Curious Question Regarding Phantasmagoria Film Rights.

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    • #25464 Reply

      I’m a writer/producer in Australia, who is currently looking to right something to make a big mark in the film industry.

      For months now i’ve been throwing around an idea, and from what i see it’s got very little plot holes and continues on from the original Phantasmagoria (i’d love for Ken or Roberta to read the synopsis/plot i’ve recently completed)

      I’ve been wondering does sierra (the company who dont sell movie rights to people with idea’s of reviving a series in a way that it doesn’t break away from the original idea ect.) still own the rights to Phantasmagoria?

      PS: if either yourself or roberta would be interested in reading the synopsis/plan for the film i’ve been working on let me know, also i’ve done other short film work before this and i’m also intending on entering one of the major film schools here or studying in new york next year at the NYFA (if i can manage funds from my current job and if my education funds dont just disappear)

    • #25465 Reply

      “… (by Tim Roberts) I’ve been wondering does sierra (the company who dont sell movie rights to people with idea’s of reviving a series in a way that it doesn’t break away from the original idea ect.) still own the rights to Phantasmagoria?

      Sierra DOES own the rights to Phantasmagoria, although I would be surprised to see them ever do another Phantasmagoria game.

      Here’s a bit of history on Phantasmagoria:

    • The first game was a huge hit, selling nearly one million copies. Players loved it, and most reviewers loved it.
    • Because the first game was such a hit, we rushed the second game into production. I wanted Roberta (designer of Phantasmagoria, and my wife) to do Phantasmagoria II, but she refused. She thought is was too soon to do another one, and wanted to “save it” until later. She preferred to jump immediately into another Kings Quest game.
    • Phantasmagoria II was started with a different designer, and was a mess. It’s not clear who is guilty, but probably the most guilty would be me. I switched designers from game 1 to game 2. Each designer has their own vision for what Phantasmagoria should be. Roberta had hers, and Lorelei had a slightly different one. Each could produce a good game on their own, but when one designer tries to emulate another designers style, or takes the game in new directions that are inconsistent with the first, it just doesn’t work.
    • Another problem with Phantasmagoria II was an out of control budget. I remember being frustrated with cost overruns, and ultimately having to make a decision to ship the product, even though the team wasn’t ready to release the game. The game that shipped still had some bugs, and needed patching.
    • Lastly, both Phantasmagoria and Phantasmagoria II were harmed by the sale of Sierra. The distribution of Sierra’s products were taken over by Davidson Software. For those that don’t remember, Davidson was a major educational software publisher. It’s owners, Bob and Jan Davidson, believed Phantasmagoria was an evil product, and should be abandoned. I had to argue behind the scenes just to keep it on the order form. The sales force, and even the customers, had no trouble figuring out that Phantasmagoria was not supported by Sierra management, and sent back their inventory, rather than pushing the product. Momentum for the product flipped overnight.
    • I would be surprised to see a third… Actually if Sierra were smart (assuming there is a Sierra), they would find the old video footage and re-release Phantasmagoria. It would be a hit if done right. I have zero doubt.

      -Ken W

  • #25466 Reply

    Thanks for the feedback Ken, alot of interesting facts about Phantasmagoria i never knew right there. I’ve actually had a hard time finding information about the game, and i went out to buy an older computer just to play phantasmagoria (the first one only). I only found one Decent Resource on Phantasmagoria on the web, and in all the older mid 1990 magazines i could find VERY LITTLE information. Oh well i’ll keep working on my idea’s and eventually try to come up with a plan there (may even decide to approach sierra after my credibility rating goes up)

    As for sierra re-releasing phantasmagoria, i dont see it happening. They re-released games like kings quest, gabriel knight, larry ect. but i dont see it happening to a game of which is popular among adventure gamers; even today. Sierra seems to be steering away from the BEST period of adventure gaming (quest, knight, larry, police quest, phantasmagoria)

    If sierra were to get back into the older 2D/FMV adventure gaming market they would see alot of older players return, and alot of the new game players would also turn back to the genre. Games back then wernt so reliant on the factors that todays games are, police quest was one of the games of which that could really apply to. I’d love to see sierra do some decent adventure games and not these crappy 3d ones, not only are the controls and cameras monsters to work with, but the resolution in the graphics just doesn’t feel right, the old 2D like graphics gave a unique experience to gaming.

    When the FMV like games started to arrive, they died out quickly, but if those games made a return these days, they would have better graphics, could be used in a different format, programming language could also help enhance gameplay. Technology would these days give a major ovehaul to that type of adventure gaming we saw in the early to mid 90’s.

    Yet, modern day sierra is too busy with these First Person Shooters and crappy adventure types, while although popular has totally steered out of the direction of which sierra was mainly founded on. It would need a major overhaul of the company to bring back the programming part of sierra and the original gaming types of which sierra was the best at (yourself, roberta williams and many other names that should be thanked for setting the standard for those sort of adventure games in a way)

    Anyway thanks again for the quick response Ken,

    Tim Roberts.

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