Reply To: New interview with Scott Murphy!

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Wowie Wowie! Is it the fourth of July already? Cause there’s sure a lot of fireworks going on here!

I always find it fascinating to hear the “behind the scenes” stories of Sierra, good or bad. I fully understand the feelings of the creators from the “early days” when the company felt more like a close-knit family. Then as they got bigger, the attention each person or project was given had to be spread thinner.

I totally agree with Ken from a business perspective. If the game was predicted to sell, then it would get a bigger budget. Just like with film distribution. If a movie company thinks a film isn’t going to do that well, it will remain in limited release (under 1,000 screens) until it prooves its market share. It’s easier to cut your losses on a small distribution than to crank it out to 3,500 locations and fall flat on your face. We’re talking hundreds, if not thousands of dollars for each additional copy.

Believe it or not, Walt Disney Pictures didn’t feel that the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie was going to be as big of a success as it was,  thus the marketing and promotions weren’t any more than your average Summer popcorn flick. (If you notice, the film doesn’t even have the company’s logo at the beginning. Just the title card) An action flick based on a theme park ride just didn’t fit the formula. After its success, they pulled out all the stops for the next installments.

I didn’t really notice back then that certain games were getting more promotion than others, except Phantasmagoria, which is understandable given the amount of time and money invested in it. Space Quest 6 made the cover of InterAction just like King’s Quest 7 did.

Management is a tough job. No matter what happens, good or bad, it’s always the manager’s fault. Everyone thinks they’re getting less attention than everyone else, and those who are allegedly getting “all the attention” get mad when they don’t get the same amount. It’s like being the parent of hundreds of children who all want the same amount of everything when there’s not that much to go around.

Regardless of what happens behind the scenes, the image that the company projects to its customers and fans is what’s important. Granted, I did become a little concerned of what’s ahead when I only saw Mark Crowe’s picture on the back of the SQ5 box but for the most part, Sierra was my “happy place” that I could always count on for laughs, fun, and most importantly escapism.

As for the transition to point-and-click, it never really bothered me that much. Windows was becoming more prominent and people were getting used to using a mouse so it only seemed like the logical step to the way things were going… away from Dos and Typing to Windows and Mousing. I DID enjoy the hybrid parser feature of Larry 7, but hated the single cursor. But that’s just my opinion. 😉