June 21, 2004 at 11:25 pm #20499
This CNN/Money article http://money.cnn.com/2004/06/21/technology/vugames/index.htm talks about Vivdendi and its gaming division’s restructuring. They are closing the Bellevue, WA office, which was where the former Sierra developers worked.
The article says VU Games still plans on using the Sierra label, though, so who knows what they’re planning.
June 22, 2004 at 12:36 am #20500
(re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office))
I just read about this on another site. I hope they’ll be so starved for cash they’ll sell off the rights to the Quest and GK franchises… but who knows?
Not a good day, regardless of how I felt about what they’ve done to Sierra.
June 22, 2004 at 3:33 am #20501
(Sierra shut down)
Not sure if any of you read this today, but Vivendi Universal Games decided to shut down Sierra and lay off their 350 employees. This truly marks the end of an era, and I’d just like to say thanks to Ken and Roberta for the memories.
June 22, 2004 at 5:41 am #20502
(re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office)) It is looking more and more likely that the Sierra label may dissappear for good.
If I remember correctly, this idea was actually bandied about a few years ago. They were going to replace it with the Black Label Games name. However, in the end this was only used on a few releases and the Sierra name stayed.
But suppose Vivendi’s games division was in some sort of financial trouble, or simply stopped using the Sierra name on its releases, would it be possible for “someone” to come in and buy back “Sierra”?
To tell the truth, I don’t see why “someone” couldn’t do that right now. As Ken noted on another part of this site, Sierra exists only as a label nowadays anyways. And even as a label, it really isn’t worth much in today’s market.
I reckon today’s PC gamers have learned to distinguish between the products of “Classic Sierra” and “Current Sierra”. Unlike in the old days, no one will today buy a game simply because it has the Sierra name on it.
June 22, 2004 at 2:31 pm #20503
(re: re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office)) I agree with you! I also think that the Sierra label may dissappear for good (hasn’t it already…). I also don’t think anybody, other than big Sierra fans, will buy back the “old Sierra”. If Vivendi is in that deep a trouble, they’ll probably ask too much for the rights to use the quest titles or GK etc… On the other hand BECAUSE they are in deep financial trouble they’ll be eager to sell the rights…
Hmmm, maybe there is hope after all… Ken take that boat home and buy back Sierra! 😉
June 22, 2004 at 3:32 pm #20504
(re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office)) From http://money.cnn.com/2004/06/21/technology/vugames/index.htm
“Despite the closing, VU Games still plans to use the Sierra name, much like Infogrames Entertainment changed its name to Atari (ATAR: Research, Estimates) in 2003 to capitalize on its name recognition value. Top of page.”
Capitalize on its name recognition value? That does make me sick. Why for once they don’t “capitalize” on REAL value, REAL quality without stress on the word “capitalize”… They would naturally get more customers if they did the right thing instead of pouring hundreds of millions down the drain.
June 23, 2004 at 1:47 am #20505
(re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office)) This makes me angry… I really thing that lately corporations feel that they can just produce junk and think that we, the buying public, will just lap it up. I really miss the days when imagination counted for something in the computer game business but also when imagination counted for something in general.
Everything coming out of the computer game industry lately seems to be a clone there is very little inventiveness in the industry any more. I will say though that every now and then a great twist on an idea or a new idea comes out, like Knights of the Old Republic, but by and large everything seems to just be a clone!
Hopefully we’re just in a slow period and some real inventiveness and imagination will bleed back into the industry. In my opinion it is sorely in need of it!
I hope that some good ultimately comes out of the Vivendi decision. I know that we all are because I think Sierra deserves some good luck!
June 23, 2004 at 4:44 am #20506
(re: Sierra shut down) I posted this news today at Silven Crossroads (
) with much sadness. My very first PC role-playing game was Quest for Glory I. Had it not been so much fun, I might never had pursued this hobby – and never had the opportunity to experience countless hours of entertainment! Thank you, Ken, for many years of fun and top notch products. I know how sad I am to see what I consider an integral element of PC gaming disappear. And while I know you’ve been away from it for awhile, but I am sure that this must be sad news to you as well.
June 23, 2004 at 9:18 am #20507
(re: re: Sierra shut down)
I’m sad to see it go, but I could see the end comming for a few years now. The company just has not been the same since Ken left. I too have very fond memories of Sierra games. Quest for Glory is still my favorite game series, and there were many good times playing Sierra games. Thanks Ken for the countless hours of entertainment that your company gave me over the years. Sierra had a good run, and all those involved have much to take pride in.
