Over a decade since the last adventure with Guybrush Threepwood, Lucasfilm Games is finally bringing the buccaneer back to the world of gaming. "Return to Monkey Island" is an upcoming graphic adventure game developed by Ron Gilbert's Terrible Toybox and published by Devolver Digital. Details are scarce as to the game's plot, but new revelations about the gameplay have surfaced.

The LucasArts design philosophy

For the uninitiated, "Monkey Island" is a Lucasfilm Games franchise created by Ron Gilbert shortly after the release of his previous title, "Maniac Mansion." Gilbert was frustrated with the state of graphic adventure games during this time and attempted to address most of his gripes with this title.

One of his complaints was that too many of them took place in a Tolkien-esque fantasy setting while adventure films utilized a wide variety of genres and locations. Inspired by the book "On Stranger Tides" and the films of Errol Flynn, Gilbert decided to make a pirate game.

As with another Lucasfilm title, "Loom," players could not die or reach an unwinnable state in "The Secret of Monkey Island." This came from the frustration that Gilbert and his co-workers had from playing competing games that would constantly kill the player for the most trivial of reasons such as crossing the street in the first "Leisure Suit Larry" or trying to pick up a piece of broken glass in "Space Quest II." This ethos would later be known as "The LucasArts Design Philosophy."

Lite or mega monkey

Many of the former developers from Lucasfilm such as Dave Grossman have stated that their original approach was to try to stump players, but in recent years have found it to be more satisfying to make them feel smart.

This attitude would fuel the early games from Grossman and co at Telltale Games such as "Sam & Max." Prior "Monkey Island" titles addressed difficulty in much different ways.

"Lechuck's Revenge" offered less-seasoned players a "Monkey Lite" mode that would skip most of the puzzles and just focus on the story. "Curse of Monkey Island" offered novice players a suitably big adventure, and a much harder one for veterans.

"Tales From Monkey Island" eschewed multiple difficulties for a hint system where Guybrush would voice suggestions if the player just wandered aimlessly.

"Return to Monkey Island" will incorporate both a hint system and a casual mode for player so inclined. Gilbert attributes this decision to a change in the gaming climate and a desire to accommodate players while keeping them immersed in the world. Both Gilbert and Grossman aim to make a title on par with more modern offerings rather than a simple throwback. The game is slated for a release sometime this year.