The internet is a horrible place. It has proven (again) that anything left unregulated will eventually bring out the worst in people. Like scams in crypto, the internet is prone to mob bullying. Its latest victim? Ron Gilbert from developers Terrible Toybox for the upcoming adventure game Return to Monkey Island.
Gilbert posted that he is shutting down comments on his personal blog (which seems to no longer be online when we checked) due to personal attack comments. He went on to say he won’t be posting any more about the game and that the joy of sharing has been driven from him.
“I’m shutting down comments. People are just being mean and I’m having to delete personal attack comments. It’s an amazing game and everyone on the team is very proud of it. Play it or don’t play it but don’t ruin it for everyone else. I won’t be posting any more about the game. The joy of sharing has been driven from me.”
Terrible Toybox has received criticism from some loud fans that did not like the new game’s art style, which is different from the first two Monkey Island games — 1990’s The Secret of Monkey Island and 1991’s Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge which Ron Gilbert created and developed.
While the upcoming Return to Monkey Island will be a direct sequel to the first two games (and also ignoring the events in the three games that came after them), it doesn’t use pixel art like the first two games, which some fans find disagreeable.
“Monkey Island 1 and 2 weren’t pixel art games. They were games using state-of-the-art tech and art,” Gilbert said in an earlier post. “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.”
Seems like his response has made him an even bigger target of angry fans, leading to this.
There’s something to be said about the relative anonymity of the internet (and crypto) that brings out the worst in people. In recent years, you can often find fans on game forums and reddit threads getting really angry over perceived slights, unwanted changes and what they felt is a lack of engagement from developers. They go on lengthy rants to rile up other fans to demand — yes DEMAND — developers change their games to be what these fans want them to be. If developers don’t accede, they’ll orchestrate a review bombing of said games or something similar.
There are reasons why many developers don’t engage with the community as much as the community would like them to. You can probably guess at least one of the reasons.
With so many games out on the market today (unlike in the ’90s when new games are treasured for their scarcity as well as their novelty), there are bound to be at least some games that someone could enjoy. Why rage about a game they hate when they could be playing one they enjoy? We guess that perhaps they find joy in belittling another person’s work. Blame it on the anonymity of the internet.
We can only hope that Ron Gilbert’s decision to stop sharing about Return to Monkey Island is not a long-term one. After all, getting less information about any game serves no one — not the developers, not the publishers, and certainly not the fans, even the angry ones.