No need to pinch yourselves, Monkey Island fans. The long-hoped-for next installment of the immensely popular franchise is about to become reality, as LucasArts and Telltale Games announced today that a new episodic series called Tales of Monkey Island will be launched next month.
While recent news of the Secret of Monkey Island remake was already welcome, "Monkey Island 5" was what fans have really been clamouring for since the release of 2000's Escape from Monkey Island. Rather than a full-fledged sequel, the new series to be developed by Telltale will follow the familiar monthly-release format of the studio's other episodic adventures. The "season" will consist of five episodes on PC and the Nintendo Wii, but unlike the relatively standalone Sam & Max, Strong Bad and Wallace & Gromit episodes, Tales of Monkey Island promises to be more of a serialized adventure. While still delivering a self-contained experience in each installment, the overall storyline will be a much more cohesive focus throughout the full season. According to the series FAQ, "during a heated battle with his nemesis, the evil pirate LeChuck, Guybrush unwittingly unleashes an insidious pox that rapidly spreads across the Caribbean, turning pirates into zombie-like monsters. The Voodoo Lady sends Guybrush in search of a legendary sea sponge to stem the epidemic, but this seemingly straightforward quest has surprises around every corner."
The PC debut of Tales of Monkey Island will be on July 7th, with the WiiWare release schedule still being finalized. PC adventurers can already pre-order the full season for $34.95 from the official website, and as a pre-order special, customers will get an exclusive DVD slipcover painted by Steve Purcell (the artist responsible for the box covers of Monkey Island 1 and 2 back in the day).
The irony of today's news is not lost on adventure fans, as Telltale was formed five years ago by several LucasArts veterans when the once-dominant company turned its back on the genre. Of course, that made it easy for LucasArts to find suitable talent for its franchise, and the fit should be a natural one for Telltale. We'll know more for sure very shortly, so stay tuned to Adventure Gamers for a first-hand look at Tales of Monkey Island from a pre-E3 demonstration.