It Rises: Sierra Returns With Geometry Wars & King’s Quest

By Alice O'Connor on August 12th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Hello, old friend.

The ritual is complete. Sinew gristle muscle fat slither and wrap around the blackened bones of Sierra. Blood skin hair. Its mouth opens and teeth pierce bone as they rise, a tongue unrolling from the back of the throat. “Gaaammesss,” it hisses. “Video gaaames.” Jelly congeals into eyes which flick around, taking in the year 2014. “I-inn independent gaaamesss!”

As expected, Activision have resurrected Sierra in the sense that they’ve dusted off the revered name to use it for a new part of their business. The new Sierra will be Activision’s indie publishing label, kicking things off with Geometry Wars 3 and a new King’s Quest game.

Sierravision don’t specifically mention PC releases for these, but the announcement is peppered with talk of how Steam is great and how they’ll release games all over the place.

The new entry in comedy fantasy adventure series King’s Quest is being made by Winterbottom and Wayward Manor chaps The Odd Gentlemen, as was rumoured. It’s due next year. “In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life’s adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn,” sez the announcement. “It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather.”

Geometry Wars3: Dimensions, meanwhile, is being developed by Lucid Games, one of the many studios formed by folks from Bizarre Creations after Activision closed the Geometry Wars and Blur studio in 2011. Geometry Wars creator Stephen Cakebread says he’s not involved, mind.

As the name might suggest, it’s taking the arena shooter series into fancy 3D. It’ll also bring online competitive and cooperative multiplayer, loads of new modes, and some sort of “dynamic and persistent progression”, whatever that means, to keep it changing. It’s due later this year.

These two make a fairly solid start. Activision also hint that more old Sierra series might return. Come on, new Phantasmagoria! Or a new SWAT might be quite nice.

Here, have a comment from Sierra co-founder Ken Williams (long since retired from video games):

“We’re very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today’s news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging. … We look forward to seeing Sierra’s independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King’s Quest.”

Activision came to own the Sierra brand and all its bits and pieces when it merged with Vivendi to form Activision Blizzard in 2008.

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39 Comments »

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  1. Keyrock says:

    I’ve never played anything by The Odd Gentlemen. I know PB Winterbottom was well received, Wayward Manor, not so much. Hopefully they do King’s Quest justice. I wonder if the new Sierra will wind up publishing Jane Jensen’s Gabriel Knight remake? It would make sense.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I wonder what Roberta Williams makes of this.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      If Wayward Manor is any indication, it’ll be well written but a mobile game apathy-clicker masquerading as a PC game

  2. Grimpeaper says:

    Quest for Glory, please! (well, actually, only if the Coles are involved, but still…)

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      Lars Westergren says:

      I really really hope Hero-U turns out alright. Delays are worrying though.

      • laggerific says:

        I’d be worried if they didn’t delay it to completely revamp the engine. The alpha/test level they released showed a fun game with great humor, and a terrible look. Going with a proper 3D engine for the final release is the right way to go…the question I have, though, is when are we going to see the new look in all of its glory.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      They’re currently busy making Hero-U, but personally I wouldn’t mind seeing someone else’s take on Quest for Glory, as long as they don’t just make it the same old boring modern RPG trash. There are plenty of things you could do with the adventure/RPG hybrid genre that might appeal to a current audience.

      • Grimpeaper says:

        That’s a fair point, I just worry about the heart and soul of the series being lost by another dev team. Probably not a legitimate worry, I’m just super, super nostalgic about the QFG series. And have actually been replaying all 5 with each class.

    • teije says:

      Both the CRPG Addict and the Adventure Gamer blogged their way very recently through Quest For Glory II. Both blogs well worth following if you like the classics in either/both RPG and adventure genres.

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        dahauns says:

        The nicest thing is that Corey Cole is quite active in the comments there – and he seems to have kept his spirit.

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        Andy_Panthro says:

        Corey Cole is an occasional commenter at both the Adventure Gamer and CRPG Addict blogs, which is nice (especially when giving a bit of behind-the-scenes info about his time at Sierra).

        I’m looking forward to Hero-U, I have confidence that the Coles know what they’re doing!

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      The Quest for Glory series actually ended, though. As in the Coles brought the story of the Hero of Spielburg to an appropriate close (even if QFG5 Dragonfire ended up not being nearly as good a game as the previous four). As such, no, I would most definitely not want to see this Sierra-in-name-only thing try to bring it back again.

