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Seeing as we’re already hanging out in 2004, we might as well get comfortable there.

During this week’s "Star Wars Celebration" in Anaheim (the same event that brought you Willow and Indiana Jones 5 glimpses), it was announced that Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords will be arriving on Switch June 8th. The port is being developed by Aspyr, the studio responsible for the recent Switch versions of the original KOTOR, Star Wars: Episode I - Racer, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast, Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast, Star Wars: Republic Commando, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and probably fifty others. Check out a trailer below:

Obsidian’s KOTOR II was of course the sequel to BioWare’s 2003 blockbuster. After the game got a spectacular reaction at E3 2004, LucasArts rewarded the team by pushing up its release date to December of that year. Though the final game was received positively enough, it was lost on no one that it was rushed – some have said incomplete. I’d assume, then, that this promise of “Restored Content DLC” at the end of the trailer is the biggest selling point, but I’ll leave it to people who have actually played this game to talk knowledgeably about that.

The appendix of the Freelance Police folio threatened that it would be a “living document” to be updated if new material ever came to light. Though successful in nabbing most of the key team members for interviews that would inform the article, I was unable at the time to make contact with Steven Chen – a regrettable omission, as he was Lead Designer on the game.

You may be familiar with Chen from his work on Indiana Jones and Infernal Machine; his Indy bona fides were later leveraged on Staff of Kings (the cancelled, good version). In the middle there, he also had a dalliance with Double Fine where, as one of the original employees, he worked on Psychonauts for the first two of its sixty years in production.

Well, now you’re about to be more familiar: Mojo bumped into Chen by chance at a monster truck rally the other day, and, after being plied with enough candy and cheese popcorn, he agreed to dredge up his memories of working on two of the most promising games LucasArts put on the docket in its post-2000 era. Both of which were of course killed, because, you know, LucasArts. Consequently, there’s a new inclusion in the Freelance Police interview compendium here, while the article itself has been quietly nourished with the designer’s insights.

Now then, who’s left?

Special thanks to retired Mojo staffer telarium for helping us get in touch with Chen. And of course, extra special thanks to Steven himself for taking time out for us.

GamesBeat — which, let there be no doubt, is VentureBeat’s gaming site — has sat down with ReMI art director Rex Crowle, for a short, yet content-heavy interview. A sample:

The Monkey Island games mean so many different things to different people it’s daunting having that range of hopes and desires pressing down on you. Some fans picture the earlier pixel art, some remember painterly clouds, some may have happy memories of giant mechanical monkey battles.

Monkey battles… The man isn’t afraid of controversies.

And while you wait for more art from the game — and for the record: I love everything we’ve seen so far — you can tide yourself over by reading VentureBeat’s other fascinating content, like “How a semiconductor metaverse could accelerate chip innovation!”

Update: Oh, you want a link to the interview, too? Fine, fine: Go read.

Everyone is fired.
"Ron Gilbert Says Something"? Is the front page stealing our bits now? Sure. Great. That's fine. Not like they were busy or anything. Not like they have real news to be posting right now or anything. Have your fun.

Also from today's Lucasfilm showcase thingy:

Looks like Indy found the Marley heirlooms! Admittedly it's not much, but the movie is still thirteen months away. At least we know Harrison Ford can still cut that silhouette.

Ron Gilbert has gone on record to say:

Ron Gilbert

Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990.

The quote comes in the context of this being the year 2022 when Ron Gilbert is making a game called Return to Monkey Island, and comparing it to 1990, when Ron Gilbert was also making a game called The Secret of Monkey Island.

But how does Ron Gilbert feel about us reporting on this? To understand this, we must move to an earlier section of his remarks, which originate on Twitter. Revealingly, he says:

Ron Gilbert

You can quote me on this

Not only can we quote Ron Gilbert on this, but we did quote Ron Gilbert on this. Only history will be able to judge whether we should have quoted Ron Gilbert on this, but what history certainly cannot do is claim that we did not have permission to quote Ron Gilbert on this. It's right there in the text, which to be perfectly clear, reads as follows:

Ron Gilbert

You can quote me on this: "Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990."

Now, admittedly it's a little bit ambiguous whether he was only allowing us to quote him on the part about making games being harder in 2022 than in 1990 (i.e. "Making games in 2022 is a lot harder than making games in 1990.") and not the bit about being able to quote him on this, but we've quoted him on both now and it's too late to do anything about it.

Comments: 1 / Source: Twitter

Even Ron's got sense enough to understand that he's not working on the most anticipated of belated and unexpected sequels amongst Lucasfilm fringe properties. That honor belongs of course to the Willow series on Disney Plus. And during some sort of Lucasfilm hootenanny in Anaheim today, the crowd was treated to a release date (November 30th) alongside this trailer:

Good to see Warwick Davis front and center. Does Disney think they have their answer to Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings with this? It seems wacky to think so, but that's the part I like about it.

Things are quiet right now, so imagine my joy when I find that Monkey Island creator Ronster has shared the entire contents of the Return to Monkey Island development diary!

Unfortunately it's about one page long and was left for dead in November 2020. But there are still some interesting insights to glean amongst the waffle about contracts and new starters.

For example, it looks like controlling Elaine was considered at one point, and the good old puzzle dependency charts — as discussed in the excellent Monkey Island 30th anniversary event by the Video Game History Foundation — have made a return.

