Return to Monkey Island - Gilbert + Devolver

Yeah, looks beautiful.

I am always up for a new point and click adventure and I will always make time for whatever Ron Gilbert is doing. And it sounds like they got the voice actor from the last few games back!

I can’t concur. I love the trailer (the music does a lot of heavy lifting) and it feels like it could be an amazing game, but the art in movement in-game (it looks good in still shots and cutscene animation) feels like the worst of both worlds (the stiffness of pixel art with the lack of charm of basic skeletal animation).

Will play it, and likely love it, but the art is a misstep, imho. I understand pixel art would just be for the shake of nostalgia, but I’d rather have the high res of MI3 than this.

I agree. I think you nailed it - the art looks good in stills, but not with movement, and watching this trailer was disappointing for me as well. As I watched it, I understood why so many people didn’t like it. This isn’t a new IP that can go surreal - these are characters that are more fleshed out and “realistic-ish” art-wise.

I’m on board with it too. The music really got me though.

These characters?


They may be leaving Curse of Monkey Island out of the story continuity, but they’re clearly quite informed by it aesthetically. Curse was the debut of Dominic Armato, for example. But also… the clouds! The moon!

I mean, I would be happy with a pixel art style too–or with hand-drawn animation like CMI–but what they seem to be doing to my eye is making a game with the aesthetic sensibilities of CMI but in a much more economical way, with flat-shaded shapes and puppet-rig animations. It’s totally fine if that’s not to your taste, but it has as much potential as anything to be vivid and expressive and beautiful, and they look to be doing a good job to me!

(I admit, I’m a little concerned about the complexity and saturation of the scenes. For adventure games, you need to be able to pick out the important items visually. But these guys know that! It’ll be good!)

I think the in-game animation we have seen are not good. You can do so much with 2D skeletal animation and remain economical. But the footage just shows mostly stiff movement through the screen.

It just doesn’t work. Takes away from the lushfulness of the still art.

My hope is that the footage is early and those are placeholder animations. Some of the cutscene stuff we have seen looks great, so clearly they have good animators on-board.


But unfortunately, these are not going to be placeholder animations. This is what the game will look like. (Source: every previous video game trailer for every game ever)

Is there an example of a video being released for any game, with the word “trailer” (not “concept,” “alpha,” “early-ass rough-ass crap-ass sketches,” but “trailer”), that then looked substantially different from the game?

There might be one or two exceptions that prove the rule. This won’t be it.

I think the writing, the wit, and the music are the main attributes of a good MI game. After ten minutes, I’ll likely not even notice or care that the art style is different from MI3, assuming it lives up to such a high standard (I’m very nostalgic for MI3… probably played it five or six times over the years; a great game to replay even though I know the puzzle solutions by heart!).

Witcher 3 says hi (but in the other direction).

Why you sneaky little…

I’m fine with the look. Monkey Island 3 had a gorgeous art style that would be hard to follow up, and I always want to support a game taking a swing with something original.

The visuals in the trailer give me Klei vibes. I’m not against this. The animations almost have the ‘feel’ of the original MI. I think it is a great modern retro look.

If I’m understanding Juan right, it seems like he’s most fixated on the “walking around the world” animations. (Is that right, @Juan_Raigada?) And they are a bit stiff. I wonder if that’s because when you’re really truly playing one of these games you want to get somewhere fast more than get somewhere looking good. But, anyway, I think revising the walking cycle for a game like this later in development is a fairly likely improvement they might make, since if it’s better it would be a high bang for their buck. But they can also develop the whole game with the less-good version without detriment.

I like the animation myself, it almost has a papercut feel. It reminds me a bit of Guacamelee style-wise, but Broken Age mechanically.

Those and most of the interaction animations over the playable backgrounds (the clashing of swords looks ridiculous). Which contrasts with the more bespoke cutscene animations that look gorgeous.

It seems a lot of animations with the in-game models are not very fluid.

But yes, as you say this being an adventure game there’s room for improvement of the most common ones to help land the style. It’s interesting because I feel a more expressive approach wouldn’t necessarily be much more expensive.

Anyway, people don’t really play adventure games for the animation. Even if they end up with an overall visual approach that doesn’t work for me I don’t think it’s going to diminish my enjoyment much. Music and overall mood seems spot on.


Well done, “fans.”

Ugh. That’s awful.

I mean, said “fans” bitched in this very thread. These guys work hard on something just to have a vocal minority take a shit on their work, I don’t blame him one bit for bailing on interacting with the stans.

That wasn’t who I was referring to, for the record. Our friends here had criticisms–and even said they would still play the game–and they didn’t turn to personal attacks.

Newsflash, the Internet has lots of idiots because the Internet has everyone in it.

Regarding the art style, I think the basic way our mind works in these things is that sequels have to look at least as good as their prequels’ established precedents. It’s easy to establish a new property with an abstract style, but for example, if Return to MI was drawn in stick figures, few people would accept it (unlike say, West of Loathing). Similarly, if Psychonauts 2 lacked the crazy art style established in the first game, gamers would be upset. And that’s where Return becomes problematic. Curse of MI established a very high bar to clear in terms of art style, which is why the more recent sequels decided to go 3d. Escape from MI would not be acceptable today, but was ok when 3d games were in their infancy as a “side-grade”. Going back to 2d means you’re now compared to Curse, and… it’s very hard to say that this current style is an improvement. It’s very abstract, and long-familiar characters now look extremely odd and unfamiliar. This kind of art style at this point is going to be controversial. But somehow, Ron Gilbert is very fond of controversial decisions.