RIP Sierra On-Line.
June 25, 2004 at 12:25 am #20508
(re: Sierra shut down)
Sierra must not go Sierra is the best game developing company in the world.
June 25, 2004 at 3:43 am #20509
(re: re: Sierra shut down) Sierra WAS the best game developing company in te world!
June 25, 2004 at 9:53 am #20510
(re: Sierra shut down) To me, I’m only sad for the employees who just lost their jobs. For some reason I felt a great weight lifted and a wonderful sigh… Finally Sierra can rest…
This is a silly thing to say, but remember the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Kostner in it? Well, remember when he finally makes it home from the crusades? He finds his home ruined and his father is dead in a cage that is hanging from the ceiling… THAT is what Sierra became. Thank God it was finally buried.
You know what they say, One door closes, another opens 🙂 (DREAMS)
June 25, 2004 at 1:50 pm #20511
(re: Sierra shut down) I just read this from crossroads….
“The Sierra office in Bellevue, Washington, is set to close within the next two months, and while Vivendi will reportedly continue to use the Sierra Name, the studio itself will blink out of existence.”
Ok, living in the past is one thing, but this makes me so sad I cannot bear it! When I first read “Sierra Shuts Down” I was under the impression that “Sierra”, name and logo, were gone… Now after reading this it seems clear that Vivendi (have they made a good game yet?) will continue to do what they have all along….rape the logo, and utilize the heritage as a means of profit.
“Sierra Shuts Down” should have been the headline back when Space Quest, King’s Quest, etc all went down the drain. Or maybe when Ken and Roberta decided to sell the company. (No regrets Ken, of course 🙂 But no, it’s just now after this latest news. It just seems so cruel, and I just can’t fathom the depths to which that logo, and my memories, have sunk.
Ken… Roberta… We just need to hear those words from you. Moving on just doesn’t seem right, unless we all get together and make games so damned great we can get the NAME and LOGO back. Trivial? Yes. Important still? Yes.
Ken, don’t stop caring about Sierra. You and Roberta’s creations will outlive us all, and hopefully, there will be one more good memory attached to that name, and logo… Sierra….
Best wishes to all those who are losing jobs through this!
June 25, 2004 at 2:14 pm #20512
(re: Sierra shut down) It isn’t a matter of whether or not Ken and Roberta “care” about Sierra. I don’t mean to sound insulting to anybody, but a lot of posters here don’t seem to realize what position “Sierra” (including games, licenses, characters, etc.) is in and what relation Ken and Roberta have to it.
Sierra has been assimilated into the machine of a corporate conglomerate. A cohesive whole was broken down into smaller parts and sucked into the beast called Vivendi Universal. The ironic aspect of this was the beast digested the property, the characters, the licences, etc. but spit out the most vital component – THE PEOPLE!
If Ken Williams wanted to restart Sierra, he could. It wouldn’t be called Sierra, and you would never see another Leisure Suit Larry or King’s Quest game under his name, but if he wanted to he could rehire the people – Al Lowe, Scott Murphy, etc. – and put their creative talent back to work creating new characters and franchises.
Now, here is the downer – Ken doesn’t have an interest in doing that. He and Roberta have already built one Sierra and, while they might have been interested in stepping back into an established organization, they don’t appear interested in starting a new company. Ken and Roberta are happy where they are, which is a damn pretty place to be. If all the newbies to this board keep pleading and berating Ken for not “saving” Sierra he may (if he hasn’t already) become annoyed enough to abandon this venture.
Now, here is the upper – Anyone, and I mean anyone, out there who has any interest in reviving Sierra should start their own Sierra. Do your homework, inspire others with small business experience to join your team, then find venture capital. Maybe the Williams would be interested in investing, or even being hired as consultants – you never know. Then when you have the money, the knowledge, and the will to succeed, you hire the talent. Hire Al Lowe. If Al is happy where he is, you find the next generation of Al Lowes and Scott Murphys. Then you make history. Again.
And when your games and your company becomes successful you make an offer to VU to purchase the Sierra franchises and characters. Then you’ve reclaimed and revitalized Sierra.
Now, someone, please get to work!
