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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday May 16, @11:09AM   Printer-friendly
from the stop-monkeying-around dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow0245

The Monkey Island is probably one of the most important landmarks in gaming history. For the millions who played it, it not only confirmed that games could become an artform, but also that they could be deeply, outrageously funny.

Over the course of five games, the Monkey Island series tells the tale of the endearingly hapless Guybrush Threepwood, and his quest to become the most feared pirate in the Caribbean.

[...] Monkey Island was just one of many iconic adventure games that came out of LucasArts. Its stablemates include the beloved Sam and Max series, Grim Fandango, and Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle

When Disney acquired LucasArts parent LucasFilm in 2012, it signified the end of an era. Disney's never really been that interested in games, and in 2016 the company announced that it would cease in-house production entirely, and transition to an IP licensing model, leaving the future of the Monkey Island series in doubt.

In 2016, Monkey Island co-founder Ron Gilbert asked Disney on Twitter for the chance to buy the Monkey Island and "Mansion Mansion [sic]" IPs, adding he'll "pay real actual money for them."

So far, Disney has remained tight-lipped, but fans have launched a petition begging the company to agree to Gilbert's request.

Although the petition is over a year old, it's picked up momentum in recent months, and in total has attracted over 12,000 signatures in total. This puts it within a hair's width of its 15,000 signature goal.

Source: https://thenextweb.com/gaming/2018/05/15/monkey-island-fans-are-begging-disney-to-sell-the-rights-back-to-its-creator/


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  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Wednesday May 16, @11:20AM

    by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 16, @11:20AM (#680349) Homepage Journal

    Disney may want to make yet another terrible video game movie.

    Now the movie might be good if Guybrush is portrayed as I play him: seek out every opportunity for my death and see how Lucas Arts weasels Guybrush out.

  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday May 16, @12:10PM (7 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday May 16, @12:10PM (#680358) Journal

    Another sad anecdote about the insanity of copyright that authors can somehow lose the rights to their own works.

    It might be easier to stomach the mess if the possibility of growth was at least preserved in the various transfers, but apparently in this case, no. This state of frozen animation means no value can be added.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Wootery on Wednesday May 16, @12:15PM (5 children)

      by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday May 16, @12:15PM (#680361)

      Another sad anecdote about the insanity of copyright that authors can somehow lose the rights to their own works.

      What? That's how they make their living. If that weren't possible, the work would never have been funded in the first place, and would never have happened.

      There's plenty wrong with modern copyright law, like the ridiculous duration and overzealous silliness like the DMCA, but the basic premise of empowering you to sell your intellectual work, isn't the problem.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday May 16, @12:25PM (4 children)

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 16, @12:25PM (#680365)

        False dichotomy, the one in "my money, my way or the highway."
        Here's [wikipedia.org] how you can have a more balanced solution.

        • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Wednesday May 16, @04:05PM (3 children)

          by Wootery (2341) on Wednesday May 16, @04:05PM (#680426)

          Pretty sure the 'moral rights' concept wouldn't have entitled the author to make a derivative work if they'd already sold the copyrights.

          (For what it's worth, I'm British.)

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 17, @12:22AM (2 children)

            by c0lo (156) on Thursday May 17, @12:22AM (#680569)

            Pretty sure the 'moral rights' concept wouldn't have entitled the author to make a derivative work if they'd already sold the copyrights.

            Copyright restricts distribution, not creation.
            Also, it depends on the type of the art - I don't see how copyright can stop a painter to paint the the same landscape or the portrait of the same person after he sold one with the same subject.

            In literature and movies there are additional requirements for protecting fictional character names [wikipedia.org], requirements that Guybrush Threepwood aren't likely to pass (but Harry Potter will). One may need to obtain a trademark for the likeness.
            The plot of a story is equally not copyrightable (so, treasure hunting as a plot isn't protected) the

            • (Score: 2) by Wootery on Thursday May 17, @08:44AM (1 child)

              by Wootery (2341) on Thursday May 17, @08:44AM (#680662)

              Copyright restricts distribution, not creation.

              A valid point, but in this case I don't think it would matter. The Monkey Island guy surely has no interest in developing a title that he can't publish.

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 17, @08:55AM

                by c0lo (156) on Thursday May 17, @08:55AM (#680663)

                He could, however, publish a new game named "Simian archipelago" or something.
                Same quirky feeling, other visual content and dialogues.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday May 16, @12:22PM

      by c0lo (156) on Wednesday May 16, @12:22PM (#680363)

      Another sad anecdote about the insanity of copyright that authors can somehow lose the rights to their own works in some jurisdictions

      While the copyright can be transferred, other jurisdictions recognizes the moral rights [wikipedia.org] associated with creative works.

      In most of Europe, it is not possible for authors to assign or even waive their moral rights. This is following a tradition in European copyright itself, which is regarded as an item of property which cannot be sold, but only licensed.

  • (Score: 2) by bootsy on Wednesday May 16, @12:39PM (3 children)

    by bootsy (3440) on Wednesday May 16, @12:39PM (#680367)

    Ron gets asked this a lot. He posts on his own blog

    https://grumpygamer.com/ [grumpygamer.com]

    as well as the Thimbleweed Park Forum https://forums.thimbleweedpark.com/ [thimbleweedpark.com] ( his last game and well worth playing ).

