Adventure Begins: King’s Quest Episode 1 Released

The adventure has begun! Both the episodic new King’s Quest [official site], and what might really happen as Activision dusts off the old Sierra name and catalogue for the modern age. It’s not the first game released under the new Sierra ‘indie label’ (that’s Geometry Wars 3), but King’s Quest is pretty iconic for Sierra. It can never live up to people’s memories of King’s Quest, but might it be a merry lark?

You can find out for yourself, as the first episode, named A Knight to Remember, launched last night. Come have a peek in the appropriately ’80s launch trailer:

The new King’s Quest is an episodic series where an old King Graham (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) recounts his past adventures to his young granddaughter. They’ll span his life, from adventuring schmoe to grand king, but Episode 1 obviously starts at the start. Activision say that puzzles will have multiple solutions, and Graham can choose paths of bravery, wisdom, or compassion to affect later chapters. That’ll be your episodic adventure game morality all right.

It’s being made by The Odd Gentlemen, the gang behind puzzle-platformer The Misadventures Of P.B. Winterbottom.

Of course, Activision couldn’t make it simple. Episode 1 is £6.99 on Steam by itself, then if you dig it you can get a Season Pass containing the other four episodes for £23.99. Or, if you don’t mind going in blind, for £31.99 you can get The Complete Collection which is all five chapters plus an “exclusive” epilogue. Always with the flipping exclusives.

The five chapters will be released across this year and next.

15 Comments

  1. phlebas says:

    Hang on. So it’s cheaper to buy the first episode and then upgrade than it is to get the whole lot sight unseen? How peculiar.

    • Baines says:

      Sounds like you don’t get the exclusive epilogue that way.

  2. protowizard says:

    i would advise against buying until the whole homestuck kickstarter embezzlement rumour is cleared up

    • phlebas says:

      It’s a rumour – it’ll probably never clear up. That said, I’m not sure I see that much reason to buy the game anyway. Maybe it will be a merry lark, though – I’ll wait for reviews.

      • Yglorba says:

        The lack of even the slightest effort to clear it up sort of tells the whole story, though, doesn’t it? It would only take a single tweet from anyone involved saying “no, that didn’t happen at all” to dispel the whole thing. The fact that that hasn’t happened strongly suggests that at the very least they are in fact at least subject to some agreement that prevents them from talking about it.

  3. GenBanks says:

    Never played the original King’s Quest… When I think Sierra the first game that comes to mind is ‘Robert E Lee: Civil War Generals’, the best civil war game of 1996. So realistic you could smell the gunpowder.

    • Catweasel says:

      It really doesn’t look like this has much to do with the old King’s Quest games outside of a few superficial references like the hat you wear, I wouldn’t worry about being out of the loop if you want to play this.

  4. MikoSquiz says:

    Is this one going to be worth half a bucket of lukewarm piss? If so, that’ll be a first, some three decades too late.

  5. Jekhar says:

    I still don’t get where that supposed “OMG handpainted!!!”-look they kept gabbing about in previous trailers is supposed to be. Or maybe i’ve just expected something other than Telltales comicbook-look. /shrugs

    • carewolf says:

      Yeah, if that is handpainted, it has been rotoscoped from 3D-models, which defeats the point.

      • king0zymandias says:

        Not really using rotoscoping though. What they are doing is using a cell shader on 3d models to get the outline of the model based on the viewing angle. This shader is then being combined with pre-baked textures to create the look. Fairly standard procedures when trying to recreate the 2D look in a 3D game. Sadly the effort falls flat because the texture and sculpting work is absolutely below-par.

  6. Dale Winton says:

    Looks rubbish and I don’t like this episode trend. Just release your product complete

  7. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    It seems to be getting great reviews overall. Not that I put much stock in reviews necessarily, although I do enjoy reading a variety of them to get a taste of what to expect. Looks pretty neat to me. Any word when – I assume by John – a Wot I Think will arrive?

  8. Dugular says:

    Just finished the first episode. I won’t give anything away, but here are my views from someone who grew up and loves the original King’s Quest games:

    I’ll start with the bottom line: I really, really enjoyed it!

    When I saw the trailers, I felt annoyance and anger bubbling up from my soul. The visual style and ‘comedic’ Graham appeared to show that they had completely misunderstood what kind of fantasy the King’s Quest series had been.

    From the very moment you take control (which is actually immediately when you begin a new game), I felt my heart slowly opening up. This didn’t feel like any kind of continuation of King’s Quest in story or style, but rather a reimagining and I quickly began to see this game as its own thing. This is how it should be enjoyed, for both newcomers and old. References to the previous games are handled like little knowing winks to an informed player (of which there are actually a huge amount) and they’re all lovingly subtle such as soft musical cues or exact lines placed in a conversation to take on a whole new meaning. Speaking of the music, it was incredible the whole way through and a definite highlight. The visuals are great as well and look much better in play than they do on the trailers. It’s a really pretty game in all honesty! Everything feels like it was made with love and attention, albeit with more of a nod to Pixar than to King’s Quest. I’m ok with this.

    The trailers showed off a lot of the funny side of the game, which is actually one of its weakest bits. Nothing made me laugh, which was annoying when a scene came about which tried so very hard to make me chuckle. Thankfully, while the jokes themselves are horrendously overdone, their placement is not. The game actually aims at more of a sweet angle than a comedic one, and this is what makes it stand out from a lot of the light-hearted Tell Tale games. Even characters which start off annoying end up being appreciated as the sweet side of the game gives them an extra dimension not often experienced in these types of adventures. Why the trailers focused more on the jokes is beyond me.

    The first hour of the game feels terribly linear, and I started to feel this may be the first ‘corridor’ adventure game I’ll play. Although when it opens up, it opens up well, with many areas accessible at once and tons of puzzles which can be done in any order. Unfortunately, the puzzles are all way too easy, but by the time I realised this the game had already charmed me.

    Overall, the game is aimed at the 12 year old market, even down to employing Pixar’s trick of adding something subtle for the ‘parents’ to enjoy. In this case, sex references are replaced with old King’s Quest references.

    If the game peaks your interest for any reason, definitely give it a shot and just take it for what it is: A game which shares the King’s Quest name, but has a very different soul. And a lot more heart than expected.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      This was really well written and informative. Thank you!