(re: re: re: re: Museum of Sierra Logos) Ok, let’s see if I can shed a little more light on the logo/subsidiary issue here. It’s kind of complicated… 😉
After the name change from On-Line Systems to Sierra On-Line, which I also believe was in 1981, some of the On-Line games were released with new cover art, for instance Mystery House. These boxes had a SierraVenture label on them, without the Half-Dome picture but in the same style as the On-Line part of the first Sierra logo. Also, the arcade games such as Frogger and Jawbreaker were released under the similar label SierraVision. I don’t know the reason for these labels, but I suspect it had to do with if the games were developed in-house or by contract programmers. What label the non-games (such as the HomeWord Speller word processor) had I don’t know.
The “classic” Sierra logo was created sometime after King’s Quest 1 but before King’s Quest 2, wich means 1984 or 85. I believe this was the time Sierra moved into the famous Redwood building, so the logo change probably had to do with the move.
Sierra’s first significant acquisition was that of Dynamix in 1990. They added the phrase “Part of the Sierra Family” to their logo.
The second acquisition Sierra made was BrightStar Technologies in 1992. Their lip-synching technology was included in the SCI 1 engine and was first used in the multimedia version of King’s Quest 6.
In 1993, Sierra bought Coktel Vision, a Paris-based software developer. I guess this was mainly done because Sierra wanted to expand in the European market. I don’t know if they adapted the same phrase as Dynamix did though, but it is possible.
At this time, Sierra moved its HQ to Bellevue, as it had grown too hard to run such a big company from such a remote town as Oakhurst. This coinceded both with the 15th Anniversary and the new logo with the colored stripe at the bottom, so the logo change could reflect the whole reorganization step of moving the company rather than the anniversary. The relocation was accompanied by a restructruring of the company into four separate development and marketing divisions: Sierra Publishing, (which was the core gaming unit operating mostly in Oakhurst) Dynamix, (keeping their own brand) Bright Star Technologies (the lip-synching company) and Coktel Vision (based in Paris). Development was separate at these divisions, but manufacturing, distribution and sales was jointly managed from the Bellevue HQ.
In 1995 Sierra was expanding into several areas outside the core of games (primarily adventure games). They bought Green Thumb Software, who created gardening and landscaping software, Arion Software, who focused on culinary software and was acquired in September that year. They also acquired the rights to use a DTP program called Print Artist and made a joint venture with P.F. Collier to develop a multimedia encyclopedia.
Three major acquisitions were also made in the gaming area in 1995: Impressions Software with their strategy games, Papyrus Design Group with their acclaimed racing games and SubLogic, developers of the Pro Pilot flight simulator.
These acquisitions resulted in great financial success, which was the incentive for CUC’s offer to buy Sierra in 1996, along with Blizzard, Davidson, Gryphon Software and Knowledge Adventure. This was the decision that ultimately led to Sierra’s great problems, which were created on a higher level. But for a moment it looked good, and Sierra itself made additional acquisitions in 1997: Berkley Systems (publishers of You Don’t Know Jack and After Dark) and Books That Work (a home productivity software company) were acquired in April, and later Headgate (a golf software company) and PyroTechnix (another game company) were added to the list.
But at this time CUC decided to shut down a number of groups within Sierra (although I’m not sure which) and transfered control of the company to Davidson. They also laid off almost 50% of the staff in Oakhurst.
I doubt that Ken can clarify this much, as this was the time when he had left Sierra and only stayed for a while to help out with the transfer. It must have been a blur of executive decisions.
1997 was also the year when CUC joined with HFS and became Cendant, and Ken left Sierra completely to create WorldStream Communications.
At the end of this turmoil, sometime in early 1998, Sierra was finally organized into the five sub-brands with their respective logos: Sierra Attractions (for casual gaming), Sierra Home (for home improvement), Sierra Sports (for sports), Sierra Studios (the original core of the company along with Impressions and PyroTechnix, and the publisher of independent developers, like Valve) and Dynamix (now with the new logo saying “Dynamix, a Sierra Company”)
Sierra Publishing, which now essentially meant the Oakhurst facility, became Yosemite Entertainment (also sub-labeled “a Sierra Company”) in May 1998. They didn’t release their games under that logo though, but under the logo of a sixth sub-brand: Sierra FX.
All of these brands and subsidiaries collectively operated under the Sierra umbrella with its newly designed logo, for the first time without the Half-Dome silhouette. However, the design of the S in the logo still pays homage to the mountain image, and the Yosemite Entertainment logo includes a new version of the Half-Dome silhouette.
At this time the Cendant fraud was under investigations (the irregularities found concerned their reported 1997 net income) and Havas bought the stock-plunging Cendant in Januuary 1999. In February they shut down Yosemite Entertainment, the event known as Black Monday. The facilities were taken over by Codemasters in mid-september.
The Havas name disappeared at a business alliance in the summer of 2000 between Vivendi, Seagram and Canal+ to form Vivendi Universal, when it was renamed Vivendi Universal Publishing.
The current Sierra logo was adapted in mid-November 2001, possibly because they wanted people to identify it with the original Sierra because it had more business potential, and the name-change to Sierra Entertainment followed only three months later to better reflect the company strategy (“On-Line” is mostly associated with on-line gaming these days, while Sierra considers itself an interactive entertainment company).
Recently, Vivendi Univeral Games, of which Sierra is now considered a studio, has chosen to adapt their studio websites to the same design. The trend has been that Sierra games are more often viewed as Vivendi games today.
So, if I didn’t miss anything, the complete list of Sierra Subsidiaries (some of which nothing is left today) is:
Dynamix (1990, games)
BrightStar Technologies (1992, lip-synch software)
Coktel Vision (1993, games, based in Paris)
Green Thumb Software (1995, gardening and landscaping)
Arion Software (1995, culinary software)
Impressions Software (1995, strategy games)
Papyrus Design Group (1995, racing games)
SubLocig (1995, flight si