June 27, 2004 at 3:50 pm #20513
(Sierra is gone) I suppose Ken, you have heard of Vivendi closing Sierra. It does not exist anymore. A sad day!
Does this affect your agreement when you sold Sierra. Can you start your own game company now, legally.
Sierra Gets Shutdown
By Mike Meikle — News Writer
Published 9:21 PM CDT, June 21, 2004
The lights go out at old-school game company, Sierra, as Vivendi restructures its business.
More depressing news for the industry, Vivendi Universal Games has cut 350 staff and shut down Seattle-based Sierra. The venerable games company created some of the most popular action and adventure games in the 80’s. The Sierra brand will live on in name only and projects tied to the Sierra pipeline, Half-Life 2, Ground Control II and Tribes: Vengeance are already being developed by other teams within Vivendi. Also affected by the restructuring, the Hoyle brand of card and board games have been canceled.
“Restructuring the organization and reducing our cost base are necessary to improve our operating effectiveness and profitability,” said VU Games CEO Bruce Hack, in as terse a manner as possible. “This constitutes another important step in our turnaround plan aimed to better position the company for growth.”
Along with VU Games restructuring, the game company is prepping up for profitability with a powerful lineup for the second half of 2004. VU Games is looking for some higher revenues with titles like World of Warcraft, Spyro: A Hero’s Tail and the well-received The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay.
» Mike Meikle
June 27, 2004 at 7:00 pm #20514
(re: Sierra is gone) My non-compete with Sierra expired several years ago. There is no restriction whatsoever against my starting another game company.
I’m happily retired now. Roberta and I have a good life. We talk often about “dropping back in” but I doubt that we ever will. Roberta is working on starting a book, and I have a non-game software project going — but, that’s probably as far as we’ll go. We founded Sierra, and ran it for 18 wonderful years. I’m happy for those years, but it’s time for fresh blood in the industry. There are people who are on this site who can build great games, and hopefully they will.
I’ve been a bit of a bad sport about Sierra’s current problems. On dozens of occasions I tried to contact them to see if I could help. They refused to take my calls, or listen to me in any way. I feel sorry for the people who lost their jobs — but, also think that Sierra has an obligation to have good management — or, if it doesn’t, the people may be better off elsewhere.
June 29, 2004 at 1:22 pm #20515
(re: Sierra is gone)
Wait – a book by Roberta? Wow! Could you go into some details or is it too early?
Regardless, I’ll be the first in line when it reaches the bookstores 🙂
June 29, 2004 at 4:43 pm #20516
(re: re: Sierra is gone) Roberta is definitely working on a book, but if she knows what it will be about, she isn’t telling me.
She is very disciplined. For the last month she has been reading dozens of books that are in genres similar to where she is thinking (no – I can’t/won’t say what she is reading). She likes to read all the key works in a category before she starts to write.
June 30, 2004 at 4:44 pm #20517
(re: Sierra is gone) Pretty exciting to hear that Roberta is indeed working on a book.
Reshuffled the “Sierra is gone” topic into the existing “Vivendi cuts workforce” thread.
Brandon Klassen ~ SierraGamers.com Admin Team ~
July 2, 2004 at 4:08 pm #20518
(re: Vivendi Games Cuts Work Force (including former Sierra office))
Go here to get info about Sierras closing pposted by All Lowie http://www.allowe.com/Larry/8news.htm
We need to band together and save Sierra! They are the best game design company in the world. They created the best adventure game in the world Kings Quest.
July 3, 2004 at 4:34 pm #20519
(How or what do you feel about Sierra’s shut down?)
I’m both extremely mad over it, and I am also very saddened by it. 🙁
My first computer game was by Sierra, and I’ve been a loyal fan until it’s sale when game quality went down the drain.
Why couldn’t somebody salvage it?
July 4, 2004 at 9:05 am #20520
(re: How or what do you feel about Sierra’s shut down?)
The first game that was ever bought for me was from Sierra too…Space Quest. Before that I actually played Mystery House at my grandfather’s house but totally got hooked when my dad brought home Leisure Suit Larry from a guy at his work. I would wait every night for pops to go to bed so I could pop that sucker into the smokin’ DOS 1.2 IBM PCjr 😛 and get my illicit thrills. Once I learned about the rest of the games I begged my parents for a copy of PQ or SQ. SQ I got, and the rest is history.
