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Should this game be cancelled?

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users

Be honest, fan groups and their groupies. Should KQ stay dead unless a fan group gets it? Should TT's game be cancelled?

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  • @Lambonius said: I resent the implication that only "hardcore" fans liked the unique features of Sierra style adventure games.

    I was referring to hardcore gamers in contrast to "casual" gamers. Which is to say, games for casual gamers are often extremely low in difficulty and perhaps not very complex either. Compared to hardcore gamers who play games because it is their hobby/passion and so have a higher standard.

    EDIT: Although, there may be more of a continuum between "casual" and "hardcore" wherein people may be mostly one but a bit of the other, but I would still consider Dave Grossman's grandmother (as referred to in a different thread) as being a casual gamer (if a gamer at all,) and I don't want her to be the target market for TTG's King's Quest.

  • @Chyron8472 said: I was referring to hardcore gamers in contrast to "casual" gamers. Which is to say, games for casual gamers are often extremely low in difficulty and perhaps not very complex either. Compared to hardcore gamers who play games because it is their hobby/passion and so have a higher standard.

    EDIT: Although, there may be more of a continuum between "casual" and "hardcore" wherein people may be mostly one but a bit of the other, but I would still consider Dave Grossman's grandmother (as referred to in a different thread) as being a casual gamer (if a gamer at all,) and I don't want her to be the target market for TTG's King's Quest.

    The bolded is ironic. If I recall correctly (Baggins will hopefully set me right on this if not), part of the reason the parser was done away with and simplified to the point and click interface we all love was so that it'd reach computer-illiterate people.

    And even then, apparently, Sierra was receiving complaints about the point n' click interface (of KQ5-6) which led to the implementation of the interface in KQ7 and Phantasmagoria. Several years ago, Ken Williams on his forums released for fans a Roberta from December 1992 to Sierra pushing for this sort of single cursor, simplified interface--She did a lot of research into a lot of other adventure games, and compared their interface to Sierra's own--and mentioned her MOTHER'S ability to play (IE, the non-gamer) as an intended audience.
    robertadesign3.jpgrobertadesign6.jpgrobertadesign7.jpgrobertadesign8.jpg

    A quote: "On the plus side, Kyrandia's interface is very simple, easy to learn and use. It's easier and more intuitive than Sierra's standard adventure game interface. In fact, it's so easy, even my mother could sit down and start playing this game with essentially no help (my mother is about the most computer illiterate person in the world!). Even though Sierra's interface is labeled "easy to learn", it's really not quite as easy to learn as we think--it took my mother quite a while to get my mother used to the interface in KQV, and even then she never really did seem comfortable (I don't think she could master the more complex interfaces of the first three games at all!)

    Why do I keep mentioning my mother, for pete's sake? If she's not computer literate, who cares? But the big question is: are we selling to computer literate people, or computer illiterate people? Two years ago, my answer would have been "computer literate." Now I believe within two years' time it's going to be mostly "computer illiterate". Therefore, if I think that my mother would have trouble with the more complex interfaces of the first three games, but she would be able to easily understand Kyrandia's interface--or some semblance thereof--wouldn't that direction be the way to head?

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    NSM

    @thom-22 said: The size of the gameworld means little to me if it's nothing but a single corridor. Put a true-to-life model of Route 66 from LA to Chicago in a game and it would be huge, but if it's nothing but the highway there's no real exploration, and that's not an adventure to me. It's hard to see what you're getting at when you explain by reference only: like game x except this, like game y except that.

    Well then Telltale has been trying to fulfill Roberta's dream. Except it has resulted in less interactivity, and you keep saying "more". I'm not sure that you can fully reconcile the two, that trying to do both won't automatically result in something less than either. I mean, it's been tried long before Telltale and mostly rejected, as PC Gamer noted in a recent review:


    Telltale said during development they wanted JP to be like you were directing a movie. But that's not the movie-related job players ended up with, also accurately depicted by PC Gamer (emphasis added):


    Presumably Roberta had something different in mind, but it's meaningless without some proof of concept. If you think you know what it is, then explain it in concrete terms.

    Telltale's use of the cinematic camera, dialog close-ups, its talent in crafting cut-scenes, staging scripted events etc. are all things I really appreciated about Telltale's adventure games (along with above-average writing). KQ7 did some things along those lines much more than its predecessors, other adventure game developers were doing and continued to do the same, but Telltale really brought a level of quality that I would be happy to see in a King's Quest game.

    But those things are just trappings. They can enhance an already good game but they're not a substitute for one. It seems the praise Telltale received for those things went to their head and they began (at least as early as The Devil's Playhouse) emphasizing the trappings and neglecting interactivity. And this was not a failure of execution, it was a deliberate design decision, to make "cinematic adventures" (or what I think are more accurately described as trivially interactive content-delivery systems).

    So I don't know if a Sierra-style game with Telltale's trademark cinematic-ness ca. 2008, or at least pre-BTTF, is close to what you mean by a happy medium. It sounds good to me, but they have to get the Sierra-style game part right first! I will remain skeptical, and even negative, until I see some indication that Telltale is willing to do that.

    One last quote from PC Gamer, because I can't resist:

    You mean the very same PC Gamer that wrote this review?

    http://www.pcgamer.com/review/the-walking-dead-game-review/

    Just because Telltale didn't get it right with Jurassic Park, doesn't mean they don't have the ability to get it right.

  • @NSM said: Just because Telltale didn't get it right with Jurassic Park, doesn't mean they don't have the ability to get it right.

    With a franchise that fits with what Telltale wants to do, as The Walking Dead does, it's not really surprising they'd get it right there. It doesn't tell us thing one about whether they can get the Sierra style right.

