Every Cloud: The Silver Lining Lives!

By John Walker on June 28th, 2010 at 9:30 am.

Cheer up! It's back!

You may remember back in March we brought you the very sad news that the giant, evil clawed feet of Activision had cruelly stomped down on the fan-made King’s Quest game, The Silver Lining. Well, it turns out that Activision’s feet are fluffy little kitten paws, not capable of crushing a weeny bug. (Or perhaps somewhere in between – Realism Ed) A deal has been struck between the amateur developers, Phoenix Online Studios, and the giant laser-eyed robot publisher, and the first episode of the new game will be released on the 10th July. That would be in two weeks!

The game has been in development for over eight years, and was so very close to completion when Activision noticed they owned the Sierra-developed King’s Quest series and decided that previous agreements were invalid. However, thanks to a fan campaign and perhaps a series of ghost-led dreams showing Activision bosses the errors of their ways, some manner of deal is struck and the games will be available for that ever popular price: free.

You can read lots more details at The Silver Lining’s site, as well as see some of the impressive screenshots.

And this does seem to once more be to do with the excellent fans of the series. They write to their fans:

“They say lightning never strikes twice, but once again, you’ve proven them wrong.

We are extremely happy to announce that our project, The Silver Lining, will definitely see the light of day!

In a wonderful turn of events, Activision reached out to the Phoenix Online team a few months ago with a desire to revisit their decision regarding The Silver Lining. After negotiations, the C&D has been officially rescinded, and Phoenix Online has been granted a non-commercial license to release The Silver Lining!

Our team is ecstatic about this, and as hard as we’ve worked for 8 years, it’s the tireless belief and support of you, our fans, that has made this possible. We want to give special thanks to the Save The Silver Lining team, who put together and ran an amazing and organized campaign, and rallied our fantastic fans to make a difference. You made it possible once, and now we’ve done what seemed impossible for a second time! The support we received from all of you was amazing and honestly blew us away. We always knew we had some of the best fans out there, but even so, wow! We will always be grateful for your unending belief in us.

And that’s not the only good news we have for you: the first episode of The Silver Lining will be released in just two weeks on July 10th! The long wait is almost over, and we couldn’t have done it without you!”

And have a trailer:

, , , .

34 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    amazing news!
    hoping for this to be excellent and that we’ll see the other episodes too

  2. N says:

    Man those faces scare the crap outta me. It’s like looking at a bunch of lunatics 0:27-0:33, lol.

  3. Tei says:

    Book Of Moders

    – Page 1 –

    Rule 1: Never clone a popular movie, videogame, book or other pop cultural item. Create your stuff from scratch, that way is your thing. Good or bad. Using other people work because you like that stuff, and you want to build on that popularity is a big NO-NO.

    • Dominic White says:

      In the case of The Silver Lining, the developers actually had signed authorization to use the license.

      And then the license changed hands to Activision. And Activision decided that they didn’t like that previous deal. Why? Corporate spite seems to be the only halfway reasonable explanation.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I just don’t get why they would bother. Make a totally generic fantasy adventure (i.e. inspired by King’s Quest) and then sell it.

      KG

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      Because fans really care about IP, to the point where there wouldn’t have been the game at all if it wasn’t a King’s Quest game. Fandom is weird.

    • poop says:

      Kieron like half a dozen spiritual sucessors have come and gone in the last eight years but for whatever reason none have recieved the love that this awkwardly-CG’ed masterpiece will

    • Tei says:

      And by building this new game, you makes the King Quest IP even more interesting. You act somewhat like a inverse robin hood, making the rich more rich.

    • Thirith says:

      @Kieron: As far as I remember, KQ, at least for the most part, wasn’t about generic fantasy – it was basically a fairy-tale mash-up, where you’d bump into the witch from “Hänsel and Gretel” in one screen and the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” in the next. Generic fantasy would be orcs and elves, wouldn’t it?

  4. Premium User Badge

    AndrewC says:

    This doesn’t half feel like the worst of both worlds, in that it is now a ‘proper’ game and, as such isn’t the plucky underdog. Any amatuerishness or low production value around the edges of this game will be ripped apart mercilessly.

