To quickly recap for the uninitiated, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings was an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game that LucasArts was developing in the arena of 2005-2008. In the end, this long-awaited follow-up to Emperor’s Tomb was cancelled, but the separate incarnations that were being developed by third parties for the Wii, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and PSP ended up making it to shelves in 2009.
Lead Designer Steven Chen told us that the internal Staff of Kings had reached a “vertical slice” level of development when we had a chance to speak to him, which may explain the reasonably polished look the game in the surfaced gameplay clip below, sourced from Christopher James (Level Designer)’s online portfolio.
As many had already speculated, the game comes off as very much trying to follow in the footsteps of Uncharted, not unlike the debt the early 3D Indy games owed to Tomb Raider. The use of John Williams cues lifted straight from the movie scores throughout the level is right out of the published game, both in its coolness and its not-necessarily-motivated-ness. With another fifteen years having passed without a AAA Indy game, it’s up to MachineGames to hopefully redeem the situation, but it’s nice to steal a look at what might have been, had its team not been subsumed by Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Double Fine can’t stop, won’t stop with their Limited Run editions. This time: Full Throttle .
For a cool $85, you get . . . well, a bunch of stuff. Game, soundtrack, posters, bandana, a USB drive that hopefully isn’t corrupted, and more. Orders start October 7th and run through November 20th.
The Indiana Jones 5 sizzle reel that was shown at D23 was unfortunately exclusive to the expo, leaving its dissemination up to the cell phone videography of a sneaky audience member.
Well, that leak has occurred. With all the implied quality disclaimers, you can find it here...for now. If you'd rather wait for something that looks good for your first impression, a proper teaser is likely to drop in December (though it's unclear if it'll be a version of this or something new altogether) in front of the new Avatar.
Meanwhile, Willow has been given a 4K upgrade on Disney Plus, so you're gonna wanna get on that.
You are already familiar with sometimes-Mojo-contributor Nicolas Deneschau’s Les mysteres de Monkey Island: à l’abordage des pirates!, a French tome dedicated to Monkey Island. But what if you don’t speak French? Not to worry: Now you, too, can read the book thanks to an upcoming English translation on Kickstarter.
Named The Mysteries of Monkey Island the book has already racked up $7,955 in pledges, and that’s within an hour. In other words, it will be funded. $35-ish will get you the hardback, while $100-ish will toss in a Steve Purcell poster to boot. $12-ish for the ebook version—there are other, less obtainable tiers, too.
In the eternal words of Robin Thicke:
you know you want it, so go Kickstart now.
Like so many stories lately, this one comes from Twitter:
A very long thread of LUA voyeurism unfurls from there, including screenshots of amusingly candid comments in the code, hidden debug levels that were accidentally shipped, and some dialog lines that never get triggered due to bugs (Grim Fandango sympathizes). Even Psychonauts team members like Erik Robson (Lead Designer) and Kee Chi (Programmer) end up weighing in, so passionate fans of the game (and isn’t all of us?) might enjoy diging through.
It’s worth pointing out that @ScrungusCrungus seems to have been part of an effort to reverse-engineer Psychonauts for some time now, and past discoveries made along the way have also been documented for those who crave more.
Chris Baker, who worked as a studio publicist for LucasArts in the mid-2000s, shared an interesting memory with Craig Derrick on Twitter today...
It’s a shame. The game would have been a beautiful fit on that handheld. Alas, in 2006 LucasArts had other priorities, such as Thrillville and hating you. But hey, with Return to Monkey Island being a bona fide instant classic and all, we live in a more optimistic time where no-brainer ports are concerned.
Man, a fella could get used to reporting on Monkey Island articles at Lucasfilm.com. As part of its “Defining Moments” series, the official Lucasfilm web presence has gone and blogged about The SCUMM Bar, and I say good on ‘em.
