Ron Gilbert on Return to Monkey Island’s Art Style – “We Didn’t Want to Make a Retro Game”

Monkey Island series creator Ron Gilbert explains the choice to go with a modern art style instead of a pixel art aesthetic.

Posted By | On 05th, May. 2022

return to monkey island

Fans of Monkey Island rejoiced last month when it was announced that Return to Monkey Island was in development, especially so since it’s being made under the helm of series creator Ron Gilbert. While the game’s announcement can be seen as a net positive when it comes to reception, some fans seem to be put off by its modern art style.

Gilbert explained this choice in a recent post on his Grumpy Gamer Blog, saying that he didn’t want to create a retro game, since Monkey Island as a series has always moved forward. He explained how Monkey Island 1 and 2 also weren’t pixel art games and were built using state-of-the-art technology.

Monkey Island 1 and 2 weren’t pixel art games,” Gilbert wrote. “They were games using state-of-the-art tech and art… If I had stayed and done Monkey Island 3, it wouldn’t have looked like Monkey Island 2.”

That said, Gilbert did discuss pixel art with art director Rex Crowle, but apparently, it didn’t feel right. He wanted the art style to be provocative and surprising in nature, saying that it might not be the art style that fans expected, but it’s one that he wanted for the game. 

“It didn’t feel right,” he wrote. We didn’t want to make a retro game… I wanted to keep moving Monkey Island forward because it’s interesting, fun, and exciting. It’s what the Monkey Island games have always done. I wanted the art in Return to Monkey Island to be provocative, shocking, and not what everyone was expecting.”

Return to Monkey Island may not be the art style you wanted or were expecting but it’s the art style I wanted,” he added.

Return to Monkey Island will be releasing sometime this year for unconfirmed platforms. Recently, Gilbert also talked about how the team is very careful about the series’ canon with the upcoming sequel’s story- read more on that through here.


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