Anakin Skywalker wrote: »
Given all they contributed to the industry, their names should go a lot farther. Sierra is generally forgotten or unknown by the average modern gamer and that's a shame because they innovated quite a lot beyond the adventure genre and were in their day one of the biggest power players in the entire industry. I mean a late 90s piece on Sierra named only Microsoft and EA as Sierra's main competitors. That's how important they were.
I read that in 1996, Sierra's games altogether made up a majority of PC game sales, not just in the adventure genre. They were huge and you'd think even if the modern GAMER doesn't know of them, that at least some modern designers/creators outside of the adventure community would be inspired by their legacy.
I mean id Software considered Sierra a big influence; The founders of id grew up playing tons of Sierra games...Where's the other modern industry recognition?
Cez wrote: »
It is a shame, and frankly, it's something that often pisses me off. I was at Barnes and Nobles the other day and I picked up this book called something like "1001 games you should play". There was not a SINGLE mention of a Sierra game. Not King's Quest, not Space Quest, not Larry. All Lucasart games were in there, ALL of them, but not one single Sierra one.
In the same way, I've seen many "100 most important games", or stuff to the like online where there's always mention of at least 2 LucasArts games, but there's never mention of Sierra.
Anyone who makes a list like this, or worse, a book with 1000 games, and there's no mention at all of Sierra, completely loses my respect. The sheer importance and the legacy not only the company, but people like Ken and Roberta left, the contributions they made to the evolution of games, and that today, people seem to have forgotten that they ever existed --that's a real shame.
DAISHI wrote: »
Was Infocom in the book? Because for me that's where the conversation starts.
Anakin Skywalker wrote: »
I bet any modern gamer wouldn't be able to name the writer of, say, Call of Duty. But most adventure game fans--even fans who aren't Sierra diehards or even casual Sierra fans--could probably tell you who Roberta Williams or Jane Jensen are.
MusicallyInspired wrote: »
Most all of the LucasArts adventures had a subtext on the box art of who the game was designed by. Much like Sierra. Maniac Mansion was Ron Gilbert, Day of the Tentacle was Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, Loom was Brian Moriarty, MI1 and MI2 were Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman, Sam & Max was Mike Stemmle and Sean Clark. Full Throttle and Grim Fandango were Tim Schafer. The Dig was Sean Clark and Steven Spielburg, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade was Ron Gilbert, David Fox, and Noah Falstein, Fate of Atlantis was Hal Barwood, Curse of Monkey Island was Jonathan Ackley and Larry Ahern, Escape From Monkey Island was Mike Stemmle and Sean Clark, and Zak McKracken is David Fox. I'd say it was pretty important for LucasArts to prominently credit the lead designers wherever possible.
MusicallyInspired wrote: »
Ron Gilbert left Hothead for Double Fine now.
rereleased collections of the main Quest games.
BagginsKQ wrote: »
Here is the history of the development of the game...
Pay particular attention to Davidson's involvement... They or rather there 'henchman' managers, tried to take the control from Roberta, and make the game on their own without her input ('ignore her')... This is likely the point where she threatened to pull her name from the game...
The Davidsons didn't like Roberta that much apparently and saw her as all that was unholy influencing children to ungodly ways (through violence and anti-religious imagery)...
After Davidsons left Sierra, she regained much of the control... She was able to pull the game back to her vision, and agreed to have her name on it.
However, realize, that many of the 'action'/'RPG'/3D stuff was purely Roberta's ideas, and she was discussing some of those ideas as early as 1995 (before Sierra was sold), long before she physically started making KQ8... If anything she had more ideas for bosses, that ended up being cut... It was actually 3D and combat that she first started on, in hopes she could flesh in the puzzles later on (which probably lead to some puzzles being cut unintentionally as well).
Poorly conceived, buggy and incomplete collections... Like leaving out the original version of LSL1, the CD versions of LSL6, and no LSL7....
BagginsKQ wrote: »
True, but unfortunately those bugged versions have left their mark on later Activision releases... For what ever reason, GOG only has access to the VU Four Most Wanted edition of PQ collection minus the original PQ1AGI.
While they got access to release the AGI version of KQ1 and 2.0 of KQ7. They used the buggy version of KQ6 (for what ever reason left out KQ1 remake). The SQ set left out the Remake of SQ1...
Yes I know the intent was to highlight the original development of the KQ and SQ series. But what would it have hurt Activision to include the remake perhaps in he last sets of each respective series on GOG.com.
Why didn't they follow that for thePQ release as well?
http://www.adventure-treff.de/artikel/interviews/ken_williams_e.php By the time Sierra was sold, it was mostly a non-game company. In about 1990 I made the decision to focus away from games. This came about as a result of a discussion with Bill Gates himself. It's a bit of a long story, but we had been talking about Sierra and Microsoft doing a project together when I got bold enough to ask Bill if he would ever consider buying Sierra (I had always had tremendous respect for Microsoft, and would have teamed up with them in a minute). His answer changed Sierra's future.
People at Sierra remember this meeting well, because I came back and changed the company dramatically. Bill said that he had just noted the bankruptcy of United Artists. His contention was that they were in a hit driven business, and that ultimately in a hit driven business you run into a time of no hits. Sierra lived and died with the best seller charts. Fortunately, the charts were very good to us, but Bill's contention was they had also been good to United Artists. Ultimately, you run out of hits and die. It might take a hundred years, as was the case with United Artists, but it always happens. My goal with Sierra was to create a company that would live forever. I didn't want to be a "hit machine".
