E3 2009: Tales of Monkey Island Preview Page One


Aside from getting to interview Dave and Emily about the game, I was able to see it played right in front of me. Emily played and they both commented as the demo went on.

Our tale began with Guybrush on the ocean sailing to rescue his beloved wife Elaine, who has once again been captured by LeChuck. To put an end to LeChuck once and for all, and with the help of the Voodoo Lady, Guybrush has collected all the necessary ingredients to create the Cursed Cutlass of Kaflu. Just as Guybrush is about to combine all the ingredients, he drops and breaks a bottle of root beer necessary to complete the enchantment. So the first puzzle is to find a suitable replacement. This was fairly simple and straightforward, but is purposely so as it is meant to ease players in.

Once Guybrush comes up with new ingredients to enchant the sword, he seemingly puts it to good use and stabs LeChuck, expecting him to be banished for all eternity. Unfortunately, things don't go exactly as he'd planned. Instead of destroying him, LeChuck is made human once again. This is not good news for Guybrush, as some of the evil mojo from LeChuck's Ghost Pirate form is transferred to Guybrush's hand. Guybrush later learns this is called the Pox of LeChuck from the Voodoo lady. Once Guybrush's hand becomes infected, it also gains a mind of it's own, refusing to finish LeChuck and instead setting off a chain reaction which sends Guybrush flying into the ocean, helpless to save Elaine as LeChuck's ship sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

Guybrush washes up onto Flotsam Island, which is where the first episode takes place. He immediately meets a pirate who his hand decides to punch in the nose. Next, he meets another pirate who introduces him to the island. He kind of rambles on, and Dave was quick to point out that this was one scene that they were working on shortening.

Now that Guybrush is on land, he is determined to find a way off so that he can save Elaine. There is a boat at the docks and Guybrush tells the captain to be prepared to be boarded. The captain takes this announcement oddly well and is excited to see someone try and take his ship. It's not going to be quite so easy for Guybrush though.

Thumb “ Emily used the arrow keys on the keyboard to control Guybrush, but told me not to assume that this would be the final control scheme.”

I didn't get to see all the dialog options, but from what Dave explained to me, claiming the ship is kind of like king of the hill, where if you can throw the current captain into the ocean, the ship is yours. The ship's captain was really a classic adventure game character as he really bought into this game, and had several traps laid to protect his ship. I was shown several of the traps, but not how to solve the puzzle. I did get to see the game again at LucasArts, and they were ready to show me how to solve it, but it decided not to cooperate.

On the way to the ship, we passed a building which I was told was the home of a scientist who Guybrush would later go to see about about removing the pox from his hand. As mentioned in the interview, science vs voodoo will play a role in the game.

The last part of the demo I was shown was at the Voodoo Lady's house. After the Voodoo Lady explains about the Pox of LeChuck to Guybrush, we see Guybrush really show his pirate self as his motivations are pretty selfish. Along with stopping LeChuck, it is important that he cures his hand for a certain reasion, but all he cares about is saving Elaine. And with that the demo ended.

There were a few important points I took away from seeing the demo. In true Monkey Island fashion, dialog trees return and hilarity ensues. I only got to see one dialog choice most times, but it was definitely the same brand of humor we all love.

Emily used the arrow keys on the keyboard to control Guybrush, but told me not to assume that this would be the final control scheme. So it's possible that using the arrow keys will be an option, but it's also reasonable to assume that the game will feature classic point and click controls, especially considering the game will also be released on WiiWare.

One cool new feature which fans have been requesting and Telltale has delivered on is an inventory system which features combining items to solve puzzles. This was shown to me when all the ingredients were combined with Guybrush's cutlass, and looks very simple and effective. Look for this to be used quite a bit throughout the series.

It wouldn't be a Monkey Island game without the original Guybrush, and Telltale does not come up short here either, with Dominic Armato reprising his role as Guybrush, as well as Alexandra Boyd returning from Curse of Monkey Island as Elaine, (although her dialog had not been implemented yet when I saw the game and a temporary VA was used). Michael Land, who provided the score for all 4 previous Monkey Island games, is also on board for Tales. Aside from the voice actors and music, the entire team working on the game is filled with LucasArts alum.

So there you have it! Everything you could possibly want to know about Tales of Monkey Island. I can confidently say that the game is looking to be a worthy successor in the Monkey Island series. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed again. And this was only from seeing the prologue and a little bit afterwards. Look forward to Tales of Monkey Island to be released July 7th for PC and WiiWare!

Next page: an interview with Dave Grossman and Emily Morganti about the game and the direction of the company.

No news post