After yet another year-long hiatus, LucasArts released their fourth title starring Guybrush and co., in 2000’s Escape From Monkey Island.
Taking place some time after the events of Curse, the plot revolves around newlyweds Guybrush and Elaine returning to Melee Island from their honeymoon, only to find it in total disarray with Elaine mistakingly declared dead and her position as governor up for election. And to make matters worse, LeChuck has returned from the grave once again, plotting to turn the entirety of the Caribbean into a tourist trap with the assistance of his new sidekick, Ozzie Mandrill, leaving it up to Guybrush to find a way to restore Elaine to her position and save the Caribbean. There isn’t that much info on the development of the game, but there’s some interesting stuff from the some that’s available. Larry Ahern and Jonathan Ackley did not return as directors/designers, their position being given to Sean Clark and Michael Stemmle. A slightly modified version of the GrimE engine was made for this game, marking the first time that an installment in the series did not use the SCUMM engine. Aside from that, however, there isn’t anything that can really be considered interesting. When the game was released, it was met with a rather favorable reception. Reviewers still praised the jokes and characters, but a general consensus said that the design and interface weren’t as good as the first three games. While it isn’t the most recognized of the MI saga, the game still has an incredibly important role in LucasArts’ history in that it was the end of an era.
After the release of EFMI, LucasArts would not develop another original point and click adventure game for the remaining years of their existence. While they did state plans to make a comeback to the genre (they even re-released the first two Monkey Island games in HD), they sadly never came to be. In 2013, following the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company, it was revealed that the studio would be brought down to a licensing unit, effectively putting an end to one of the most unexpectedly tragic chapters in the ongoing saga of gaming. However, this isn’t a completely unhappy ending. A vast amount of its’ employees have went on to start up development studios/projects of their own, the most prominent examples being Tim Schafer’s Double Fine, Telltale Games, and Ron Gilbert’s Thimbleweed Park, who are all helping to bring the point and click adventure genre back in style. The bottom line is, while LucasArts as we know them are gone for good, their legacy and impact on the industry continues to thrive.
What is your favorite LucasArts adventure game? Be sure to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, and thanks for reading!