Among other ruminations on the iconic Monkey Island location, the author makes an interesting attempt to tie in The SCUMM Bar with the theories of Joseph Campbell, whose concept of the monomyth was famously an influence on George Lucas’s approach to stories:
The SCUMM Bar has similarities with other Lucasfilm stories as well. In Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi introduces Luke Skywalker to the settlement of Mos Eisley, describing the spaceport as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” The dusty cantina they visit lives up to the Jedi’s blunt description. At an early stage in the journey depicted in Willow, the small but courageous Willow Ufgood carries the baby Elora Danan into a foreboding tavern full of human-sized Daikini. He finds no one caring enough to help him, and some are even openly hostile. And of course, we can all remember more than one instance when Indiana Jones wanders into a local watering hole.
All of these moments are examples of “crossing the threshold,” a phrase coined by mythologist Joseph Campbell (a friend and important influence on George Lucas) in his discussion of the mythical hero’s journey. Campbell illuminated how this story structure is common to ancient myths and legends from around the world. This crossing from the familiar safety of one’s home into the strange and dangerous wider world marks the start of an adventure.
Speaking of Willow – and go ahead and take in the effing BALLERINA-LIKE GRACE of my masterful segues here – we have Joanne Whalley dishing to Entertainment Weekly on her return as Sorsha in the upcoming sequel series. And did we mention Christian Slater is in it? House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings are putting forth a strong face, but we know they’re quivering on the inside.
Mixnmojo: Proving the theory that if you stubbornly stick around for enough decades, Lucasfilm will eventually grow bored enough to once again acknowledge the stuff you actually care about.
There is an easter egg in Return to Monkey Island that refers to a hidden island. That’s about what I want to say about it, as I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t finished the game. (Though it’s really not a spoiler—it has nothing to do with the plot. Or much anything else.) If you know, you know: Read our article about Cogg Island right now if you so would like and learn about all its secrets.
One of those names that seems to always be in the credits, Brad Taylor has had a crucial role on just about every SCUMM game from The Secret of Monkey Island onward, both at LucasArts and Humongous. Alongside Aric Wilmunder and SCUMM's originator Ron Gilbert, he was a key figure in the maintenance and maturation of the celebrated story system over its long years of service, all while preserving its critical separation of complexity from the designers, writers and artists so that their focus could stay on the creative aspects of the games.
So when Arcade Attack publishes a 100-minute conversation with the guy, it amounts to something close to self-care that you watch it:
Craig Derrick, Exec Producer at LucasFilm Games, has teased that something new might be coming in the Maniac Mansion universe on Twitter.
Given Day of the Tentacle has already been remastered, we're probably talking a remake of Maniac Mansion, or a new 3rd instalment of the series, if there's substance behind the comment.
Something that came up in the Mojo interview with Ron and Dave ahead of ReMI’s release was the promise of multiple endings:
Ron: Well, you will be happy to know that I think the ending…there’s a lot of interpretation that can go into the ending.
Marius: That’s what I meant.
Ron: So yeah, I think there will be that. And there’s five variations of the ending, depending on things you did. And they all kind of have different interpretations, and so I think you will find that good, yeah.
Well, it turns out that Ron was off by at least a factor of two, because our team of interns count no fewer than ten endings. Did you find them all? You may wanna refer to Mojo's handy breakdown to compare notes. And it goes without saying, folks who haven’t finished the game yet should stay far away.
Perversely, there appears to be an institutional expectation that there should be reviews of Return to Monkey Island beyond our own. But hey, we’re easy, we can play along. So check out our roundup of today’s many reviews beneath this rockin’ Nintendo launch trailer:
It’s been an excruciating wait, but finally, it has arrived, Return to Monkey Island. And, of course, we’ve put together a timely review, courtesy of one Jason.