  3. jonfitt says:

    The two announced games are interesting, as is the fact that Activision will have a dedicated indie games publishing wing.
    However using the name Sierra is like calling it Elvis and expecting us to think that the King is back. The name holds nostalgic feels, but in this context it is meaningless.

    • Iain_1986 says:

      Except one of the two announced games is from the Sierra IP, with more hinted.

      Do you honestly think a Kings Quest game would be announced if it was just called “Activision Indie”? Sure its not the Sierra team, but the fact its *called* Sierra is having a sway on the *types* of games so far.

      But hey, cynicism works round here so sure, its meaningless.

  4. acheron says:

    Tilted Mill (what’s left of the Impressions studio that made Caesar, Pharaoh, et al.) was last heard from making a medieval town-building game until they ran out of funding or something. Hint, hint.

    Also: Outpost reboot. Not that Outpost had a good reputation, but it should have been good.

    Also also: I would not be opposed to a Dr Brain game in the style of Castle and Island. I loved those as a youngster and if one comes out a few years from now my son will be the right age…

    *re-reads article, sees the name “Activision”, sighs*

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      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Tilted Mill is not all that’s left of Impressions. And as for medieval town building games, I think you need to research the people responsible for Caesar a bit better :P

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    Lars Westergren says:

    I told you people not to spill any blood on the attic floor.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    >Independent publishing
    >Associated with a major AAA publisher
    >First announced game is using the name of a major commercial effort which was funded by fucking IBM, back when those three letters meant “huge, massive, serious computing money” even to the layman

    This is possibly the most confused branding necrophilia exercise I’ve seen yet.

    • Sam says:

      Semantics takes another both literal and figurative blow.
      The Americans say it’s quite worrying, the English say it’s more than quite worrying.
      The IGF remove another category, replacing it with Best Branding Exercise and award it to Activision.

      Poor Indie games. They should have never gotten cool.
      (Alice’s characterisation of the situation in the first paragraph was brilliant and funny.)

  7. aliksy says:

    Meh. I’m good with not giving activision any more money.

  8. ArtyFishal says:

    Hell yeah! Geometry Wars 3! Sierra is back, baby!

  9. derbefrier says:

    I really enjoyed the previous geometry wars games. I hoe the new one doesn’t suck

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      Lexx87 says:

      It’s in 3D.

      It’ll be shit.

      • derbefrier says:

        Yeah you are probably right but I dare to hope.

        • The complete works of Herbert Quain says:

          If you liked Geometry Wars, especially the first, I highly recommend Waves. It’s pretty similar and I find it a lot better.

          • The First Door says:

            I genuinely didn’t get on with Waves, I found the enemy design to be too similar in the heat of battle.

            My recommendation would be Echoes from Binary Zoo. It’s asteroids meets Geometry Wars and it’s free!

            http://www.binaryzoo.com/echoes_page/

            Mono (one of their other games) is also a good giggle!

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      FriendlyFire says:

      Am I alone who feels that Geometry Wars was good as a one-off, but didn’t really need sequels? All the new releases for the game feel as awkward as a Tetris 2 would be.

  10. chargen says:

    New Arcanum goddammit!

    Look across the swath of new oldschool, indie-ish RPGs coming out and dive the fk in, Activision! Even Ubi did it with Might and Magic! I think that one sold okay! But I’m not sure!

    • Keyrock says:

      I don’t know if Might & Magic X sold well, but it was a rather good game and surprisingly true to the old M&M games, maybe a bit too true to the old M&M games.

  11. rocketman71 says:

    I wonder how much they paid Ken Williams for that bite.

    Oh, well, another brand from our youth is going through the mud. Again, Acti and EA keep competing on who can piss better over our memories. Wonder what Ubi will do, those bastards can never be far behind.

    • Torn says:

      Shh don’t give EA any ideas. They’ll re-launch Bullfrog and/or Mythic as cloud-first mobile-first game farms

      • tyren says:

        Mythic already was that before it shut down for good.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Please no.

      • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

        They brought back “Maxis,” so anything’s possible, I guess. I’d much prefer they didn’t, though.

  12. Pich says:

    Weekend at Bernie’s anyone?

  13. Babymech says:

    I will pay plenty to just play Shadow of Yserbius online again.

  14. squareking says:

    I mean, their logo was never great, but wow what an update. Yikes.

  15. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    For the love of cheese just make Geometry Wars Geometry Wars! Do a proper PC port. Keep pacifism in it.

    These are all simple tasks.