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Return to Monkey Island "continues" or "concludes" series?


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Anyone notice that the official website for Return to Monkey Island and the Steam pre-order page no longer say that the game "concludes" or is the "conclusion" to the entire series?

 

Just before July, the website still touted the upcoming game as wrapping up the saga. And now both the website and Steam simply say it "continues" the series. Is this because Ron and Dave want to downplay the significance of this being their planned finale for Monkey Island? Are more chapters already in the works based off the positive development of this one? ¬ ¬

 

Apologies if this has been asked and debated already, I am very lazy and could only manage typing this up before a nap.

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12 minutes ago, Captain Mystery said:

Anyone notice that the official website for Return to Monkey Island and the Steam pre-order page no longer say that the game "concludes" or is the "conclusion" to the entire series?

 

Yes, I've noticed it, the changes (in all their websites) happened around the same time they revealed the release date at Gamescom.

 

My guess is that they used the term "concludes" from a narrative point of view, meaning that the game might show the last phase of the saga, with Guybrush recalling past events.

 

I think they changed that word either because it could easily be mistaken for information about the production of possible future games or because it was too spoilerish.

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We've debated that it uses the word "conclude", but we didn't debate that they've changed it.

 

Back then I said that a successful series will never be concluded, but marketing is of course hell bent on telling people that the narrative will give you closure.

 

It's interesting that they changed it, because it raised exactly the right, diffuse idea in the customers' heads: That this would be the final last crowning finishing ultimate Monkey Island game and if they're not on board, they will have eaten fries and slaw yet not the fried chicken. 🍖

 

It doesn't mean that part seven is in the works, it doesn't mean that they got a gazillion pre-orders and will definitely continue. But it's nice to think that was the case.

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Let's just hope this is still a Monkey Island game, when it releases... 👀

 

Joke aside, I would like to see it "answer" some questions (especially regarding the MI2 ending) and ask a lot of new questions - no matter if there are more games or not.
I for one am now pretty relaxed with sequels to the point that a sequel can't ruin anything for me anymore. If it's good and an enrichment for the series, great! If not, the other games (or whatever) still remain to enjoy and discuss. 🙂

Whatever the ending in ReMI is... there's always a way to continue a story if you want to. 

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What I'd like is a game that would work really well as the last one ever released, even if it isn't.

 

MI1: yes

MI2: yes if like me you're fond (largely due to MI2 existing for most of my teens without a sequel of mysterious, freakout endings) no if you like things explained/resolved

CMI: Yeah, it works

EMI: Sure

Tales: I think... no? The Voodoo Lady stuff is too intriguing to leave hanging, but if they decided to ignore it for ReMI I guess it doesn't matter any more (if they pull one thread from Tales, I hope it's this)

 

None of these games were called the conclusion, but most of them work as one.

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

What I'd like is a game that would work really well as the last one ever released, even if it isn't.

 

MI1: yes

MI2: yes if like me you're fond (largely due to MI2 existing for most of my teens without a sequel of mysterious, freakout endings) no if you like things explained/resolved

CMI: Yeah, it works

EMI: Sure

Tales: I think... no? The Voodoo Lady stuff is too intriguing to leave hanging, but if they decided to ignore it for ReMI I guess it doesn't matter any more (if they pull one thread from Tales, I hope it's this)

 

None of these games were called the conclusion, but most of them work as one.

 

 

 


Funny enough, I disagree on your last two. After Escape, I was disappointed that the series ended with my least favorite game, the last puzzle being a Monkey Kombat response that worked for reasons I didn't fully understand, and the final moment being Guybrush calling for Jar Jar.

 

With Tales, yes the conversation between Voodoo Lady and Morgan come as a sequel hook, but it was easy for me to interpret it as normal stuff that was going to keep happening in the universe. Like the tvtropes article "And the Adventure Continues". As far as pre-credits is concerned, the Tales ending reflected the conversation between Guybrush and Elaine at the end of Secret... so it felt full circle in my mind.

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2 minutes ago, BaronGrackle said:


Funny enough, I disagree on your last two. After Escape, I was disappointed that the series ended with my least favorite game, the last puzzle being a Monkey Kombat response that worked for reasons I didn't fully understand, and the final moment being Guybrush calling for Jar Jar.

 

With Tales, yes the conversation between Voodoo Lady and Morgan come as a sequel hook, but it was easy for me to interpret it as normal stuff that was going to keep happening in the universe. Like the tvtropes article "And the Adventure Continues". As far as pre-credits is concerned, the Tales ending reflected the conversation between Guybrush and Elaine at the end of Secret... so it felt full circle in my mind.

 

Oh sure, you can be happy or unhappy with the ending - I think EMI is not a good conclusion to the series narratively, but it IS fairly conclusive. LeChuck is defeated, Elaine's thread is resolved, status quo is restored and all is well. There's not any sort of compelling sequel hook there that I recall, even CMI had a little bit of one with the post-credits and Murray. So I would say EMI was the most conclusive game since MI1.

 

Tales I say is inconclusive because of that sequel hook, I feel like they wanted to line up some ideas for a potential Season 2 that never materialised. It feels to me much less like that trope you mentioned, and more like very specific story things being set up to be picked up on later.

