The 1-minute teaser, presented under the Lucasfilm Games banner, is highly stylized and simply looks gorgeous.
According to some of the comments on YouTube, this game has been in the works for the past two years. How that was kept a secret in this day and age is pretty impressive.
Today Ron Gilbert posted on his personal website a bit of an explanation around the artistic direction of this new game.
Apparently, in the past month some retro-timers have whined and mewled over the fact that this new game appears, well, modern.
Perspective matters. When we use the term "pixel art," back then it was simply computer art. The fact artists were using tools that drew in blocky chunks was bleeding edge at the time. The moment anti-aliasing became technically possible (without drawing it painstakingly by hand), artists jumped on that. And then the slow progression of 3D and lighting, and then higher resolutions, and so on.I have made one pixel art game in my entire career and that was Thimbleweed Park. Monkey Island 1 and 2 weren't pixel art games. They were games using state-of-the-art tech and art. Monkey Island 1 was 16 color EGA and we jumped at the chance to upgrade it to 256 colors. Monkey Island 2 featured the magical wizardry of scanned art by Peter Chan and Steve Purcell and we lusted to keep pushing everything forward.
Thimbleweed Park was absolutely a nostalgia trip. Return to Monkey Island looks to be a fully fledged 2022 modern continuation of the Monkey Island story. And if Gilbert and team have made something sparkly and new with as many modern tools as possible, then it truly is the biggest compliment to the legacy of Monkey Island. That's what they've always tried to do.When Dave and I first started brainstorming Return to Monkey Island we talked about pixel art, but it didn't feel right. We didn't want to make a retro game. You can't read an article about Thimbleweed Park without it being called a "throwback game". I didn't want Return to Monkey Island to be just a throwback 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.
I think Hacker News user 'darkwater' put it perfectly:
As much as I loved those [original] games, as much as I stopped playing modern videogames [sic] and as much as I love the style of Thimbleweed Park, going forward for an artist like Ron is what _defines_ an artist. If you like MI1 and Mi2, just play MI1 and MI2 again as I do from time to time. Just like you would watch again a movie from the '70s or listen to the Beatles. But you cannot ask an artist to stay always the same because you loved their first works.