(re: Sierra Merge) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
I don’t believe the problem regarding the matter of acquiring Sierra has as much to do with money (I reckon you could do it at relatively low cost), as with the matter of exactly WHAT you will be acquiring.
Consider the following:
There is no physical Sierra anymore. In other words, you won’t be acquiring any physical assets, e.g. hardware, software, facilities, etc.
The people who built Sierra from 1979 to its peak period, which I believe to have been the early nineties, have all moved on. You won’t automatically acquire their services by acquiring “Sierra”.
The Sierra name, though carrying a lot of weight during the Ken & Roberta period of ownership, is today worth very little. The way I perceive it, “Sierra” has these last few years degenerated into being nothing more than a label splashed on to boxes by Vivendi Universal. Sierra has become a kind of generic game publisher with no identifiable identity or core product (both qualities the old Sierra had in spades). In fact, if you take a look at current or upcoming V.U. published games, you’ll notice that very few actually carry the Sierra logo, in other words the name weighs very little nowadays.
Adding to the above point, since the mid nineties the Sierra name has been stuck on to A LOT of mediocre titles. So probably you are chiefly after the famous Sierra properties from the eighties and early nineties – King’s Quest, Police Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, and so on. Consider however, that these titles aren’t that well-known anymore. Sure most of them are brilliant properties, but also consider that you would have to in effect in each case RESTART or REBUILD the franchise. And that brings me back to my second point – would you be willing to do this without the original creators and developers involved? Because I certainly wouldn’t buy a Larry game not designed by Al Lowe. And I still consider any Police Quest without Jim Walls as pure sacrilege. (Whatever happened to Sonny and Mary, Jim? Did they happily grow old together? I NEED TO KNOW!!!)
I’m as huge a fan of Classic Sierra as anybody. I love adventure games. So even taking all of the above into consideration, YES, if I had access to the funds, I’d buy Sierra from V.U. in a heartbeat. This would be contingent on getting all the classic properties in the sale.
After acquiring the name and intellectual property that goes with it, I’d hunt down all the folks that made the company great. Then I’d lock them all into a single room (because two heads are better than one!) and leave them to play the best adventures released since Sierra’s sale in 1996. That way they can quickly get up to speed on what people are currently doing and what adventure gamers have come to expect.
And yes, as owner I’d include my own original franchise on the development slate. (But wouldn’t we all?)