    I've just re-completed Curse of Monkey Island this time playing it with my Point and Click loving teenage daughter. This game is very good but it wasn't written by Ron, he did the first two as well as Maniac Mansion and input into the various other games that used the SCUMM engine as it evolved.

    I won't spoil the ending of Monkey Island 2 in case you haven't played it but is fair to say that the third game, Curse of Monkey Island, doesn't follow on at all.
    Many people would love to see a Monkey Island 3a but so many years have passed so what would it look like?

    Thimbleweed Park was retro modern - by that I mean it had chunky bitmap graphics but they could scale far better than the old 8 bit and 16 bit machines. A critism of Thimbleweed Park was that people would have preferred the style of graphics in Monkey Island 2 with nice back drops and more detailed pixel artwork but that would have broken from the Zak McKracken/Maniac Mansion style they were going for. Curse of Monkey Island had beautiful back drops but the main character of Guybrush was done in a clunky style. The 4th part used the Grim Fandango engine and was 3Dish. How should a Monkey Island 3a even look? Would people really buy it.

    Remember the LucasArts games are well loved but they were soundly beaten in sales by Sierra. Even if Ron had the rights would anyone actually buy it outside of a small core of fans, myself included.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Wednesday May 16, @03:22PM (2 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday May 16, @03:22PM (#680411)

      They won't know until they try. Realistically, they probably won't make mega-millions, but if these guys are bored, it could be fun for them and generate some respectable income.

      Also, one big difference these days is that the fans are mostly much older, and have plenty of disposable income to spend on this stuff, unlike when they were teenagers at the time these games were new. We see this same dynamic with classic rock bands: they're all going out and touring, if they still can (sometimes having to find replacement band members), because their fans in the 70s-80s who were broke teenagers are now in their 40s-60s and have plenty of cash to spend on overpriced tickets and desperately want to see their favorite bands on stage while they're both (the bands and the fans) still in good enough health to do so. The recent deaths of some prominent artists from the time, like Tom Petty, make this reality even more stark: see them while you still can.

      • (Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Wednesday May 16, @10:59PM (1 child)

        by FakeBeldin (3360) on Wednesday May 16, @10:59PM (#680538) Journal

        Let's say you want to sell the game for about 40 € (or other currency). With 15k fans, the income for the game would be 600k. But let's double that - not everyone who'd buy the game would sign the petition. So, you're looking at 1.2 million. For that, you'd have to do *everything*. It's not just development, it's all overhead included. That's not a lot of money.

        Case in point: Double Fine's kickstarter (3.3 million from the KS, maybe more from other sources) for what eventually turned out to be Broken Age - which according to some reviewer was okay but not a classic. And that's not what you'd want, as someone who signs that petition.

        While there is no secret recipe that will guarantee that a piece of entertainment (game, movie, tv show, ...) will be great, there are quite a few ingredients that will ensure it won't. One of the big pitfalls is attempting to recreate something for nostalgic reasons. Doing that while underbudgetted.... not a recipe for success.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday May 17, @01:35PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday May 17, @01:35PM (#680707)

          How many developers are we talking about here though? If it were a single-man project and took a few months, $1M is a great return for that effort. This isn't some modern, cutting-edge game here, this is retro stuff, so theoretically it shouldn't be that hard to do with today's technology. Heck, just make it use the SCUMMVM engine like the old ones; the main thing they'd have to do is the artwork and story, and the artwork should be easier with today's tools.

          This is all just hand-waving of course. But my point here is that fans would probably be happy to have something that's basically another one of the old games, not some fancy new game made with all the latest new game technologies. There's people these days making actual NES games, and it doesn't take some big team of developers, they're each made by one guy.

  • (Score: 2, Disagree) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday May 16, @03:16PM (4 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday May 16, @03:16PM (#680407) Journal

    Maybe the petition will encourage some lawyers to sue Disney over this. The fastest way to pry anything out of a large media and IP company's stranglehold is make them hurt, give them such pains in their deep pockets that they see cutting their losses as the most prudent move.

    Even better, could sue the United States. A victory would mean that the creator would have freedom to continue work on the franchise regardless of Disney's preferences.

    On the other end, what about a legal defense fund? Encourage the creator to go ahead and risk a lawsuit. Make Disney go on the offensive to stop it. Or if Disney does nothing, then enjoy!

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday May 16, @04:23PM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday May 16, @04:23PM (#680433)

      Suing on what grounds ? I don't think anyone denies the Disney owns the franchise.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Dr Spin on Wednesday May 16, @08:22PM (1 child)

        by Dr Spin (5239) on Wednesday May 16, @08:22PM (#680503)

        Suing on what grounds ?

        Sue them for being Disney - surely that is a crime in itself.

        --
        Putting your data in the cloud is like sending your teenage daughter backpacking in a 3rd world country with a pimp
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by arslan on Thursday May 17, @04:39AM

          by arslan (3462) on Thursday May 17, @04:39AM (#680624)

          What a mickey mouse idea!

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, @09:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16, @09:48PM (#680522)

      It was a work for hire. The law is very clear who owns it.

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