Reply To: Take The Plunge…


(re: Take The Plunge…) My comments are embedded within your message…
-Ken W
Hey Ken,
I read that you and Roberta have recently shown renewed interest in getting back into gaming. As far as your meeting with Sierra this April, is there a compelling reason why you would lean away from starting your own company? Obviously, there’s the plus side of the resources in teaming with Sierra again, but at what cost when it comes to restrictions and who can be brought on board?
Roberta and I have different motivations.
Roberta is clearly interested in doing a game again, and is just now starting the long process towards making a game. She’s at least six months to a year from knowing what the game will be, so she considers it premature to be thinking about how it would be published or developed.
I would like to get involved with Sierra, because it bothers me that they aren’t #1, and it bothers me that the industry seems to be caught in a rut. I believe I can make more of a difference, on behalf of both the industry and Sierra, by working with the senior management at VU Games (the parent of Sierra) rather than by working on any one game.
As you know, Al has shown an interest in working on another Leisure Suit Larry game, but that appears to have gone by the wayside. What about starting a company and getting him involved in some way, shape, or form? I realize the rights to the characters we’re familiar with would be absent, but don’t think for a second that we have forgotten the real names behind those characters.
If I ever do anything again, I would definitely hope to get Al involved! I’m constantly giving Al ideas (whether he wants them or not) on how he can get going on a game again.
You and Roberta were doing adventure games back when they were done right. Between Sierra and LucasArts, I spent a lot of time in other worlds living and breathing stories. With the demise of the Sierra of old and with LucasArts pushing the genre into an FPS style of character control (starting with Grim Fandango), there’s very little options for adventure gamers today. Yes, there’s The Longest Journey and just a few others, but by and large the true adventure games are not to be found. I never bought that gamers changed or that the genre died. At best, I would say the genre has fallen into a deep sleep, a hibernation until one of the pioneers comes back and resurrects the true spirit of what adventure gaming was all about. The feel, style, control, immersion, and storytelling are all areas that have not been adequately recaptured since the 90s.
I’m not too fond of nostalgia. We did great things not because the things we did were great, but because they were great at the time. Sierra’s games don’t look as good today, as they looked when they were released. We were pioneering new kinds of games, new kinds of content, new technologies, new user interfaces, etc. If I were to do something today, I would want to do the same. Certainly, the big picture would be “give the player a way to role play in an alternate universe, and give them 30 to ??? hours of intense entertainment” but I would layer onto this the concept of “do it in a way that surprises the player – give the player something they have NEVER seen before”. This is somewhat inconsistent with saying “how do I bring back the adventure games of the 80’s?”
For what it’s worth, let me encourage you and Roberta to be those returning pioneers. Let me encourage you to be the ones to bring back adventure gaming to the gamers who were right there with you to begin with. Let me encourage you to be the ones to bring adventure gaming to a brand new audience that have never known what it’s like to be fully immersed in a game, lost in another world. Let me encourage you to take the gaming industry by storm…again. Who am *I* to encourage this? I am Paul Lilly, I’m an adventure gamer from days past, I’m a hopeful fan that the genre will awaken by those who know what it is, and I am one of many who await the return of one of the pioneers. As this letter comes from but one person, it represents many, many more.

Roberta is working hard on another game. Although, I don’t want to mislead anyone. She’d only do a game if she can think of something innovative to do. That means she will be spending the next six months doing intensive research, and if she thinks of something that she thinks can be great, she will go the next step. If not, she won’t.