, Gilbert addressed a 2013 blog post on what was then the completely hypothetical proposition “If I Made Another Monkey Island.”

Among the points he made then were that the game would be “enhanced low-res… Nice crisp retro art, but augmented by the hardware we have today.”

He also promised “No tutorials or hint systems or pansy-assed puzzles or catering to the mass-market or modernizing.”

Now the game is a reality, Gilbert says things will be very different and that he was mistaken to make the post so certain. On the graphics side he points out that although the pixel art is fondly remembered today, it was never an intentional design or feel, rather that it was just what was possible at the time.

The new look will use modern graphics in a functional way, with Gilbert mentioning one possibility of the camera zooming or pulling to attract the player’s attention to an object where necessary.

On the hint system, Gilbert’s change of mind appears to be largely about dealing with the reality of gaming in 2022. He notes that while gamers who get stuck will persevere for some time, eventually they will just look online for a solution. He argues that with people having more options to fill their time, tolerance for frustration is limited: “people want to be stuck, but only for five minutes at a time…”

The plan is to have an in-built hint system that fits neatly into the game, meaning players can get help while still remaining immersed in the virtual world and story.