Telltale Ends Its Quest For A King’s Quest Revival

I’ll admit, I’m rather bemused by the desire for more King’s Quest. It seems that everyone else has far more affection for the series than I ever mustered, far preferring the runs of Police Quest, Space Quest and Quest For Glory. I’d throw money at a Police Quest Kickstarter so hard it’d fall over backward. But reviving King’s Quest is clearly the dream for many, and until recently, was a dream of Telltale’s.

I remember sitting in Telltale’s cramped booth at E3 2011, surrounded by posters teasing various new projects they wouldn’t talk about. They would talk about Jurassic Park, the lunatics, but despite clear hints that they were working on something with the old Sierra license, they kept mum.

Digital Trends spotted that Activision have resecured the rights to the ancient adventure series – something that seemed odd in light of Telltale’s previous hints that it was now theirs. Oddly enough, it was only a month ago that Telltale were saying they would have news about the game soon, although it seems odd that it would be this news. But a statement from the studio given to DT reads,

“While we deeply love King’s Quest here at Telltale, we can confirm that we are no longer working on the franchise. There was a time last year that we investigated partnering with third party developers to produce the game as a partnership but decided against outsourcing. We are not privy to what plans Activision has for the franchise, if any.”

The muddle of King’s Quest rights has been long confusing. For ten years Phoenix Online were struggling to get the rights to release their fan tribute, The Silver Lining, eventually ending with Activision’s relenting after a phenomenal written assault from potential players. In more recent years, Replay have been trying to license the rights from both Telltale and Activision to create remakes, in the style of their Kickstartered Larry reboot.

Now Replay’s Paul Trowe is hinting that Activision has its own plans for the series. But frankly, we’ve heard that before. Activision seems to have made a career out of sitting on Sierra licenses and doing nothing with them, so I would advise against anyone’s holding their breath.


  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Now how about reviving Freddy Pharkas: Frontier Pharmacist? :)

    EDIT: Outbrain? What it even is?!

    • KristaMitchell says:

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    • Thermal Ions says:

      My god, I can’t believe I’d completely forgotten about that game.

      I’ve fond memories of day one purchases or every Sierra adventure game that was released during their KQ, PQ, SQ hay days.

  2. Jamesworkshop says:

    I think Kings quest is more enduring simply because it has a better ring to the name

  3. Nasarius says:

    King’s Quest 4-6 were really brilliant games, even if they did have the occasional bit of evil design that forced you to replay the whole game if you missed one thing.

    But I have very mixed feelings about what Telltale has done with old franchises, so I’m not entirely sad to see this canned.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I’d be willing to defend both King’s Quest 1 and King’s Quest 3, which had their merits. King’s Quest 2 is worth avoiding though.

      • LionsPhil says:

        KQ1 is, if nothing else, pretty much the definitive Sierra adventure game: its stock, default state of being.

        Which is to say, bastardly.

      • Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

        When KQ came out in I think 1984, it was pretty groundbreaking. But I’d say it was all downhill from there.

    • Barchester says:

      No. KQ4 is the worst game I have ever player. In some cases unfinishable, in other cases infuriating, but overall just plain awful.

  4. HothMonster says:

    Hooray Call of Kings Quest: Click this Bitch, confirmed for 2014.

    Seriously though IP campers are the worst campers.

  5. epmode says:

    This is for the best. I always wanted to see Telltale become some kind of Lucasarts offshoot but their games have invariably disappointed since Sam and Max Season 1.

    I guess I should play beyond episode 1 of The Walking Dead, though.

    • SRTie4k says:

      The Walking Dead is definitely worth playing. I’m very much looking forward to TWD Season 2.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        God… that ending…

        Two great sociopath tests: The hospital scene in the movie “The Invention of Lying” and the ending of Telltale’s TWD. If the person doesn’t, at the very least, choke up a little bit, there is an extremely high likelihood they are a sociopath.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Not a fan of Telltale’s games, tried a couple and didn’t enjoy them.

      After all the hype for TWD I am tempted though, but I’m still not sure if it’s worth it.

      • HothMonster says:

        I too was a naysayer of telltale and was disappointed in every purchase I made from them. I avoided TWD for quite awhile. Eventually my SO got it on sale and I gave it a go. I was happy to be wrong and enjoyed season one a lot. I’m still going to tentatively circle any other game they release while making disparaging remarks but I look forward to season 2 of TWD.

        • Subject 706 says:

          Agree. Telltales Monkey Island remakes I found decidedly not funny, their Sam & Max episodes were wildly uneven. Some were quite good and some were extremely boring. The walking dead is their only offering that kept me constantly wanting more.

    • themindstream says:

      Personally, I thought Season 3 of Sam and Max was exceptional and would love if Telltale were to come back to it, but given that part of the reason KQ fell by the wayside was the unexpected runaway success of The Walking Dead and that in another recent interview, one of the TT heads talked about looking more in new directions, it doesn’t seem very likely any time soon.