    But, far more importantly, the dog heads. I don’t like the dog heads. The way they have really long necks and the heads are far too small. It’s wrong. Wrong. They scare me.

  5. rocketman71 says:

    Kotick is still an enormous dick.

  6. GuideBot says:

    The real crime is that they’re releasing a King’s Quest game without a truly godawful pun as its title.

    It’s pleasing to see that Activision are backing down on shutting down a fangame that they previously let slide so as not to waste 8 years of effort but as others have said – why spend eight years of your life creating something in someone else’s world?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Why cover someone else’s song?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Drewski: Two reasons….

      1) You can get paid covering people’s songs.
      2) If you don’t, it’s a few minutes versus a few years.

      KG

    • Nick says:

      Well.. and you like them and want to pay tribute to them would be a third reason, shirley?

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      Another reason is to piggy back on a song people actually like in order to achieve far higher success than their own songs would ever get them. And then spend the next decade being stuck in a hell of it being the only song people want you to play. I’m thinking of Alien Ant Farm’s Smooth Criminal, but if anyone has a not-ancient example that would be cool!

      Still: 8 years on a fan game! Weird, possibly even creepy, but definitely loyal. And lord knows creators have always put up with the former in order to reap the benefits of the latter.

      I really hope it’s a good game. That would at least be a kind of happy ending.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      @Frightlever. No, that’s defeated me. If you know the background of it, you can tell me if it is a completely deadpan bit of pastiche of both the winsomeness of girly singers and the pantomime posturing of gangster rap?

      Just, from that excerpt, it sounds completely straight. Please, please tell me.

  7. neems says:

    Of course if it proves especially popular / successful, be prepared for future installments being monetised.

  8. Risingson says:

    Oh shit. You made me go back to the “Silver Lining down” entry, and saw that I missed a Wolf reply that could have develop a really witty, sarcastic, evil and devastating answer that could have began first a very cruel and remorseless flame war and would end in an everlasting tale of love.

    Anyway.

  9. Al3xand3r says:

    Why are people saying stuff like “it’s now a proper game” and “it will be monetised”? It’s still a fan game, unless the big news here isn’t the game’s release but that Activision hired the “studio”? Otherwise, allowing the release of a free fan game is far different to allowing someone else to profit from their own IP. The latter won’t ever happen, and thus, it’s not a “proper game” so it should still be treated as the fan creation it is, and it won’t be monetised. Right?

    Anyway, their art is whimsical enough, but will the plot and puzzles be on par? We’ll see. You can play the VGA remakes until then to get in the mood:

    I’ve got my fill of adventures for now, by playing and finishing Beneath a Steel Sky for the first time (free, with voice overs, from the ScummVM website), being in the middle of Fate of Atlantis and Machinarium (on sale on Steam atm), and just buying Syberia and Syberia 2 from GoG for just $10. I’ll get to the VGA remakes at some point Happy

    Edit: oh yeah, I also played through 6 Days a Sacrifice, it’s quite a good and disturbing freeware adventure game and part of a full series by Yahtzee (all the Days and Trilby stuff are part of it, except The Art of Theft which is an amazing little side scrolling stealth game instead). It’s probably best to play them all in order but some are pretty crude in comparison, at least in their interface, but yeah, it was really great.

    Though my favorite of all of the above has to be Beneath a Steel Sky, everyone should play that game. Everyone! Look all these names up, they’re easy to find and will surely strike your fancy.

    • Clovis says:

      I doubt a bunch of fans could manage to create puzzles that would be on par with King’s Quest, which was basically adventure gaming puzzle perfection.

    • Ozzie says:

      Hahaha, I agree with Clovis in my own words: I don’t hope the “plot and puzzles [will] be on par”, I hope they will be better. ;)
      Of course, KQ6 is in its own class compared to the rest of the series, so I hope it reaches that standard.

  10. Pani says:

    Is it free because of the dealings with the licence?

    If it’s just a choice issue, it seems strange that they wouldn’t charge something for it. It seems suited to a pay-what-you-want model – a niche market like this (old fans and adventure gamers in general) would pay at least pennies for something like this. I also assume no boxed distribution.

  11. Premium User Badge

    ErraticGamer says:

    I look forward to playing the first several episodes before they get another cease and desist just as they’re about to release the final installment.

