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A KQ8 remake

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 714 users

Does anyone else want to see TT--if they're successful with this reboot--do a remake of KQ8, more adventure-esque and closer to the way Roberta originally imagined it before the direction of the game got taken out of her control.

Early photos of KQ8:
Riveroflava.JPG

Connor:
Connorconcept.JPGFarmhouse2.jpgDaventry4.JPG

Daventry:
Daventrywoodskq8.JPG

22 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I thought about this option too. (Before and after Telltale's announcement.) While it looks possible, I wouldn't say that it is very likely. But the game is a mystery for now.
    Also, I like the look of the intended game! It is clearly seen that Connor was not intended to be a fighter, and he indeed looks like an adventurer. Was this model made when Connor was intended to be a living statue, or a tanner?

  • @Sarendor said: I thought about this option too. (Before and after Telltale's announcement.) While it looks possible, I wouldn't say that it is very likely. But the game is a mystery for now.
    Also, I like the look of the intended game! It is clearly seen that Connor was not intended to be a fighter, and he indeed looks like an adventurer. Was this model made when Connor was intended to be a living statue, or a tanner?

    Living statue.
    These photos are from 1996.
    The game went through three different designs/builds.
    The first was from 1995-1996, this version. Connor was to be a living statue made flesh. It was going to be a HUGE game with a gigantic world, spanning out with no loading sequences from Castle Daventry. Daventry was to have two huge towns, including a port town. There was also t be an underwater kingdom, as well as a silver land of the moon. The swamp witch was to have a bigger story. There were 2 whole lands cut due to budget concerns. We were going to be able to explore Castle Daventry in it's entirety. There were to be very few monsters and thus not a lot of combat.
    The second was from 1996-1997, and included more action, and by this time Roberta began to lose control of the game. In this version, Connor was the son of a Fisherman.
    The last version of the game was from '97 to '98 and was the released game. Roberta wanted her name taken off the project because it had so deviated from her vision and only after a few token changes were made did she allow her name to be associated with it.

  • I have actually always been able to enjoy Mask of Eternity for what it is, but that is certainly a depressing history. What might have been...

    Great wrong was done to Roberta here. :mad:

    P.S. Who was in control of the project? How did it happen?

  • @Simo Sakari Aaltonen said: I have actually always been able to enjoy Mask of Eternity for what it is, but that is certainly a depressing history. What might have been...

    Great wrong was done to Roberta here. :mad:

    P.S. Who was in control of the project? How did it happen?

    What happened was--Work began on Mask in 1995, right after she finished Phantasmagoria. At that time, Ken Williams, her husband, was still CEO of Sierra and so she had total creative freedom and control over her projects. However, halfway through the game's creation, in July 1996, Ken sold Sierra to CUC (which very rapidly led to Sierra losing it's own creativity autonomy). Ken had been lied to by CUC, and officially stepped down as the CEO around that Winter because he couldn't deal with seeing his company ripped apart from above with no way of stopping it.

    After he resigned, Roberta lost a LOT of her creative control over the project. The game went through two more re-designs because of this.

    Gradually other voices began making their presence known (Mark Seibert especially, who served as Producer and co-Director of the game), and eventually they began to truly lead the project, and the new management of Sierra wanted a more action heavy game to compete with the post-Quake world, which led to more action elements being inserted. The game as written (story, dialogue, etc) is hers, but not the action parts, nor the gore and all of that.

    Also, because of budget limitations, two whole levels were cut, and a lot of stuff in the game all over was cut and shortened, hacked up in different areas, because the new Sierra didn't want to spend too much money on an adventure game, which they felt was a dead genre.

    Roberta kept working and working on the game, trying to steer it back to her original vision, and she kept delaying the release to try and rectify a lot of the changes that had been made. In the end, Sierra's management threatened her with legal action if she didn't hand over the game as it was, and she let it go and it was released, and quit Sierra.

    Personally, I believe that the people leading the project were Mark Seibert, and the executives at Sierra after Ken left.

    Here's Ken's own words:

