Technological constraints meant that the original Monkey Island game saw 25 percent of its dialogue text cut before it was released.
Talking to Sony Santa Monica’s Alanah Pearce, writer Tim Schafer revealed that The Secret of Monkey Island was originally too long and had to get some heavy editing.
“We were writing on Monkey Island, and we were told ‘you guys, we can’t go on six floppies. We have to go on five. We have too much text,'” Schafer recalled before remarking how strange that sort of thing is to imagine now.
“Ron [Gilbert] was like, ‘we have to cut 25 percent of the dialogue,'” he continued.
However, this was not something that came easily to Schafer at first, with the writer stating, “I went and would look at a scene I wrote and I was like ‘no, I nailed that… that’s perfect.'”
Thankfully though, fellow game designer Hal Barwood was in the studio working on Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis at this time, and he gave Schafer some advice for his Monkey Island predicament.
“[He told me] ‘it is hard, but imagine your writing is like a spider’s web, and some of the little strands of the web are loose.
“If you cut those, it doesn’t make the spiderweb weaker. It makes it more firm because the other strands of the spiderweb are now carrying more weight. It gets more rigid, and firm, and tighter.'”
This metaphor changed Schafer’s way of thinking when it came to his writing, with the game designer now considering “does this line of dialogue advance the story, does it give you any more information” any time it comes to making edits.
In other words, “is this holding weight [on the spiderweb]?”.
After a long hiatus, the Monkey Island series is set to return with the appropriately-named Return to Monkey Island later this year.
While an exact date has not yet been announced, we do know it will be coming to consoles first on Nintendo Switch upon its release.