Return to Monkey Island shows off a bold new look in its debut gameplay trailer

It was big news when Return to Monkey Island was announced in April, helmed by original Monkey Island co-conspirators Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman. Now, thanks to a trailer revealed during yesterday's Nintendo Direct, it's time to get our first look at some actual gameplay.

Not everyone was enamored with the new art style in the Return to Monkey Island reveal: Some longtime fans expressed disappointment that it didn't have a more overtly retro look, like Terrible Toybox's previous point-and-click adventure, Thimbleweed Park. Personally, I think it's a good fit: Modernized, as you'd expect after 30 years of technological progress, but also distinctly, well, weird, as a game like this should be.

We've also now got a bit more on what the game is actually about, and as usual it doesn't sound like things are going very smoothly for poor Guybrush. Here's what the website has to say:

"It’s been many years since Guybrush Threepwood was last locked in a battle of wits with his nemesis, the zombie pirate LeChuck. His true love, Elaine Marley, has turned her focus away from governing and Guybrush himself is adrift and unfulfilled, having never found the Secret of Monkey Island. Hip, young pirate leaders led by Captain Madison have shuffled the old guard from power, Melee Island has taken a turn for the worse, and famed businessman Stan has been imprisoned for ‘marketing-related crimes."

Speaking of ethically-flexible salesman Stan S. Stanman, this stretch in the slammer has given him some extra free time, and he'ss willing to spend some of it on chat and banter by way of a classic point-and-click conversation on the updated Return to Monkey Island website. It's predictably silly but there's real information salted in there too, including that the updated art is being handled by Rex Crowle, who previously worked on games including Psychonauts 2 and Knights and Bikes, while music is coming from original Monkey Island 2 composers Michael Land, Peter McConnell, and Clint Bajakian. Original Guybrush Threepwood voice actor Dominic Armato is also returning to the role.

And speaking of Dominic Armato, it turns out that he digs the new look too.

Unfortunately, we still don't have a release date for Return to Monkey Island, although it's expected to be out sometime this year. Pricing hasn't been announced either, but despite some age advice from long ago, you can be pretty sure it's going to cost more than $20. Inflation, you know.

(Image credit: LucasArts)
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.