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6 minutes ago, BaronGrackle said:

With that perspective, I daresay that RMI had better not ignore the Voodoo Lady as a manipulator, or else that thread will hang forever and never be resolved.

 

While I don't know what they'll do with it, that is something they introduced in MI2. Odds that it might be touched on seem decent.

 

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I also share the opinion that they wanted to make it clear that this isn't necessarily, definitely the final one. As soon as the site was updated, certain websites wrote articles with headlines like "Return is the Final Monkey Island" despite the fact that Ron said pretty early on in interviews that he wouldn't say no to making another if they had the right story. If anything, he just made it clear that, at the very least, he needs to take a break from the material and let his brain rest before considering diving back into the same series.

 

I'm expecting this game will be a conclusion to the story arc established in the first game, but will still leave things where another one could easily come after it. I think almost everyone here got that same impression. I think there will also be a lot of surprises in terms of what is referenced from the other games. I think those type of plot points would be strictly off the table with marketing; they don't even want to hint at it. I'm actually a little surprised that nothing of the Voodoo Lady has been shown outside of one clip of her in the first trailer. If she isn't featured in the final Monkey Island Monday, it would make me think something big will be going on with her in this game.

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44 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

Tales I say is inconclusive because of that sequel hook, I feel like they wanted to line up some ideas for a potential Season 2 that never materialised. It feels to me much less like that trope you mentioned, and more like very specific story things being set up to be picked up on later.


Not that my take matters on someone else’s read of the text of the game - your own read is your own read, which is part of the fun and the point of fiction imo - but the end of Tales was not lining up any specific plan. It was, in my eyes at least, far closer to “the adventure continues,” where the basic cycle of the status quo was allowed to roll on and on, even as the arcs of the characters reached something close to a resolution. I find it a little too much of a cliffhanger at this point, because of how much is hung on the Voodoo Lady in particular, but at the time didn’t see it as much more than Chuckie’s eyes flashing, or LeChuck being buried beneath the ice of the monkey coaster. 
 

(To clarify a tiny bit: the voodoo lady being a third party with separate ends, who is willing to push guybrush and lechuck around for whatever those ends are, is something I was very proud of surfacing in Tales, and liked how well it ties into the sudden turn to LeChuck‘s fortress at the end of 2. I think the cliffhanger is a little too specific, and that probably came from us being so inside the world of our own game at the time we were ending it. I don’t mind it, and I love the idea of that voodoo lady storyline, but I think it could have been rolled a tiny bit farther back into ambiguity than it is!)

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Honestly, I always viewed the Voodoo Lady's actions and words in Tales as more of a conclusion for her character than any of the previous games. Simply not knowing anything about her after an entire series would've made her character feel a bit empty, which I felt about the character in Curse and Escape. Finally learning a bit more of her past with De Cava and knowing that she's not simply giving Guybrush advice, but does have a goal of her own, adds a lot of layers to her character and made past actions actually make more sense.

 

Yes, one could make the argument that not knowing the specifics of that agenda could be seen as a sequel hook, but I always thought the game's writing did a good enough job to leave you with just enough clues to come up with your own conclusion. As Jake said, it's nice to have a plot point like that where everyone has a unique perspective on it. She's neither good nor evil, but is working to keep things a certain way. It's a nice culmination of her character and, again, I saw it as a nice conclusion for her character is many ways.   

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Just now, Jake said:


Not that my take matters on someone else’s read of the text of the game - your own read is your own read, which is part of the fun and the point of fiction imo - but the end of Tales was not lining up any specific plan. It was, in my eyes at least, far closer to “the adventure continues,” where the basic cycle of the status quo was allowed to roll on and on, even as the arcs of the characters reached something close to a resolution. I find it a little too much of a cliffhanger at this point, because of how much is hung on the Voodoo Lady in particular, but at the time didn’t see it as much more than Chuckie’s eyes flashing, or LeChuck being buried beneath the ice of the monkey coaster. 

 

I believe you! I am just going with how I personally felt about it. I always thought LeChuck's eye flash was more than anything a gag. Just a little 'or... IS IT?' just to mess with the player a little more than they've already been messed with. The stuff in tales felt so specific to me - first of all with the voodoo lady talking about the larger plan she was a part of, but then especially the transaction between her and Morgan.

 

You know how the scene at the end of Back to the Future was never really supposed to be set up for a sequel, but just a fun way to end the film?  But so many people who watch the series now assume that it was always planned as a trilogy because of that ending directly leading into it, and people are surprised to find out that the ending was really just nothing, a joke...? That's kind of how this situation feels to me, if there had been a Tales Season 2 I think it absolutely would have had to address those plot points or people would have said 'what the hell?' But I always read Chuckie's eyes as a little 'gotcha' gag, and would have accepted a sequel interpretation that totally ignores it, or goes with it (as CMI seems to). The fun thing is, because ReMI picks up there, we may soon very well get to see how literal that moment is.