    "KQ8 is a wild story.
    KQ8 was in development at the same time that the company was sold. Basically, Sierra went through changes during the development of the game, and those changes are reflected in the game. During the first half of the game, I was the CEO - during the last half of the game my status shifted to "reasonably nice guy who used to work here". My way of doing things was different than the new way of doing things.
    My #1 issue was always to maintain the "clarity of vision" of the game designer. A Sierra project, like KQ8, has nearly a hundred highly creative people on it. Many of these people were working at Sierra because they wanted their shot to be a game designer. It was not uncommon for everyone on a project to seek opportunities to "put their mark" on the game. This is a delicate issue. I recruited people who could be designers, and I was a huge supporter of creativity. Roberta wanted ideas from the team, but at some point, if you accept too many ideas, the product can become a muddy mess. There were dozens of people on KQ8 who could have been the designer, any of which would have made a great designer. But, unfortunately, if this tendency, on the part of developers, to add their creativity to a product, isn't carefully controlled, the product starts to veer into "design by committee". Roberta had her vision for the product, as did almost every person on the project.
    When I lost control of Sierra, Roberta's ability to maintain her control over KQ8 was also eroded. The product that shipped is very different than what would have shipped had the company not been sold.
    There was another issue at work on KQ8. Roberta is a perfectionist (I'm guilty of the same sin). Whenever she would play the game, she would turn in lists of hundreds of "bugs". Perfectionist can be a pseudonym for nit-picker. When a development team gets a long list, the natural tendency can be to look at some bugs as nit-picky. I always supported my designers. I wouldn't let a game go until the designer was happy (with a couple of exceptions that I regretted later), even when it seemed like we were spending lots of money to fix stuff no one cared about. It was critical to me that the game our customers played represented the game our designer wanted produced. When I left Sierra, Roberta's ability to get bugs fixed diminished.
    Ultimately, the last year of KQ8 development was a tough one for Roberta. For a long time, she refused to let the game ship and there was threatened litigation floating around.
    This is not to say that the game that shipped isn't a good game. Roberta was reasonably happy with it at the end - but, it reflected a much wider product vision, than Robertas alone. People other than Roberta influenced its development, in a greater capacity than in her previous products. There will be some gamers who see the change as positive, and some who wanted a Roberta product more consistent with her prior products.
    There is an example I used to use on this point. One of my favorite authors is: Steven King. I also like Peter Straub. Each alone is a bestselling (mega-selling in Kings case) author. They cowrote a book; the Talisman, which bombed. Either alone could have sold plenty of copies, but together, the whole becomes less than the parts. KQ8 had wonderful people on it. This message should not be construed as being derogatory to anyone (other than that I am definitely critical of the management changes that took place.) My belief is that if the new owners had taken a couple of days to ask about "what made Sierra special" in the days after acquiring it (they could have asked me, or better yet, its customers) before dramatically changing things, things would have gone a lot smoother in the transition.

    -Ken W"

    and

    "As was pointed out, MOE had a very different flavor from the earlier Kings Quest games. The 'rest of the story' is that it was developed after I left Sierra, and that there were multiple opinions as to what the game should be. When I was running the company, these differences were not an issue, because everyone knew my position on the matter. I always felt that a game is like a book, and that there should only be one author, or one creative vision, for the product, and that the game needs to sink or swim with a single vision. It was Roberta's game, and needed to be her vision. Typically, on a game, there are 100s of people, and most of them are 'wanna be’ game designers. They look for every opportunity to show off their creativity, and prove to the world that they should be the next hot designer. I understand and respect this, but it really just screws up the product. I would argue that if you were to publish a book, with the top 200 authors who ever lived each writing one page, it might have good press value, but would be an unreadable book.
    With me gone from Sierra, Roberta's ability to force the project to be her vision, alone, was compromised. It suddenly became a group effort, with lots of smart people each having their own ideas. Sierra hired only the best, so they weren't bad ideas, but they weren't Roberta's ideas. The game became a mish mash of lots of people's good ideas, but clearly not a Roberta game. There was even a period where Sierra wanted to release the game, and Roberta wouldn’t allow her name on it. After a bunch of negotiation, and changes to the product, to mosey it back towards what she designed, it did finally release."

  • Thank you, Anakin, for that very detailed explanation. I remembered this only hazily from reading about it some time after it happened. I had forgotten about Ken's stepping down as CEO exactly coinciding with this project, for example.

    I truly admire his views and comments on letting each project be a single designer's vision. I have to say, I think anyone who did not want to contribute to Roberta's vision should not have worked on her game. Seems just common sense to me.

  • I once briefly entertained the notion of doing a VGA remake of Mask of Eternity in AGS. Keep all the same character elements, but completely redesign it as an adventure game, and bring it back to the KQ5/KQ6 style, like the other fan remakes did with the earlier games.

    Then I realized that I'm lazy, and I'd be a horrible game designer. :P

  • @doggans said: I once briefly entertained the notion of doing a VGA remake of Mask of Eternity in AGS. Keep all the same character elements, but completely redesign it as an adventure game, and bring it back to the KQ5/KQ6 style, like the other fan remakes did with the earlier games.

    Then I realized that I'm lazy, and I'd be a horrible game designer. :P

    I have always wished a talented group of fans would do just that.

  • @doggans said: Mask of Eternity in AGS. Keep all the same character elements, but completely redesign it as an adventure game, and bring it back to the KQ5/KQ6 style, like the other fan remakes did with the earlier games.

    @doggans said: I have always wished a talented group of fans would do just that.


    Why don't you vote for it then?

  • Well actually I would rather have a KQ4 talkie... if they updated the game to look like the other finely made remakes that would be cool... but I honestly do not think that 4 is all that horrible looking...

  • Just goes to show that most managers lack vision. When a genre is "dead", I think it actually means "No one is competing here, we have a lock on the market...but we want to follow the crowd for promised riches". Which is a fallacy, because new markets become saturated with competition, which in turn would make it hard to effectively compete if you don't create a new IP and form of gameplay from the ground up - translating stuff without a great deal of planning beforehand tends to sacrifice what you had for nothing.

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