Sea of Thieves Screenshot

Monkey Island Comes to the Sea of Thieves – The Exclusive Interview

Pirate Legends, prepare to meet the Mighty Pirate, when the world of Monkey Island comes to Sea of Thieves, in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games,as a three-part Tall Tale expansion.

Announced in today’s Xbox Games Showcase, The Legend of Monkey Island will be released in monthly instalments, starting July 20, telling a brand-new tale featuring characters (and voice actors) from the Monkey Island series. Your adventures will have you meet Guybrush Threepwood, his beloved Elaine, the dreaded ghost captain LeChuck, Murray the Demonic Talking Skull and more iconic characters. You’ll get to visit freely explorable versions of both Mêlée Island and Monkey Island, solving puzzles in a point-and-click style adapted for Sea of Thieves first-person view – and it’ll all take place in the Sea of the Damned, so you’ll have no interruptions from other players as you relive the iconic series in a brand-new way.

Built in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games, the three Tall Tales making up The Legend of Monkey Island (all of which will arrive for free) will bring swashbuckling Sea of Thieves adventures, presenting an authentic story with a single hypothetical question at its heart – what if Guybrush and co. arrived on the Sea of Thieves?

Sea of Thieves Screenshot

While today’s trailer teased some of what’s to come, I was able to chat with Sea of Thieves Creative Director Mike Chapman for an all-encompassing discussion about what we saw in today’s trailer and more – here’s our exclusive interview:

First thing’s first – there was a big Monkey Island Easter Egg in A Pirate’s Life, your last crossover with Pirates of the Caribbean. Were you already planning this expansion back then?

The idea of what could a potential story be if Guybrush and Elaine found their way into the Sea of Thieves, that was something we thought about during the development of A Pirate’s Life.

It felt like that was a really interesting idea to get players guessing: “Would they actually go tell a Monkey Island story?” So that did inspire the side quest that takes place in A Pirate’s Life – let’s explore a little sliver of what point-and-click gameplay could feel like in Sea of Thieves. You use some items, there’s some nested solutions that you need to discover. We were definitely inspired by what a Monkey Island experience could look like in Sea of Thieves.

The idea of what could a potential story be if Guybrush and Elaine found their way into the Sea of Thieves, that was something we thought about during the development of A Pirate’s Life.

So, after Pirates of the Caribbean, I think the next franchise that felt like, ‘This is the next dream come true. This is the next one where it feels like it was always meant to be.’ was Monkey Island.

Tell us more about that – why did that collaboration feel so irresistible?

Probably one of the most exciting aspects of this is the opportunity to tell an original story in a world that we are such fans of. There have been so many times during the development on Sea of Thieves where we’ve been inspired by the Monkey Island humour, the tone, and the sense of whimsy in Sea of Thieves.

But there’s also the extra magic quality of being able to take a game experience that’s traditionally enjoyed as a point-and-click adventure, and bring it into the Sea of Thieves world, where it’s fully immersive. You get to really feel like you inhabit those spaces, look all of those characters in the eye, and go on this new adventure that allows you to see the Sea of Thieves world, from a new perspective alongside Guybrush and other beloved Monkey Island characters. This is a story told over three Tales, and we wanted to do the Monkey Island gameplay justice by including our take on in-depth dialogue with the characters, and really encouraging players to navigate the world’s environments with its iconic puzzle gameplay, really capturing that essence in each Tall Tale.

Sea of Thieves Screenshot

It’s another one of those incredible moments that Sea of Thieves has led us to, where we get to go play in a world that we all love so dearly. I can’t believe, all these years later, from playing Monkey Island growing up, that we got to pitch an original Monkey Island story and have it take place in the Sea of Thieves. It’s a dream come true.

And that title – The Legend of Monkey Island – is riffing on the main series’ titles. Can you talk more about where it falls in the timeline?

The double meaning of the ‘legend’ in The Legend of Monkey Island, refers to Guybrush’s “past stories”, and the adventure you will go on in this new Tall Tale in Sea of Thieves.

One of the things we thought was absolutely key was that we tap into were the themes and core DNA of what makes Monkey Island… Monkey Island’, and what makes Sea of Thieves…‘Sea of Thieves’ – weaving them together at a deep thematic level beyond just the pirate thing. We wanted to pull from the most beloved elements of the franchises while also trying to pick a time period where an untold story could be unveiled.

The double meaning of the ‘legend’ in The Legend of Monkey Island, refers to Guybrush’s “past stories”, and the adventure you will go on in this new Tall Tale in Sea of Thieves.

The story takes place when Guybrush gets to marry the love of his life, Elaine. At the end of the third game, The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush sails off to the horizon on a galleon with “Just Married” on the back, and they go off to presumably have their honeymoon. It’s a really interesting entry point for our story – what if Guybrush and Elaine had their honeymoon in the Sea of Thieves? What if they had been invited to the Sea of Thieves to have this ultimate pirate honeymoon? And that’s where our story picks up.