To address the question many might have: There is a very small amount of spoilers in the review, but nothing that will ruin any real surprises. We’ve even put together a feature that blacks out all the screenshots. To re-enable them, just tap the toggle on top of the page or click the individual blurred-out images. (These do feature some minor spoilers.) And if you just want the conclusion, zero spoilers:
Return to Monkey Island is a gorgeous, vibrant, hilarious, endearing adventure that manages to live up to its pedigree (already a stratospheric standard before you account for the whole return-of-the-messiah business) and deliver a certain closure to three decades of frustrated innuendo -- but not too tidily, of course.
What else is there to say? Godspeed, everyone—take your time and enjoy the game. But only after reading our review.
“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” - Marius (probably)
If you think Mojo was done and dusted before Return to Monkey Island releases tomorrow, think again. Our German bureau chief, Marius, sat down with art director Rex Crowle to talk about the game, fandom, Marius’s hair… Everything!
Your mouth may be dry from anticipation, so refresh yourself with this nice, cool, tall drink while you await the game’s release, twenty-one hours from now.
If you live in the one true time zone -- Pacific -- I hope you have taken Monday off: 9 am is when you can be the social misanthrope we already knew you were, and unpack three days of provisions as you fire up ReMI. Hey, we’re in full support of it!
I’m guessing at this point you’re all primed to play Return to Monkey Island already and don’t need to continue to be sold on it by every disposable gaming blog in cyberspace (plus Mojo). But the fact is, previews continue to get mercilessly published as these last few days tick away, and apparently we’re a fan site so, it would feel wrong not to diligently round up the coverage for a new Monkey Island to the very end.
- IGN continues their week-long celebration of ReMI with a discussion with Ron and Dave about puzzle design. In the process, it’s confirmed (or was it already?), that there is a “Lite” and a Hard mode for the game. Be sure to check out IGN’s previous daily articles you might have missed, like their video glimpse of the game’s hint system.
- Eurogamer has its own interview, where among other things Ron and Dave ponder what an Elaine-centric Monkey Island might look like.
- GamesRadar+ has some quotes from the designer/writer duo about the horse armor DLC lampoonery, if that does anything for ya.
- 9news out of Australia was gonna be goddamned if they weren't getting in on the act, so they've got a nice chat of their own with the boys.
- And don’t look now, but it looks like Mojo got Ron back into blogging, as he saw fit to post our supercut of the #MonkeyIslandMonday clips over on Grumpy Gamer. I’m not saying we’re letting this go to our heads, but Thrik was last seen in public wearing a thirty foot crown with “Most Important Web Site, Per Ron” inscribed on it.
And to answer the question on everyone’s minds: Yes, Mojo will be publishing its review as soon as the embargo lifts. And who knows? We may not be done with our ReMI coverage even beyond that. My gosh, who knew the old jalopy could still work up a horsepower or two?
People used to die of starvation staring at the official Lucasfilm web presence in the hopes of finding acknowledgment of their graphic adventure game catalog. I guess times have changed, because the company has published a nice preview of Return to Monkey Island. Check it out and be dumbfounded that you find yourself alive in such a period of history.
Since April they’ve taken questions from the professionals, mitigating the risk of death with regulation harnesses and safety nets, and now at last they’ve worked up the nerve to go BASE jumping. Or as the hobbyists and civilians call it: a Mixnmojo interview. Don’t bother releasing your Monkey Island game without one.
Join acknowledged heartthrobs elTee and Marius (in his Mojo debut!) as they chat up Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman about their much-ballyhooed return to the shores of Monkey Island -- a sequel which is so hotly anticipated, we’re actually starting to have to consider paying our server costs up through its release date*. I’m rather excited myself to see how much of the interview ended up making it past the Lucasfilm brand director, so let’s all enjoy it together.
*You know, the one that’s days away, for goodness sake?
As one could, should, and would, IGN has dedicated the week leading up to Return to Monkey Island to… well, just that. Monkey Island. So far, we’ve seen an interview and, possibly more interesting, the scrapbook in action. (IGN apparently doesn’t allow embedding videos anymore, so follow that link.) Gotta love that lush music.
Keep watching IGN for more the rest of the week—and we might have a couple of things up our sleeves ourselves.