Return to Monkey Island was confirmed for Nintendo Switch during the Nintendo Direct Mini today, with a gameplay trailer that showed off plenty of quick snippets of action and the game’s new art direction. Return to Monkey Island will be out for Nintendo Switch and PC later this year.
The trailer flits back and forth from one moment to another, with series protagonist Guybrush Threepwood – voiced once more by actor Dominic Armato – seeking the secret of Monkey Island once and for all, but also in a way that doesn’t really mess with the series timeline because this game is set directly after the second game.
Other series favourites will be returning, including Elaine Marley, LeChuck (of course), Murray the evil skill, Carla the swordmaster and more. Of particular note, Elaine looks to be a playable character, which is something that is a first for the series.
The art style found within the game has been a bone of contention for some fans of the series who would live and die by the pixel art sword, because that’s the game they remember playing back in the early 90s. Ron Gilbert is back to direct this game, just as he did for the first two, and back in May defended the new direction by saying “Return to Monkey Island may not be the art style you wanted or were expecting but it’s the art style I wanted.”
The new art direction has come by way of Rex Crowle, and it’s clear to see the lineage back to his previous games, Tearaway and Knights and Bikes. The game’s crisp and it’s hand-drawn with a layered look and feel. Of Crowle’s work, Gilbert said, “Rex is an amazing creative force and we have a team of incredible artists, animators, sound designers, programmers, and testers all pouring their souls into this game and it’s beautiful to see, play, and listen to.”
Personally, I rather like it. Gilbert previously leant on the retro pixel art aesthetic for Thimbleweed Park, but that game was a deliberate homage to the classic point & click era. Switching things up for this game is indicative of how they don’t just want to retread old ground, but take this popular franchise forward once more.