John McCarroll
E3: Telltale's New Monkey Island
It's five games, one Guybrush Threepwood.
06.04.09 - 4:58 PM

Telltale Games, a studio made up of several ex-LucasArts employees with games like Sam and Max and Strong Bad: CGFAP on their resume, is bringing back the classic Monkey Island franchise with Tales of Monkey Island, a five-part episodic release for the Nintendo Wii and PC platforms.

The first episode of Tales of Monkey Island begins with main character Guybrush Threepwood finishing up an unplayed adventure that's taken place sometime between the previous game and now. Guybrush was attempting to put together a sword to end the life of the undead pirate LeChuck, but ultimately ends up making a mess of the sword. After jury-rigging the sword and attacking LeChuck, instead of killing him, Threepwood turns LeChuck back into a human and releases the evil held inside his undead form into the world - as well as into his hand.

Most of the first episode takes place on Flotsam Island, which has only one boat on it, made from debris that has washed up on the shore. It has become tradition on the island for there to be only one leader of the boat, and for that leader to be dethroned by being tossed off the boat. Whomever successfully does that becomes the new captain, but they have to get through all of the traps left by the previous captain, which play out in the form of puzzles. All of the stories in the five chapters of the game will be their own fully-fledged game, but will link together like the chapters of a book, ultimately culminating at the end of the fifth chapter.

It was important for Telltale to keep the Monkey Island mojo alive, and the team behind the game is a big portion of that. Aside from many members of the Telltale team working on previous games in the series, Telltale has also had brainstorming sessions with Ron Gilbert, who now works at Hothead Studios and was one of the original developers of the Monkey Island franchise at LucasArts. As well, Dominic Armato reprises his role of Guybrush Threepwood and Alexandra Boyd (voice of Elaine in Curse of Monkey Island) will return as Mrs. Marley-Threepwood. There will be a new voice for both the Voodoo Lady and LeChuck, but LeChuck's new human form explains the change in voice.

We were chagrined to hear that the team at Telltale will not have insult swordfighting in the game, but for good reason. Telltale wanted to add to the concept of insult swordfighting, but found no way to improve on the concept. As such, there are plenty of references to insult swordfighting, as well as lots of other references to other games in the series.

Episode 1 of Tales of Monkey Island is slated for release on July 7, and the entire series is available to preorder for PC at the price of $34.99. Those who order the game will receive a game DVD with the entire series once it has been completed. As well, those who preorder from Telltale's Official Website will recieve a special game sleeve with art from Steve Purcell of Sam and Max fame and access to a special pre-order forum with posts from Telltale staff. Keep your eyes peeled to RPGFan for more news on Tales of Monkey Island.