I too am saddened by the latest turn of events but not too much. I kind of turned away from the brand when K & R left the company anyways. This latest bit of news didn’t really affect me except to remind me of the hours and hours I spent as a kid in front of that damn IBM PCjr. You know, today’s game market is mostly about profitability and licensing…I guess VU cut out all those people so that the remaining ones can enjoy the fruits of World of Warcraft.
As far as salvaging the game quality, I think it’s just like this year’s Lakers. You can have a team full of Hall-Of-Famers and superstars, but if they don’t work well together, you’re not going to get a ring. I see the 80’s Sierra as kind of like this year’s Pistons. They had a team of good people, led by an awesome motivator who knew the game, who were willing to put out 100% every night. The players stuck to the coaches’ plan and kept the end result in sight. When pieces of the puzzle start to drift, the whole team suffers…especially when the owner starts yelling about ticket sales instead of championships.
VU is more concerned about sales than innovative and fun games. I think the only reason they haven’t touched Blizzard is because BE consistently sells games. I wait for the day that VU starts hardball rushing Blizzard release dates. When that happens, watch Blizzard go down the same toilet that our beloved Sierra went.
July 4, 2004 at 1:37 pm #20521
(re: re: How or what do you feel about Sierra’s shut down?)
I know VU’s gaming policy and practices very well. Their promises of putting out fewer games of better quality, of promising of putting more money into Sierra.
I know they care more for money than delivering a decent product.
My first Sierra game was Conquest of Camelot. Played Quest For Glory through, King’s Quest, Phantasmagoria, Shivers, and so on. Absolute favorite is the Gabriel Knight series.
I am mad because no one puts out quality games anymore, and I am afraid that some of that is aimed at the Williams for selling Sierra in the first place. 🙁
July 4, 2004 at 9:09 pm #20522
July 14, 2004 at 12:45 am #20523
(re: Sierra is gone)
You are right sierra needs good management. What ever happend to the game development company that moved in after Sierra left it’s origonal location?
July 14, 2004 at 10:55 am #20524
(re: Sierra is gone) Sierra is gone since Ken Williams sold the company. I would assume that’s about the same time as the staff of Sierra stop having fun creating games, and it show on the products that came on the market after that moment. I believe Ken Williams is indeed a great man, a great motivator, and most important a great leader. I guess the true dream of all the true Sierra fan would be that Ken come to Vivendi, make an offer for the old Sierra which Vivendi drove to the pits and have Sierra reach the heavens again just to show Vivendi what does true management and having feelings does mean in a company.
I believe that simple doesnt mean failure. A small company with only a small creating staff and a good leader who know how to motivate people the way Ken did can give some really amazing products at the end. Sierra told us that.
July 14, 2004 at 3:26 pm #20525
(re: Sierra is gone) What ever happend to the game development company that moved in after Sierra left it’s origonal location?
I’m not as up on my Sierra history as I really should be, but wasn’t it a phone company that moved into the original Oakhurst facility? I know that Ken has posted about this somewhere here… maybe someone can dig that up… which reminds me of that FAQ us admins were supposed to make… hey, Brad, any plans this weekend? 😉
Brandon ~ SierraGamers.com admin team ~
July 14, 2004 at 6:26 pm #20526
(re: Sierra is gone) I think it was Codemasters (a UK-based gaming company). Don’t know how it evolved.
July 26, 2004 at 1:07 pm #20527
(re: Sierra is gone) Yep, Codemasters moved into that office when they purchased The Realm (MMO game, originally developed there at Sierra). Last year (July), though, Codemasters sold The Realm to our company Norseman Games. We are continuing development on the game. Not sure if I can post a shameless plug, but the site for the game is (still) at
September 21, 2004 at 8:11 am #20528
(re: Sierra is gone) Realm looks like fun; I e-mailed Ken about making a 3-D version of this, kind of like Blaxxun, remember that MMO game/universe? It used VRML, but now we can use Flash objects and classes.
Also no-one has really mentioned this game that is the CREAM of the CROP. If you have a steering wheel for your computer, check out Sierra’s Viper Racing. There’s a cult following for it and there are a few groups of users:
– Hardcore GT racers who race Simulation mode. These guys are very serious and recommend a MOMO forcefeedback wheel.
– Class A Racers who race the EXOTICs. The tires grip more like arcade settings even in simulation mode, but you can still drift at high speed.
Check it out at http://vrgt.notrix.net/
I race as “JK”