Why was there never a third game?

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    • #28925 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Anyone have a clue as to why there never was a third MH game? The second game in the series REALLY left you hangin’. Was the game really that unpopular? Thanks in advance.
      Justin

    • #28926 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: Why was there never a third game?) I recall reading about Sierra’s history and understood that the Manhunter series didn’t become successful enough for more sequels to get done.
      By the way – it was done using the AGI interpeter. MH 2 was actually the last game to be made in AGI.

    • #28927 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: Why was there never a third game?) I hope I am remembering this right…
      The Murrays (it was the Murrays who wrote Manhunter, wasn’t it?) did the first two Manhunters, and then starting working on a game called “Ancient Art of Way”. I had them planned for Manhunter 3, but when they spoke about their idea for Ancient Art of War, it sounded great – so I encouraged them to work on it.
      Unfortunately, during development, Broderbund somehow got into the loop, and convinced Dave and Barry to publish War through them. One of my “rules” was to never be the “high bidder” on anything (it’s a long story). They never returned to Sierra.
      Here’s an interesting side story:
      Broderbund’s initial box for Ancient Art of War had a picture of an ancient vase on the front. The vase had a lot of oriental writing on it – that no one knew what said. Oops – the writing was in chinese (or, Japanese) and to those who could read it, it was x-rated. Broderbund had to recall all the copies of the game that had been shipped to retail.
      -Ken W

    • #28928 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?) Ken,
      I posted this link a while ago .. I believe it was either Dave or Barry that passed away. The link can be found under Cool Sierra Links. The link leads to a Christian website, which is run by the remainder of the Murray’s. They don’t mention anything about Manhunter though.

    • #28929 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?) I did hear that one of the Murrays passed away. Sad…
      Here’s something really strange: I double checked that it was the Murrays that produced Manhunter (which it was) but what is a little bizarre is that all the articles I found through Google refer to the Murrays as a trio – Barry, Dave and Dee Dee. Obviously, I knew Dee Dee – but, the honest truth is that I can’t remember her. Darned if I know why. I remember the guys, but can’t remember her at all. Weird.
      -Ken W

    • #28930 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?) The Murry’s did AAoW? Did they do the others as well? HGrmph! I never knew that… while a fun game, Manhunter was superior… so they took a step back in that regard. (Or so I think)

      Interesting about the cover… may have to hunt for it just for collection purposes! 🙂

      And aye, one of them, sadly, did pass on. 🙁

    • #28931 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?)

      “The Murrays (it was the Murrays who wrote Manhunter, wasn’t it?) did the first two Manhunters, and then starting working on a game called “Ancient Art of Way”. I had them planned for Manhunter 3, but when they spoke about their idea for Ancient Art of War, it sounded great – so I encouraged them to work on it.

      Umm… I’m a little confused. My version of Ancient Art of War (Broderbund) says 1984, which I believe was before Manhunter. Perhaps you’re thinking of Championship Boxing, which they made under Sierra (also in 1984)? Or maybe you mean the sequel to AAOW, called Ancient Art of War in the Sea (made in 1987).

      They also made one in the air, not sure which company published it.

      “Unfortunately, during development, Broderbund somehow got into the loop, and convinced Dave and Barry to publish War through them. One of my “rules” was to never be the “high bidder” on anything (it’s a long story). They never returned to Sierra.”

      Great piece – thanks.

      Here’s an interesting side story:

      Broderbund’s initial box for Ancient Art of War had a picture of an ancient vase on the front. The vase had a lot of oriental writing on it – that no one knew what said. Oops – the writing was in chinese (or, Japanese) and to those who could read it, it was x-rated. Broderbund had to recall all the copies of the game that had been shipped to retail.

      -Ken W

    • #28932 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?)

      i once came across this site(believe the site is/was from the murray’s)
      at the moment when i click on the manhunter 3 link it doesn’t show anything anymore,dunno if this is temporarily or not.
      but it had info and 2 or 3 pics on “manhunter 3”

      manhunter was my most favorite sierra game.

      manhunter 3

    • #28933 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: Why was there never a third game?)

      go to http://www.virtualapple.com (for WinXP users) to play Manhunter New York on the II GS emulator.

      I think Manhunter would’be been cool as a Japanese-styled turn-based RPG, but then again, it’s actually really fun as is!

    • #28934 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: Why was there never a third game?)

      maybe an online mode would’ve been cool as well

      you can also check this site:both parts on amiga roms.
      i think they have sorted out the legal bits.

      Click here to go to the website

    • #28935 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: Why was there never a third game?)

      The Murrys also have a website at http://www.evryware.com. They were called Evryware even when Sierra was publishing their games.

      I corresponded with one or two of the Murrys in the past. They said that there were arguments between Ken and and them about what direction the series would be taken. The third game was to be Manhunter: London. Low sales supposedly was not an issue, as apparently the games were critically acclaimed and sold well.

