Very well said! The current state of the computer gaming industry can be summed up with your comment that ‘the core elements of good storytelling are the same now as they’ve ever been’. That is exactly why the cookie cutter clone titles sit on the shelves as fewer and fewer people even bother to see what’s available.
Fortunately for Jane Jensen there is a company that seems to “get it”. I can’t even express how excited I am for Gray Matter to hit the shelves. She’s not using multiplayer, online play, or any other unnecessary “features” to sell her game. Just a darn good story. In a sense it will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen and yet for any Sierra fans, it will like hopping on a bike again after 10 years.
You’re right that no company appreciates the value of Sierra’s brand, heritage, characters, and stories. It seems like such a simple concept. If Activision isn’t going to take advantage of this immense opportunity then sell it to someone who will. All the buyer has to do is grant licenses for their use. Then Jane can make her GK4. Then the fans can have their LSL8 or their Space Quest 7.
Ken might look around and think he’s been ‘gone’ for so long he’s no longer relevant. But I admire Sierra for accomplishing a simple yet difficult goal. They instilled a solid brand loyalty in a huge fan base that is, for many of us, as strong today as it was 10 years ago.
Look at the Sierra remake projects from AGD Interactive. Look at Quest Studios. Look how much used games go for on eBay. Look at the petition sites for new Sierra games. Look at how many people have worked together to get an old Sierra game working on Windows XP or Vista. Ask how many people still play old Sierra games because today’s offerings just don’t cut it.
Then you tell me if Ken Williams is still relevant today.