A key element here must have been location. In A Pirate’s Life, you gave players an explorable version of the original Pirates of the Caribbean Disney attraction. But by transforming Mêlée Island and Monkey Island into Sea of Thieves locations, with a familiar look and first-person perspective, it feels like you’re taking that even further.

You’ve hit the nail on the head there. Going into The Legend of Monkey Island, it felt like the entire experience is really pulling on that feeling, art style and overall aesthetic, especially because of how iconic the Scumm Bar, the Clocktower, the monkey head on Monkey Island, and other locations are.

So those classic locations are fully explorable?

They are. In The Legend of Monkey Island, the gameplay is about being in those spaces and feeling like you can explore at your own pace. You can speak to the characters, and start to understand what the puzzles are going to be as they slowly unfold in front of your eyes. So, the core feeling of this, and what it feels like to interact with characters, feels very unique compared to what we’ve done before.

Sea of Thieves Screenshot

We really wanted these Tales to celebrate the locations, not just use them as backdrops – you really feel like you’ve spent time there and interacted with not only the bits that you remember from the classic canon games, but also see new areas that you may have imagined when you played the games for the first time.

In the grand scheme of gaming, Monkey Island is a classic series, and Sea of Thieves is a very current game. Did you think about how this crossover might introduce new players to Monkey Island for the first time?

That’s probably one of the first things we considered when the idea of doing something with Monkey Island was conceived. The Monkey Island franchise feels like it’s gaming royalty – if you haven’t played it, it feels like it should be on your playlist. It’s like famous movies, you know? It feels like you are missing out if you haven’t seen them. The opportunity to give players the first window into that world if they haven’t played it before is something we took very seriously.

Sea of Thieves Screenshot

If players in Sea of Thieves experience the Monkey Island world for the first time, I would like nothing more than for those players to go check out that incredible series, including the latest entry in the franchise Return to Monkey Island. With the work that we’re doing on Legend of Monkey Island, I think it’s absolutely critical that when fans go and play the other Monkey Island games in the franchise they get the feeling that what they’ve experienced in Sea of Thieves feels authentic – from the tone of what the characters say, to the sense of place in the world, to even the way it feels to explore those locations – we need to live up to that standard. We want fans to believe what we’ve done feels like a part of one connected experience.

Stay tuned to Xbox Wire for more on The Legend of Monkey Island – we have even more to tell you about the locations, mechanics, and story!

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Sea of Thieves Deluxe Edition

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Celebrate five years of Sea of Thieves with this special edition, which includes a copy of the game with all permanent content added since launch, plus a wide-ranging assortment of extra cosmetics and collector’s items. In addition to the 2023 Edition bonus content – Hunter Cutlass, Hunter Pistol, Hunter Compass, Hunter Hat, Hunter Jacket, Hunter Sails and 10,000 gold – this edition of the game comes with a further Deluxe Bundle containing the Black Phoenix Figurehead, Black Phoenix Sails, Crab Dab Emote, Deck Hide Emote and 550 Ancient Coins for use in the Pirate Emporium.
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Sea of Thieves 2023 Edition

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2023 Edition Out Now Celebrate five years since Sea of Thieves' launch with this special edition of the game, which includes a copy of Sea of Thieves itself with all permanent content added since launch, plus a 10,000 gold bonus and a selection of Hunter cosmetics. The Hunter Cutlass, Pistol, Compass, Hat, Jacket and Sails will ensure you cut a formidable figure as you set sail for adventure! About the Game Sea of Thieves offers the essential pirate experience, from sailing and fighting to exploring and looting – everything you need to live the pirate life and become a legend in your own right. With no set roles, you have complete freedom to approach the world, and other players, however you choose. Whether you’re voyaging as a group or sailing solo, you’re bound to encounter other crews in this shared world adventure – but will they be friends or foes, and how will you respond? A Vast Open World Explore a vast open world filled with unspoiled islands and underwater kingdoms. Take on quests to hunt for lost loot, forge a reputation with the Trading Companies and battle foes from Phantoms and Ocean Crawlers to Megalodons and the mighty Kraken. Try your hand at fishing, make maps to your own buried treasure or choose from hundreds of other optional goals and side-quests! Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life Play the Tall Tales to experience Sea of Thieves’ unique narrative-driven campaigns, and join forces with Captain Jack Sparrow in Sea of Thieves: A Pirate’s Life, an acclaimed original story that brings Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean sailing into Sea of Thieves. These immersive and cinematic quests provide around 30 hours of the ultimate pirate adventure. A Game That’s Always Growing With each Season bringing in new game features every three months alongside regular in-game Events and new narrative Adventures, Sea of Thieves is a service-based game that’s still growing and evolving. Check back regularly to see what free content has been newly added, and see how far you can climb through each Season’s 100 levels of Renown to earn special rewards. Become Legend On your journey to become a Pirate Legend you’ll amass loot, build a reputation and define a unique personal style with your hard-earned rewards. Adventurer. Explorer. Conqueror. What will your legend be?