 

I guess the danger of leaving little teasing, dangling threads in your ending always carries the risk that later you'll be expected to resolve them no matter how tongue in cheek they were meant :)

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14 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

I guess the danger of leaving little teasing, dangling threads in your ending always carries the risk that later you'll be expected to resolve them no matter how tongue in cheek they were meant :)

This is almost definitely true!

 

(And, to be fair and clear, I’m sure that if a Tales season two was made it would have used or referenced that epilogue moment in some way. But I doubt it would have been a direct continuation from that scene.)

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How I felt about Chuckie's flashing eyes, the first time I finished MI2, is exactly how Ron Gilbert has described the ending: "a huge cliffhanger". (Source)

 

I'm aware that many players didn't perceive it as such, but I've always considered it not just "a" cliffhanger, but a very big one.

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While a cliffhanger, the thing that makes MI2's ending a bit different to other kinds of cliffhangers is that it refuses to explain itself. It just does something confusing, then messes with that setup in ways which are, in themselves, confusing. It -could- be a set up for a sequel, but it's not like you're given ANY idea how. They could, and did, take things in pretty much ANY direction from there.

 

As soon as they decided to make a sequel to BTTF they had to address the fact that Marty, Jennifer and Doc had gone into the future to do something about their kids, which is more of how I think about cliffhangers - a specific situation is set up, that we understand needs a resolution. We're not in any way confused about where the next film is going. (Yes, I know this was supposed to be a 'the adventure continues' moment but the existence of the sequel turns it into a straight up cliffhanger)

 

With MI2, we can't even agree on what happened. Was it all just Guybrush's imagination? Is this some kind of dream? A Voodoo spell? At what point did that take over, if so? Are they really brothers?

 

To me, that fits with another category of cliffhanger, which is - an ending that leaves you with lots of questions, but invites a lot of interpretations which could in themselves be conclusive. So, I think they CAN be satisfying as conclusions. And if MI2 had been the last MI game I think I would have been okay with it. I'd have had my interpretation, I would have liked to speculate about other ones, but I think I could make peace with MI2's ending, as it is. It's 2001: A Space Odyssey territory, in a way: you aren't exactly sure what just happened, but it sure does stick in the head.

 

CMI's ending credits thing is so vague it can be dismissed. It's just a vague 'lechuck is defeated... OR IS HE?' thing which is well worn.

 

EMI wraps stuff up even if I don't care for how it does it.

 

Tales... I dunno, for me tales is still the one that to me most overtly throws a sequel bone. But I see why people feel more that way about 2.

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32 minutes ago, KestrelPi said:

With MI2, we can't even agree on what happened. Was it all just Guybrush's imagination? Is this some kind of dream? A Voodoo spell? At what point did that take over, if so? Are they really brothers?


MI2 does have the mid-credits scene of Elaine wondering what had happened to Guybrush, hoping that LeChuck hadn't put a terrible curse on him.

 

I remember in the late 90s, people who didn't want to interpret that ending as a curse chose to believe that LeChuck's glowing eyes and Elaine's comments were added against Ron Gilbert's will.

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23 minutes ago, BaronGrackle said:

I remember in the late 90s, people who didn't want to interpret that ending as a curse chose to believe that LeChuck's glowing eyes and Elaine's comments were added against Ron Gilbert's will.

 

Curious about where you saw/heard that. Can't recall seeing that at TSB/Mojo forums back then.

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1 hour ago, Remi said:

 

Curious about where you saw/heard that. Can't recall seeing that at TSB/Mojo forums back then.


It was probably early 2000s. I wasn't on Monkey Island forums, but I did read articles from the webrings. And I probably got the idea from an article like this: https://scummbar.com/resources/articles/index.php?newssniffer=readarticle&article=2

 

...with the eyes dismissed in a Bill Tiller quote:

Well this is all I know, and I learned it from Larry Ahern and Dave Grossman. [..] The explanation I heard is that Guybrush was lost in the Pirates Ride at Big Whoop Amusement Park the whole time, imagining the whole adventure. Then Chucky, his mean older brother goes and pulls him back to reality. The end.

And that magical lightning coming out of Chucky's eyes and Elaine waiting by the hole on Dinky Island (which sounds a lot like Disney Land) was put there just in case there was to be a Monkey Island 3. The secret is that the MI world is not real.


 

So let me backtrack... maybe I didn't read that those things were put in against Ron's will. I read that they were thrown in as a just-in-case room for a sequel, but they were unrelated to the ending's true meaning. Put that on Bill Tiller! :)

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19 minutes ago, BaronGrackle said:


It was probably early 2000s. I wasn't on Monkey Island forums, but I did read articles from the webrings. And I probably got the idea from an article like this: https://scummbar.com/resources/articles/index.php?newssniffer=readarticle&article=2

 

...with the eyes dismissed in a Bill Tiller quote:

 

 


 

So let me backtrack... maybe I didn't read that those things were put in against Ron's will. I read that they were thrown in as a just-in-case room for a sequel, but they were unrelated to the ending's true meaning. Put that on Bill Tiller! :)

 

Ah yeah, that old article might look very outdated two weeks from now, but I think it held its own at the time. We'll see soon enough!

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