Necromancy is a perennial interest of the video games industry. Not the cool kind where Cara and I wander around a graveyard doing Morrissey impressions and chanting spells we learned from The Craft but the grim sort where someone realises they have a corpse in a freezer somewhere so sure, why not dig it out from beneath the frozen pizzas and curly fries and attempt to spark some form of life into its frostburnt husk? What could possibly go wrong?
Which is to say that it seems Activision have exhumed Sierra‘s corpse and are preparing sacrifices for a dark ritual at Gamescom (which begins on August 13). “King’sss Quesssst” hiss the shadows.
Sierra was around in some form from 1979 to 2008, when parent company Vivendi merged with Activision. Sierra is, of course, long-dead. Almost everyone who made King’s Quest, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight, Police Quest, Phantasmagoria, SWAT, and Leisure Suit Larry what they were, or championed publishing games like Half-Life, left forever and an age ago. What remains is a name owned by Activision Blizzard and little more. As far as we know, anyway.
But names are powerful. Names bind demons. Names are as powerful as we believe they are. Valve, id, Irrational, Maxis, Half-Life, Doom, Shock, Sim–these names hold power because of our expectations. This means the people whose flesh Activision ritually tattoo and scarify with the name might also believe in it, in what it once was, and the spirit longing to find flesh again. But never forget that a name is ultimately only a name.
Games journo Geoff Keighley and Wayward Manor devs The Odd Gentlemen have engaged in vague tweeteasing back and forth about the Gents making a new King’s Quest game, which, sure, sounds possible. Telltale once planned to make such a thing, but confirmed last year that they no longer did and had no idea what Activision planned with the rights.