Thoughts on the relevance/potential of Sierra IP

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    • #25931 Reply

      Hi to Ken and all,

      I posted in this thread a response to Ken’s concerns that he (& the Sierra IP) was too “over the hill”, so to speak, to be relevant in the modern gaming world. While it’s obvious that anyone who is reading this will immediately agree with me, I think there are some very powerful arguments in favor of retrieving the Sierra name and properties. It’s enough to make one really, really wish that Ken would snap up Sierra (although, as I said, I understand his stated reasoning), because I think there’s a lot that could be done fairly easily to get the games out there.

      First, we’ll set aside the issue of new development and the expense that would entail. Think of the opportunities to capitalize on the existing games. Sure, it would be a hassle to get more “anthologies” bundled and convince retail stores to carry them, but it would be so easy to get them out in other ways:

      – Aside from distribution platforms like Steam, there are now services that exclusively sell “classic” games. would be the perfect place for the Sierra catalogue, and would provide the games in a way that would allow them to run on modern PCs and include bundled documentation. If the Sierra games were released on one of these sites for $1-5 apiece, how many copies do you think would sell – even out of sheer curiosity? These types of microtransactions are the way to go with the back catalogue, as they’re easily available as impulse buys and are accessible to a massive audience with a tiny amount of overhead.

      – Mobile versions of the games. Think how many mobile devices today have keyboards. If people can IM or email in real-time on their mobile devices, why couldn’t they use a parser interface? Why couldn’t you convert a point-and-click interface for the Nintendo DS?

      – Console downloads. All major consoles now have download services, which would allow the games to, again, be distributed to a huge audience at a tiny cost. The Wii interface would be perfect for point-and-click adventures.

      These are only a few ways that money could be made very quickly using only the original games with some recoding. Think of all that’s been done with these games at the hands of only our own community, or fan-made utilities like DOSbox. These games could be out on the market quickly, and would essentially be “free money.”

      Remakes are obviously where things would get more expensive and would require more work. I point, however, to the fact that LucasArts just today announced a complete remake of the original Monkey Island. They’re also releasing a new set of episodic Monkey Island adventures, in the vein of recent successes like the Sam & Max titles.

      On the high-end and high-expense level, one could conceive of bringing in developers to create new titles based on the original IPs. A look at recent titles like Fallout 3 gives a notion of what could be done to remake something like Quest for Glory with action, RPG and adventure elements. And, of course, there’s a dearth of quality adventure games today – not only the lack of great franchises like KQ, SQ, PQ, Laura Bow, etc., but also those great one-shot titles like Iceman and Gold Rush!

      Anyway, there’s very little I could do to help make this happen but I think it would be a great idea and, at least on the re-releases, fairly easy and inexpensive. There’s a hunger out there for these titles and at last there are viable venues to make them available.

      Just an idea…


    • #25932 Reply

      I keep thinking about this subject, and I noted that they’ve just released the KQ and SQ collections on Steam this week. See? Viability! And it was just a lazy port, too… There’s so much these games can be good for! (And profitable!)

    • #25933 Reply

      It’s certainly working for LucasArts.  The Secret of Monkey Island has just been released as an iPhone app for $7.99 and is already on the recent best-seller list.

    • #25934 Reply

      I was just wondering if anyone knew anything more about the status of the Sierra IP. Has it been sold, or is it actually on sale? I just have a horror that someone will buy it for next to nothing, strip it of a few valuable properties, and let it rot. There’s just too much potential here to let it go, and it drives me nuts!

    • #25935 Reply

      And you make a good point that other companies are doing a great job resurrecting their properties – LucasArts especially – and it really shows the viability of older games like this. Making them run and releasing them on would be like printing free money…

    • #25936 Reply

      Quote: “I keep thinking about this subject, and I noted that they’ve just
      released the KQ and SQ collections on Steam this week. See? Viability!
      And it was just a lazy port, too… There’s so much these games can be
      good for! (And profitable!)”

      They weren’t even ports. They were just the VU re-release from a couple of years ago that just used an, even then, outdated version of DOSBox. I half suspect that the company that did the releases was actually abandonware people that got caught by VU and VU decided to reuse what they had. I say this because they were stripped of a lot of files that would have been shipped with anything that the real Sierra would have included. Abandonware is often ripped like this. Also the fact that the games came from a number of different sources, such as the KQ6 was taken from the 2nd collection while 7 came from the 2nd release of the CD. In addition, they really botched the integration of DOSBox.

      It would have been much easier and faster to have started from the 2nd collection, stripped out the non-KQ games and written a new installer for it. I could easily have done a far better job by myself from my copy of the 2nd collection in less than a week (minus the packaging), instead of the many months that they took. I practically have, anyway, with the new installers that I have on my site, The Sierra Help Pages.

      New Sierra Game Installers

      For more information about what was wrong with the King’s Quest Collection, see this thread. I have developed patches that address all of the issues that these releases had. All of the other three VU collections had many of the same issues. If you look at the Steam forums you will see that they were using some of the solutions that I had developed for the initial release of the collection.

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