Good question. At the time, the FPS was the big thing , we probably should have been working that angle, perhaps looking at a another crack at strategy (we deserved a second chance on Outpost).
Ken can answer this but there was always this rumor that John Carmack came around looking for either a buyer or for a publishier or something and Ken said no. Around that time productivity was coming to a stand-still because of Wolfenstein addiction. In my estimation, investing in iD would have been a great idea. Sierra di finally get it right in investing in Valve, but in either case, grabing another developer wasn’t going to change anything in Oakhurst.
I do have a confession, in that I was developing a Myst-like title at one point (who wasn’t) and Ken asked me if it could be converted to a FPS. I told him no way, and the project was canceled. If only I had said “sure!, you bet!”.
I wish we had put more capital into the Realm so it could become something more than a 2d combat/chat game. We had a ton of new ideas at the time (many of which are now incorporated in most fantasy MMOs). Unfortunattely that project was funded by outside capital once INN was bought up and couldn’t be sustained beyond bing much more than a tech demo.
Sierra Oakhurst did make efforts to move into these areas (FPS, MMO, RTS), but we never really had any success in anything other than adventure games. Partly because we were built to make adventure games. We had a handful of systems programmers and a boatload of application programmers, most of whom weren’t ready to make the major leap that modern game engineering required. The whole company was built around SCI and developing outside of that very specific API wasn’t likely to happen. The kind of technology expertise we needed to really go after 3d didn’t exist until the last year of the studio’s existence. We did have a fair amount of 3d experience on the art side. In my last 4-5 years with the company, nearly all the artists were using 3d in one way or another, but we were a long way from making a real 3d game. We had something on the order of 4 years or more of tech catch-up to play by the time we made the effort. Then again, I moved on to Firaxis and we still weren’t doing 3D for my first 2 years there, but I digress.
To be honest, we should have recognized that the market was changing and we should have been moving on to making the kinds of games we were all playing. Few of us were playing adventure games at that point. Mostly it was RTS, RPGs and FPS. The only adventure games I was playing up to near the end were Lucas Arts titles. While we were investing God knows how much money in a state-of-the-art FMV studio (to make 2 games), iD and Blizzard were poising to dominate the industry.