    I’m glad that the boot has been lifted, at least for now, and that all their hard work isn’t going to be completely for naught, but I also have to agree with others that just making a similar fantasy adventure without actually trying to use the license probably would have saved them a ton of heartache. I’m a pretty big King’s Quest fan, and I’d have been perfectly happy playing a similar game without the same characters.

  12. Burningpet says:

    Activision approach, although wrong, can be slightly understood.

    if the game is crap, the ip get hurts, even if a little bit. and it doesnt matter if it is a free, fan made game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Eric says:

      You know, I just don’t know that I buy that. A bad cover of a great song doesn’t hurt the original song. All the lousy Harry Potter fanfic in the world doesn’t diminish from the original books. Why should somebody making a King’s Quest fan-game, no matter what the quality, impact the King’s Quest name any more than it would in other media? Nobody judges the Star Wars franchise based on Dorkman’s Youtube lightsaber videos (though honestly it might be an improvement).

      Especially in the case of King’s Quest, where the entire genesis of the series was to take as many non-copyrighted children’s fables as they could find and mash them all into one world – I mean it’s basically the most derivative premise possible, how can you infringe on it? Don’t get me wrong, I agree that they’d obviously have been better off legally to change the character names and call it “Royal Adventure” or whatever, but still, I think it’s hard to argue they’re doing harm to anything.

    • Burningpet says:

      @eric – There’s a very simple answer for that.

      its not about people playing and badly judging an official sequel because of a free fan made version they played, it is about what will people might stumble upon when googling a game title they have never heard of.

      if said 15 y/o kid stumble on the fan made version thinking it is the official version that he just saw a news flash about in eurogamer, thats a potentially lost sale for activision. it is dumb, but it is also a reality of a worldwide attention span disease.

    • Premium User Badge

      Eric says:

      Sure, and it’s remotely possible that somebody stumbles on a terrible Harry Potter fanfic and somehow imagines that that’s the real thing and costs J.K. Rowling a sale, too. I don’t think that’s sufficient grounds for calling fanfic harmful to Rowling’s I.P.

      I understand the legal argument behind saying nonprofit derivative works are harmful, I just don’t agree with it.

      (I tried to post this reply before, and it ended up a comment at the bottom. Not sure how. Feel free to delete it down there, some Godly being with the power to do so.)

  13. Clovis says:

    Based on that trailer, this appears to be a mash up of King’s Quest and AAAAaaaAAAaaah! A Reckless Disregard of Gravity. I don’t seem to remember King Graham falling down so much.

    I guess it’s a testament to Steam that I have way to many games I have paid for to consider taking the time to try this out for free.

  14. Thirith says:

    I hope it’s mainly modelled on King’s Quest VI. The rest of the series never appealed all that much to me, but KQ6 was up there with Quest for Glory 2, as far as I’m concerned.

  15. Andy_Panthro says:

    Without the fans we’d almost never see good remakes of older games, and the Quest series would be dead.

    These industrious folks help the series reach new gamers, and how can that not be a good thing?

    For anyone that’s interested in such things, there are remakes of King’s Quest 1, 2 (AGD Interactive) and KQ3 (Infamous Adventures), a remake in progress of King’s Quest 4 (Magic Mirror Games) and of course you can pick up some of the Quest series at your favourite digital distribution outlets like Good Old Games.

    Also,

    Keep it under your hats folks, but the real news here isn’t The Silver Lining, but in fact Infamous Adventure’s “Kingdom of Sorrow”. More information over at Infamous Adventures website.

    http://infamous-adventures.com/index.php

  16. subversus says:

    It’s horrible that some people are gnashing at the quality of an amateur-made fan game which is released for free. A ton of efforts and love went into it and people judge it as it were an AAA-game. These people deserved to suck their own dicks in Hell for eternity.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Eric says:

    Sure, and it’s remotely possible that somebody stumbles on a terrible Harry Potter fanfic and somehow imagines that that’s the real thing and costs J.K. Rowling a sale, too. I don’t think that’s sufficient grounds for calling fanfic harmful to Rowling’s I.P.

    I understand the legal argument behind saying nonprofit derivative works are harmful, I just don’t agree with it.