Reply To: Would you Ken?


Hi Ken,

I know I’m a little late to the thread, but I’d like to echo the sentiments of the other poster who thanked you for being so forthright and patient with the fans. Heaven knows you don’t *have* to do this, or answer the same questions over and over, but I’m so glad that you choose to do it. Sierra was this great, legendary organization for so long; it’s good to be able to fill in the historical blanks and know what really happened, even if we don’t always like the answers.

I’d just gotten used to Sierra being dead and gone, so it’s kind of heartbreaking to think that you had the chance to get your hands on it again but things didn’t work out. That would have a certain poetic drama to it – a revered institution clutched from the jaws of certain death. But as so many others have said, I certainly understand your reasons. There’s no reason to come off the boat and throw yourself back into that world of headaches again. But although you’re right that game publishing has changed a lot and is very expensive now, I think you don’t give yourself enough credit by saying you’re too old to be relevant. Good taste doesn’t go away, and although game engines and mechanics have changed a lot since your Sierra days, the core elements of good storytelling are the same now as they’ve ever been.

Besides, if I’m not mistaken, after Sierra really took off, you weren’t actually writing and designing the games yourself – you were handling back-of-house and technical issues. There’s nothing to say you couldn’t still take an executive producer role, guiding the overall product while letting individual development teams do the heavy lifting. You can always hire young and hungry developers, and guide them with the knowledge you’ve gained over the years.

Nor would a new Sierra have to be the biggest publisher in the business – look at all the development houses that do perfectly respectable business by producing only small adventure games. A new Sierra with reasonable investment could do the same thing but much better, and would have a wealth of ready-to-go intellectual properties to use in games. I see all these run-of-the-mill adventure games on the shelf and they all kind of look the same, but if I saw a Space Quest or Laura Bow mystery it would really grab my eye. Sierra also always had a variety of products that embraced a far wider range of themes that are used today; all those low-budget adventures tread the same water over and over again. There’s nothing really diverse like Gold Rush!, Code Name: Iceman or the like.

I guess that the main reason I hate to see Sierra slip through your fingers is that no one is going to wind up with these IPs that understands their value. While people can debate whether the original games are still relevant in this flashy, 3-D world (I still love them, although I’m biased), the characters – Graham, Larry, Roger W., Gabriel Knight, etc. – are still as fascinating as they ever were. Games these days – even fun and entertaining ones – have a shortage of really interesting personalities. Sierra had this in spades, and it’s something that I think could still be valuable.

Of course, although this has turned into a sermon/sales pitch, I know your mind is made up and I can certainly understand why. I just didn’t want you to walk away while giving yourself and your old team too little credit – if you had decided to go that route, I do think you could have made it work. I also think that these aren’t dusty irrelevant properties, but are still perfectly viable and could be much-loved again today.

Anyway, it’s not that I’m saying you *should* have done it – just that I think it *could* have been a success if you had wanted to pursue it.

Thanks as always for this forum and site,