      There was a page on the Evryware website about Manhunter 3 a few years back (evryware.com/manhunter3 I think, it’s gone now). I guess one day they decided they were going to make it (the year 2000 or so). They had an email addressmanhunter3@hotmail.com . I remember when I e-mailed them, they mentioned that they were planning on remaking the first two games as well.

      Just now I was snooping around on the Evryware site…you can click on the tiny icon in the lower left to view statistics on the site’s visitors, referring websites, etc. That led me to this page eventually: http://www.evryware.com/products.htm,  which still has a mention of “Manhunter 3: Ultimate Online Adventure”. So that gives you a hint of what they were planning.

      Anyway I’m sure all plans are long since cancelled, especially with the death of one the siblings. If anybody wants to try to contact them though, they might respond.

    • #28936 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: Why was there never a third game?) Hmmm… the comment that there wasn’t a third Manhunter because of disagreements with me over the direction of the series surprises me. It may be true, but it’s the first I’ve heard it. I’d be curious to know what we were disagreeing on, if we were. I don’t remember any disagreement.
      My recollection is of having tremendous respect for the Murray’s, and wishing we could work with them forever. I think they left for Broderbund primarily because Broderbund offered them a materially higher royalty than Sierra for Ancient Art of War. I remember being hurt by this because I had been involved at the beginning of Art of War, and always assumed we’d publish it – but that when we started discussing contract, we were beaten out by Broderbund.
      Over the years I had a series of what I used to call “Kens Rules” that served me well. One of these was “I never want to win a bidding war.” As soon as it became obvious that the Murray’s wanted both Sierra and Broderbund to compete for the publishing rights, I walked from the deal. I loved the product, but rules are rules. I wished the Murray’s success, but did not enter the bidding.
      Here’s the issue, and another “Ken Rule” – I always believe in playing poker with my cards face up. In most deals, if there were ongoing negotiations, the deal got worse for the other side, not better. I usually lead with my best offer. Sierra’s economics were no secret. I knew what percentage of revenue I could afford for product development, marketing, manufacturing, etc. I also knew what level of profits I needed. If there were a way that a product could fit Sierra’s business model, and succeed, that was awesome – but, if it didn’t, we were better off to pass.
      There were some awesome products that I always regretted passing on. I believe that if I been a bit more willing to deal, we could have continued to publish Richard Garriot’s products (we published the original Ultima), we once were within inches of publishing Westwoods products (Command and Conquer) and I also believe that I could have done the deal to publish Doom. But, these are exceptions. Generally, I think we succeeded in a tough market, because we did deals that were profitable for both sides. Everyone won – authors, customers – and, Sierra.
      -Ken W

    • #28937 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      (re: re: re: Why was there never a third game?)

      Ken, I’m sure you’re right about this one. I heard about the situation second-hand several years ago, while you actually lived it. It’s also a likely possibility that “arguments over the direction of the series” is a more “image-friendly” version of the bidding story (or non-bidding in this case) from Evryware’s side.

      Are you saying that if you had it to do over again, you would be less rigid with the no-bidding rule? Would bidding higher for the games you mentioned have definitely been profitable for Sierra? Or would that have compromised the company’s values and been detrimental in the long-run?

      Also how did you get so business-savvy? Did you read up on the subject a lot, have some good mentors, or was it just instinctual and you learned as you went?

    • #28938 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      They did release both Ancient Art of War games before the Manhunter series. This is from Sierra´s Tenth Anniversary catalog (1989), page 32:

      “Dave and Barry Murry got started designing computer games in 1980. They designed an air traffic control simulator, but decided that games would be more fun. When IBM released its first PC, they developed ‘Sierra Championship Boxing’. After the success of their games ‘The Ancient Art of War’ and ‘The Ancient Art of War at Sea’, Ken Williams asked them to do a game using Sierra’s Adventure Game Interpreter system. In 1988, Sierra released the first in the horrorific Manhunter series, ‘Manhunter: New York’, designed by Dave, Barry, and their sister DeeDee Murry.”

    • #28939 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      I could have sworn an Ancient Art of War game came shortly after the last Manhunter.

      (Rapid modem field trip to mobygames.com, where I’m not quite as hated as at 1up)

      Okay, that clears it up. The Murrys worked on two Ancient Art of War games beforehand, and then Ancient Art of War in the Skies in 1992. So the answer is pretty much “both.”

      The argument story could go either way, but it certainly could have been a matter of perception. If I were in Ken’s place I’d probably be a bit tweaked about how things went, which could easily translate into something more than it really is in the eyes of the Murrys. But really, all we have are guesses.

    • #28940 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      This is a topic I have long wondered about… and I never could get a straight answer out of my dad (Barry Murry) or uncle (Dave Murry). This thread certainly makes them sound like jerks! I know that my family has the highest respect for Ken, and I regret how things ended. However, I can offer a bit of clarity in a few areas.

      I do know that it was not Evryware who said that there were “disagreements with the direction of the series” with Ken. It is our belief that it was the result of standard internet speculation, in combination with John’s theory that “disagreements” simply meant that a business deal was not reached. Also, Evryware seriously pursued Manhunter 3 about 10 years ago, but Sierra was going through “changes” (post Ken era) and they were not interested. Nor would they release the rights to the series. The project fell through. But I could see how this could be translated into “disagreements”.

