Could Roberta and Ken Williams be about to come out of retirement? Speaking to Al Lowe and Paul Trowe for an interview due later today, RPS learned that the company remaking the Leisure Suit Larry games is also in talks with other Sierra adventure alumni about bringing back their classic series. Replay Games' Trowe revealed that they're currently in negotiations with both Sierra On-line co-founders Ken and Roberta Williams, as well as Space Quest creators, Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe, with an interest to see King's Quest and Space Quest brought back. With the added obstacle of Activision to manoeuvre around too.
Roberta and Ken Williams retired around 1999, having made quite some fortune from the sale of Sierra, neither taking any role in the games industry since. Of course, Roberta is most famous for being behind the fairytale King's Quest series, and the polar-different horror adventure, Phantasmagoria, and it's the former series Trowe would love to see back. When we asked Trowe if either Williams was interested in coming out of retirement, he replied,
"I can’t speak for Roberta, but I can tell you that we’re currently talking to her and Ken."
Meanwhile, things seem even further along with hopes to remake or add to the Space Quest catalogue. While creators Murphy and Crowe fell out in the 90s, Replay approached both about returning to the games. Crowe has ruled himself out, stating that his working for Pipeworks would make it a conflict of interests, but Scott Murphy has already expressed an interest. (In fact, he emailed Trowe during our interview, congratulating them on their Kickstarter.) And the last Space Quest game was developed by Murphy and Josh Mandel, with Mandel already working at Replay. The remaining issue, as with King's Quest, would be licensing the games from owners Activision.
Trowe explained that Activision had been a touch unrealistic when he first approached them. Activision told us that they wanted $500,000 up front," he explained. "And greater than 50% revenue share for those properties. I told them ‘good luck on getting that’, because I don’t think anybody’s going to pay that fee. I can tell you that they changed their tune about six months after that."
But since then Space Quest has been licensed elsewhere, and Replay are currently in negotiations over getting the rights for themselves. "I want to say it’s looking good," said Trowe, "but right now I’d give us 50/50."
(I'm mostly upset that Crowe's not interested, removing the possibility of a Lowe, Trowe and Crowe all working on a game.)