And like me when I decided to replay the Monkey Island series recently, Ron was surprised at how many objects in the original game don't have custom responses, and generally found it quite painful to play. Which brings me to an article subject I've been considering recently: 'Was The Secret of Monkey Island even good?'.

If you are a Mac and/or Linux user—and why wouldn’t you be?!—you can finally enjoy the glory that is Psychonauts 2. Go through your Humble link, use your existing game key, and kiss your next few weeks goodbye. Psychonauts 2 was named Mojo Game of the Year 2021 for a reason after all. (Also the only new Mojo-related game from what I can remember, remasters aside.)

Bonus news: If you have any interest in becoming a game composer, learn from the best: IGN has a video interview with Peter McConnell and some other guy about how to get into the industry. (All respect to the other guy who I’m not familiar with.)

The hits keep on coming—though this one arrived a bit late at Mojo’s newsdesk: GamesBeat has published an interview with Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman, one that has some meat on its bone. For example:

Mr. Grossman

The Monkey Wrench puzzle from LeChuck’s Revenge is notoriously unsolvable and was not a good design on several levels. Even if you are an English speaker from a location where the tool in question is commonly called a “monkey wrench,” and you realize that that’s what you need, you still have to make an astonishing predictive leap about how your actions will create that tool. Nothing in the game sets any of it up adequately. I use it to this day as my go-to example of what not to do with puzzle design, and it has influenced my thinking ever since. The player has to be able to somehow visualize what to do, and if they do give up and look at a hint, I want their response to be, “Oh, that makes sense, I should have thought of that!” rather than “How on earth was I ever supposed to think of that, you ridiculous, unfair clowns?!”

Conversely, The SCUMM Bar, everybody’s favorite website on the internet, is quasi-consistently being updated, landing-page style, with the latest ReMI factoids. Rumors (from me) suggests there might even be a few nuggets coming in later today.

Relatedly, our Adventurer newsletter already downright broke the GamesBeat news—we can’t be expected to update two sites at the same time after all. (Madness!)

We've come along way from this, now haven't we? Psychonauts 2 is well established to have been a critical darling, but it was no slouch in the sales department either -- at least if we're to believe this article from The Gamer. And we probably can, seeing as they're really just quoting a tweet from art director Lisette Titre-Montgomery, who refers to the sequel as the studio's "best-selling game to date."

Seeing as both the original Psychonauts and Brütal Legend sold over a million units over their lifespans, that would mean that Raz's latest adventure is in the seven figure range less than a year out. Now granted that's how many copies of Zak McKracken Germany sells in a day, but it's still pretty impressive if you ask me.

CNET has published what ostensibly is an interview with Ron “Zo” Gilbert. In-between the writer's tenuous Star Wars comparisons, Ron is allowed to speak a line or two, and… Look, they’re really keeping this Return to Monkey Island thing under wraps, so beggars can’t be choosers. Go read the interview if you’re a completionist.

Some things never change. Particularly fear of change.

Image

A nuclear one at that.

Ron and Dave are making the rounds, and sat down with IGN to talk some more Return to Monkey Island. There aren’t a whole lot of new information, but in case there was any doubt that EMI and TMI were still canon…

Despite being Monkey Island 3 both in terms of Gilbert’s history with his own series as well as chronologically, Gilbert and Grossman both say the decision to canonify the other Monkey Island games rather than ignore or dispose of them was an easy one. “Yes, they are canon,” Grossman said, with Gilbert adding, “Neither Dave nor I felt like we could throw them out. There are a lot of beloved games. We love things like Murray. Throwing them out seemed like a pointless thing to do.”

… consider it undoubted.

Now run and read the whole thing.

Comments: 1 / Source: IGN

You think the previously announced Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space package is the only big boxed Sam & Max themed income-guzzler you're going to be pre-ordering come May 6th? Think again:

Ron "zo" Gilbert took his website, GrumpyGamer down the other week (I'm not going to find out exactly when, what do you take me for, a journalist?) prompting many in the community to speculate that it was due to a vocal minority of disgruntled 'fans' unhappy with what they've seen of Return to Monkey Island so far and not afraid to swear at the developers about it.

It turns out there might be a nugget of truth to those speculations, because the site is now back with an article called When I Made Another Monkey Island, in reference to that other one. He seems keen to make a few things clear.

For example, he'd like you to know that whatever his idea for MI3 was way back when, it was a nothing. There wasn't enough of a vision in the first place for it to become ruined.

The totality of that idea was "Guybrush chases the demon pirate LeChuck to hell and Stan is there." That's it. That's all it was.

There you have it. The plan for Monkey Island 3, in its entirety.

He goes on to give what I think is a spirited defense of the art style they chose for the game in the context of the history of Monkey Island, expresses disappointment with some of the fan response so far, and finishes with a plea to fans to join them in this ride. I don't think I can entirely do it justice in quotes so you'll just have to read it. I will leave you with one tantalising tidbit about the music, though:

The music Michael, Peter, and Clint are doing is equally amazing. It's not AdLib, Sound Blaster, or even Roland MT-32 music. Its stunning, interactive, and recorded live.

I'm giving you permission to get excited about Return to Monkey Island, people. I know you have it in you. Or as Ron puts it:

Return to Monkey Island is an incredible rollercoaster. Get on and have some fun or stomp out of the amusement park because it's not exactly the rollercoaster you wanted.

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