I set a new goal for Sierra to exit the hit business, and reorganized the company around a new vision to be 1/3rd education, 1/3rd productivity and 1/3rd perennial products. The first two categories should be obvious, but the last needs some explaining. My goal was to find products that could be "rev'ed" each year, such as Microsoft's Flight Simulator, or Electronic Arts Madden Football. I wanted to find an array of products that could be done better each year. Flight (and other) Simulators fit this category, as did construction sets. Products like Caesar fit this definition. The Incredible Machine.
By the time the company was sold, I had about 80-90% of revenue that matched my vision. It's not clear that I would have continued in adventure games at all. My guess is that this vision won't make me popular with adventure gamers, but it was working. My focus was on building a company that would live forever. The new owners had different ideas and scrapped many products I considered key to this vision. I wish they had at least asked where I was trying to steer the company."
"The traditional adventure game is dead."...it's time to change adventure games at least as much as the gamers themselves have changed over the last few years. It's time to make them "less pretentious. More open-ended, faster paced, and just more fun to play than they have been." After all..., "what's the use of creating these super-serious, overly literary, and downright studious games when the major audience that will play them played a Nintendo or a Sega last year? These folks are used to playing games where the correct answer to any problem might be jumping over something, hitting it with a hammer, or maybe even shooting it with a big bazooka. Why hassle through all the literary pretense when most of today's gamers just want to blow something up."
Ken: "The adventure game needs to be re-invented to succeed. Doing more of the same with a new plot wouldn't cut it, beyond selling a few Sierra fans. My #1 skill at Sierra was in pushing people to innovate. There is too much copycatting in the industry today. No one has the courage to do something completely different. I don't think Sierra (or, anyone) will do an adventure game anytime soon. If they do something like what Sierra did, it will be at best a mediocre success. My guess is that companies no this, but no one wants to go out on a limb with something completely different."
"Imagine Super Mario quality animation, and the ability to interact with the world, but with realistic characters, and mature plots. But, a story game - not a action game, and not a puzzle game. Focus on characters and plot. That said, I would launch two different projects to reinvent the market, and my second idea might be the bigger one.
I like the idea of where infocom was going. There were the inklings of an idea in their text games - which was to focus on artificial intelligence. If the same effort were coupled with todays computers - perhaps a game could be built that is a VERY accurate simulation. I like the idea of an environment with unpredictable characters. The problem with multi-player is that most people don't like multi-player environments. I think that through having truly smart NPCs, something that could be done that gives the best of both worlds; single and multi-player games. If I personally did a game, this is the area I would focus on. The problem is that games become puzzle games at some point. It's the player versus the traps left by the designer. I have a lot of ideas on how to build credible intelligent characters."
Ken: "I always thought the future of storytelling was on the computer. I predicted that computer games would be bigger than films, and still believe there is huge potential with story-telling games - if done correctly. Watching a story from the inside is more exciting than from the outside. Phantasmagoria was a first step towards where I thought the future was. It's disappointing that we blew it with Phantasmagoria II and shot the category."
"think entertainment, not games."
Ken: "In some cases it was poor design, in some cases it was the natural thing that the designer thought would happen if someone did it in "real life". I'm a perfectionist. Sierra never shipped a game I felt was perfect. This bugged my staff, because it was tough to get complements from me. Oh well. My goal was never a happy staff - it was a perfect game. We got as close as we did because I, and more importantly the Sierra culture, was to find the perfect game.
By the way: I always hated the word "adventure game". Phantasmagoria was a horror game. It worked when it scared you, and didn't when it felt like a "puzzle" or "adventure" game. Larry worked when you laughed. It was a "comedy" game. It didn't work when it felt like an "adventure" game. Decide the emotion you are going for; tears, laughter, fear, etc - and go for it. Do what makes the emotion, and blow off the rest. In some cases my own designers forgot the rule, and those were the weak parts of the games."
don't recall Roberta ever wanting her name off KQ7. That was her vision; She had wanted to make a Disney-esque KQ and got it done, that was the mood she was in in '93/'94 as far as KQ was concerned, even though she acted as more of an "Executive Producer" on it than with the other games
"I originally wanted to be the Creative Consultant on King's Quest VI", "I wound up being much more deeply involved than I planned." As hard as it is for people to imagine a King's Quest game that wasn't designed by Roberta, it almost happened with King's Quest VI. It was believed that it would probably come to pass in the "not-too-distant future".-Interaction Summer 1992
This quest seems to have a darker, more ominous tone than the other King’s Quests; it is also more wordy. Is there a reason?
I was thinking that same thing the other day, but I don’t believe we made it intentionally ominous. It just turned out that way.
The reason it’s more wordy is that I didn’t write the text. This is the first time I have had a collaborator. Jane Jensen wrote all the script, and we worked on the story line and character together. We spent a month working together before Ken and I left on a two-month vacation to France.
Jane has a different style than I do, and maybe she is more text oriented. Even her design documents were four times as thick as mine usually are - her fingers just fly on a word processor.