(re: Letter from the past) Sierra gave a LOT of time and effort to thinking about multiplayer adventure games, but never really came up with an idea that worked. We had all the technology and servers, but weren’t sure how to design a game that would be fun.
One effort was a game called “The Realm” for our online games network, INN. It was a HUGE success, but the game was more of a RPG than an adventure game.
We added multiplayer capability to some of the adventure games that shipped towards the end – I think Shivers. It was not much more than just a chat room that connected you with others playing the game at the same time. Almost no one used this feature — although, remember, this was in the pre-broadband days.
I tried to add some multiplayer capability to every product — even Bass Fishing and The Incredible Machine had multiplayer capability. From all this, I was hoping I would grow to understand better what might make a good multiplayer adventure game, but nothing ever emerged.
But, we did try…Hopefully someday someone will solve this riddle – how to do a great multiplayer adventure game, that doesn’t turn into an RPG game. Actually, there was a lot more to do in The Realm than just fight. Perhaps it WAS the first multiplayer adventure game. I’m sure that we have former Realm players on this site. Maybe one or more of them will comment on this.