      I shouldn’t fault them too much though. In an industry plagued by samey sequelitis, variety is a good thing.

    • pilouuuu says:

      What? If anything Telltale games have been getting better since Sam and Max Season 2. Season 1 was a bit underwhelming, although it had some fun moments and S2 and S3 were much, much better, being almost brilliant at moments.

      Telltale’s only really awful game was Jurassic Park, but overall they’re good fun, but flawed. Yes, even The Walking Dead. But anyway they’re one of my favourite developers around.

  6. Captain Joyless says:


    oh my god why do i still know that

    • DrollRemark says:

      If I could have any rubbish superpower, it would definitely be the ability to forget the content of any game/book/film at will. Adventure games would be so much more fun if I didn’t immediately remember all the solutions as soon as I started.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        So, your superpower would be Alzheimer’s or brain trauma?

        True story, when my grandfather was nearing the late stages of Alzheimer’s, he loved watching his favorite Western movies oaver and over because, every few weeks, it was like watching it for the first time all over again. One time, when he was watching “Galaxy Quest” with my Mom, he turned to her and said, “this is the oddest episode of Star Trek I’ve ever seen.”

        As for brain trauma, check this out: link to

      • Somerled says:

        I’d like to forget the solutions, but never that shitty pixel art. I grew up on Police Quest 1; finished the game on my own by age 6. I can probably redraw every screen from memory, and I cherish that.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Ah, but you don’t “grab” the fiddle, you have to trade for it by giving them the ever-refilling bowl!

      • MacTheGeek says:

        Just be careful you don’t fall down the holes in the floor.

  7. BarneyL says:

    Activision to release Kings Quest 9 as an FPS in 2014.
    You heard it here first!

  8. gschmidl says:

    Good news, John!

    “On February 2nd, 2013 Jim [Walls, designer of Police Quest] did a live audio podcast with Co-Founder of Guys From Andromeda LLC, Chris Pope. Jim announced live that he has plans to create a new adventure game similar to Police Quest. This will be a new IP for Jim. The announcement also included plans to use Kickstarter as the funding method for the new game”

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Did anyone play “Blue Force”, which was a police quest-like game designed by Jim Walls back in 1993? It was his attempt at a new IP, and I wonder how well it did (the scores on Mobygames don’t look kind). link to

      • PampleMoose says:

        It was alright, as I remember (been a few years since I played it). Was more of a straight up adventure game and less a police procedural, when compared to PQ, as I recall (although you had to radio in using actual radio codes, which didn’t get used in PQ). I think what let it down were the facts that even at the time it wasn’t anything to write home about in terms of audio or visuals, and the story was pretty B-grade (and BF relied more on its story than PQ did).

  9. derella says:

    KQ was definitely at the bottom of the list of Sierra games I liked. A new Quest for Glory game would make me happy though.

  10. PampleMoose says:

    I agree with John. Pretty over Kings Quest, but I would happily thrown a lotta dollas at a new PQ. And no, I don’t mean a SWAT game (although that would be appreciated as well). I think an old school style PQ with a telltale visual touch and UI overhaul could be excellent.

  11. blackmyron says:

    I did not have fond memories of King’s Quest – the awful puzzles (the riddle of the gnome’s name is probably one of the worst I’ve ever come across), and incredible lethality turned me off on that game and related series.
    If there was anything I’d like to see return from Sierra’s line-up, it would be Gabriel Knight. Despite some wonky puzzles (especially the certain notorious one from the last game that RPS often references) the story was always enjoyable.

    I guess it’s ironic that Activision has the license for both one-time rivals Sierra and Infocom, and sits on both.

    • Fluka says:

      I actually have lovely memories of King’s Quest, and I was delighted when I discovered they were on Good Old Games a year or so ago. So I reinstalled KQ6, thinking “Oh man, this will be so much better now that I’m 20 years older and so much smarter!”

      Fifteen minutes later, I clicked “Uninstall” and overturned my coffee table in rage.

      • Subject 706 says:

        My experience is similar. I grew up with the early text-parser Sierra games. King’s quest 1 and 2 were actually used as an english learning tool in my school, when I was in first grade. I never had any illusions of going back to the early-text parser ega-adventures now that I’m 33, but the vga-ones still hold up, right?

        Many do. But not king’s quest, unfortunately. The whole series now collects digital dust in the ScummVM folder of my tablet…

        Oh, and one Sierra EGA-adventure is still quite interesting. Conquests Of Camelot. That one cries out for a remake.

  12. tkioz says:

    King’s Quest from Activision… I’m betting it’s going to be a FPS with microtransactions and an ingame auction house, along with an always-online connection requirement.