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Return to Monkey Island's Oblivion horse armor is "nearly 100% useless," just like the real thing

Return to Monkey Island
(Image credit: Terrible Toybox/Devolver Digital)

Last month, the devs behind Return to Monkey Island announced that you will get horse armor if you pre-order the game, and while it is a joke, the devs are reiterating that it's not just a joke.

"You really will get it. It's not a big joke," director Ron Gilbert tells GamesRadar+. "If you did preorder the game, you will get the horse armor."

Gilbert says he doesn't remember exactly where the idea originated, but he has a pretty good guess. "I don't remember exactly how it came about. We were probably in some kind of a meeting with the marketing people, we were talking about stuff and somebody threw out the horse armor. I don't even remember who. I'm pretty sure they threw it out as a joke, you know, 'ha ha, horse armor.' We all kind of laughed and reacted very positively to that.

"So it just became a thing. Then Dave [Grossman] went through and wrote all these fun dialogue responses if you try to drag the horse armor on different people. Guybrush is all proud of his horse armor."

Grossman adds, however, that "there aren't that many responses for it. It is nearly 100% useless."

"Well, in my head, there are hundreds of different responses," Gilbert says.

"There are very few," Grossman concludes.

Being 'nearly 100% useless' would fit the reference, of course. Horse armor infamously debuted in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as one of the first bits of DLC to appear in a major triple-A game. It marginally increases the health of your horse and, well, that's about it. It's since become a running joke in the Elder Scrolls series, even appearing as a free add-on for Skyrim.

There are at least horses in The Elder Scrolls, but as art director Rex Crowle notes, "there's just no horses in Monkey Island games. When we started this project, I was like, 'we need to have some horses!' Obviously horses would have been a nightmare to animate. But I put in things like posts that maybe a horse might be tied up to. So the idea of getting some horse armor is pretty funny."

"I think it came about the way I think almost anything in the game comes about," Gilbert says. "We just laugh about stuff."

If you want to enjoy the nearly 100% useless horse armor for yourself, you've got until September 19 to pick up Return to Monkey Island on Switch or PC via Steam.

Dig into our list of upcoming Switch games for more you can enjoy on Nintendo's handheld.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.