      So fast forward. Evryware decides to get out of the game business to explore various side projects. But over the course of the last ten years, we have periodically toyed with returning to Manhunter 3. A thought that never really died, but never made any progress either (which is as good as dead). Attempts were made to get in discussions with Sierra again, but they always failed.

      Until April 2008.

      After encouraging discussions with Sierra, we have been developing a prototype game (featuring Day One, of Manhunter: New York) to find out if our concept (currently on paper) is actually fun to play by today’s standards, while keeping the soul of the original. After ten years, we were finally making progress.

      Then, last week, Sierra’s pending doom was announced. The future of Sierra is unclear. Despite what happens, the momentum has started and the demo is in progress. We will complete the prototype. But the future hinges on what happens to Sierra (or whoever ends up with the rights to Manhunter) after the dust settles.

      So, if there is anyone left who cares, April 2008 is the first time since 1989 that a new Manhunter is in development. Not a full game, just a proof of concept at this point. But that’s better than nothing right?

      I am interested in hearing any thoughts or feedback. Feel free to email me! And thank you for all the kind words on this site. It provides a lot of motivation and inspiration. When the time comes, I will be back looking for some input on what you guys think of the demo.

      Have a great weekend!

      Mike Murry

      mike@evryware.com

    • #28941 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Feedback?  

      I’d eat my right arm for Manhunter 3 made by anyone with Murry as a last name.

    • #28942 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      That’s cool.  Would be awesome if other Sierra designers from back in the day decided to revisit their series.  If someone respectable could grab the Sierra brand and rights, then maybe we can get these old franchises from out of limbo.

      I think every Sierra fan would be interested in a new Manhunter game.

    • #28943 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      I would be interested.  Smiley

      Lately the Blue Puff Software team has been checking out games like Sherlock Holmes Nemesis and Dracula Origin. They’re OK; nothing special once you play through them. 
      Manhunter 3 would be great to see!  
      Here’s the thing about updates: Now that we have 3-D graphics, some of these games seem to be gorey.  Back in Manhunter 1 and 2, the pixel resolution was a big factor.  It will be interesting to see what rating MH3 receives from the ESRB. Smiley
    • #28944 Reply
      Unknown,Unknown
      Participant

      Hey Mike, Ken, and everyone,

      I always wondered the same thing about a third game, especially since the events at the end of the second pushed heavily towards a sequel. To me, Manhunter: New York and San Francisco were the perfect games at the right time: I was barely ten or twelve, in my gore-and-monsters phase, and here was an interesting story told with images, technology, and characters that were both unusual and captivating.

      Maybe I’m showing my ignorance, but I hadn’t seen anything like this before. Even back then, it seemed fresh. It wasn’t riffing off Blade Runner. Its alien designs were eerie and novel. Its point and click adventure style was different, too. It didn’t have the superimposed text like Deja Vu, Shadowgate, or the Lucasfilm games. And the idea that no one in the world could talk, that everything had to be expressed visually was a cheat that just added to the atmosphere. I poured through the reading materials offered for the game, and me, my brother, and my Dad tackled it together. Yeah, a lot of why I love the game probably comes from the way that I was exposed to it. Perfect timing, playing though it with the family, feeling like we’re unravelling a mystery.

      Though I was already a huge fan of the Sierra games, this one came with a different visual style, interface, and personality. I did notice at the time that the graphics weren’t up to snuff with it’s concurrent Sierra releases, but the art style more than made up for it. And its use of the UI-less point and click was so damn farsighted.

      You talk about bringing out a new one today, and I just don’t know how you could do that. It was never a huge success compared with the other Sierra games, though it seems to have its fans even today. It would basically be an unknown property, as hard to get off the ground as any new game idea. If you did want to do it, how would you approach it? You can see examples of how the genre has progressed with games like those from Quantic Dreams, or the newer Myst games. These have taken the threads that were created with the early point and click adventure games, and brought them into new directions. Would I love a Heavy Rain style Manhunter game? You can be pretty sure I’d go nuts about it. But that’s about $20,000,000 more development dollars than I think you’d manage to accrue.

      Maybe a more realistic goal is for an “updated retro” like Braid, or the Bionic Commando remake. Have beautiful art assets, assembled in a relatively low-budget manner, but doing something novel and new. Hell, a flash game with similar input episodically continuing the storyline would be great. I think the trick is to make something on the cheap without appearing cheap, and that does require design, innovation, and a hell of a lot of talent. Imagine Manhunter as a 2D adventure game, rendered with some cel shaded, Frank Miller style artwork. It always seemed like a great comic book, maybe that sort of treatment would be more consistent with the world than a big budget 3D moneyfest anyway, right?

      Do know that if you make anything, and you make it with the best of your effort, I am going to be there, first in line. And I’ll badger my friends about this old game that inspired me, and how it’s coming back. I do owe you guys that much.

      Sincerely,
      John Brandon

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