    I have never maintained that it's a question of ability; it's a question of desire, intent, willingness. After all, I have always been enthusiastic and appreciative that Telltale got Sam & Max right, infusing it with their own style in a way that both fit the property and enhanced it.

  • Interesting, Anakin. I never read that before. Thanks for posting that. It seems that I just plain hate where the game industry is right now. I'm sorry if anyone takes offense to this as I don't mean it as such, but it is my opinion. Catering to computer-illiterate people has, in my opinion, ruined gaming. At least for me. I rather enjoyed it more when the focus was solely on computer-literate people. Those are the people for which adventure games were made to begin with. It separated the arcade players from the computer users who enjoyed the same level of interactivity but on a different plane altogether. Those are the kind of adventures I've always loved more than any other.

    I've honestly never had THAT much respect for Roberta as a game designer, really. A lot of her ideas I've never agreed with, and this is further proof. There were always other people involved with King's Quest, though, and she was never the sole designer of any one game (not anything after KQ2, surely, at least). I mean, she's alright and everything but she's not the adventure designer icon that Ron Gilbert is looked on as, for instance. I don't really tend to reference Roberta when I try to defend my preference in adventure design from King's Quest or Sierra anyway.

    But what I said earlier sums it up nicely, in light of what Roberta said in that letter: I'd rather games were made for computer-literate people. Period. That statement speaks volumes about everything in game design from hard puzzles, deaths, dead ends, mazes, gameplay, etc. It's the kind of person that can automatically gravitate and adapt to an interface immediately so much - so that it's not even an issue - and are already engrossed in the game itself without having to get used to anything. These people already have a way of seeing patterns in puzzles and sequences more than the computer-illiterate would. They know how the games work and so things that would constantly annoy the "casual gamer" would be far more forgivable.

    I never ever wanted anybody who couldn't "get" adventure games to ever actually play them lol. I'm not saying that people who aren't computer-illiterate can't "get" or even enjoy that type of adventure. But that just means that they were computer-literate and didn't know it. Or at least had a mind to understand and appreciate those types of adventure games, and so they are "inducted" into that group, instead of complaining about how illogical the puzzles were or how obtrusive the interface was, or how confusing the mazes were, etc. That's what adventure games WERE. We're in a world where people want to dilute a game of all frustrations until there's nothing left at all! I submit that it is those frustrations that MAKE an adventure game so enjoyable at the end of the day. It's like the difference between people who understand computer programming and those that just will not get it. Programmers have fun solving problems while non-programmers are just frustrated the entire time that they can't get a simple function right, wishing that there were an "easier way". You can derive a million examples from this. I believe adventures are no different.

    Sadly, making games solely (or even mostly) for computer-literate people will probably never ever happen again to any great degree. In that light, it really has been the end of my kind of adventure for quite some time now, no matter how it returns to any great degree. I wish computers would go back to the computer-literate. Which I still have hopes that might happen, once everybody gets a tablet or palm device and throws out their desktops and laptops. But gaming will now forever be for everyone, where once it used to be only to a certain group. I feel a new sense of humility from having been a part of that relatively short era. It's something that will probably never come again.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Interesting, Anakin. I never read that before. Thanks for posting that. It seems that I just plain hate where the game industry is right now. I'm sorry if anyone takes offense to this as I don't mean it as such, but it is my opinion.

    I don't like where the gaming industry is at this point either.


    Catering to computer-illiterate people has, in my opinion, ruined gaming. At least for me. I rather enjoyed it more when the focus was solely on computer-literate people. Those are the people for which adventure games were made to begin with. It separated the arcade players from the computer users who enjoyed the same level of interactivity but on a different plane altogether. Those are the kind of adventures I've always loved more than any other.

    Agreed again. But here's the thing. The focus was on computer literate people because the majority of the people who owned computers and thus played video games were the computer geeks, the computer literate. In 1984 when KQ1 was released, computers weren't something owned by everybody. As such, they could make games which tailored to the person more dedicated to spending hours solving puzzles, the person with more patience and a less "instant gratification attitude", and still make money. That can't happen today for the most part.

    Ever since around the early 1990s, as the larger demographic of people (who aren't as well read, literate or just plain patient as those who bought computers in the '80s were), the main consumer of games have become the "computer illiterate." And sadly gaming is a business, so it's either evolve, keep up, die, or accept being in a niche market (which is kind of a Catch 22. You can't make multi million dollar budget adventure games if your games aren't making millions of dollars). A shooter or RPG is much cheaper to make and earns a lot more. The adventure game market never disappeared; the genre never died--It's just that the core demographic of people who likes adventure games is and has ALWAYS BEEN smaller than the market for more dumbed down games. In 1990, KQ5 became the best selling game of all time after it sold around 500,000 or so copies. It held that title for five years. Today, that number would be peanuts--Nothing.

    Also consider that Roberta was a part of Sierra, which by 1992 was a publicly traded company on NASDAQ. You have shareholders to appease, and if you don't please them, if you don't make hits, you fold. Add to this a rapidly changing game industry. It is either move with the market, move ahead of the market, jump on a bandwagon, evolve or die. In some cases, Sierra and Roberta chose to jump on a bandwagon (all of their mid 90s Myst Clones, their educational software, simulation games, etc), in some cases they tried to evolve (with KQ7 and KQ8), in others they tried to jump ahead of the curve (Phantas and their interactive movies). It's change or die, sadly.

    IMO, You can't fault Roberta for trying to keep the genre alive, to evolve it, in the face of changing times and changing demographics. You may not like the evolution and that is your right, but the adventure genre was ALWAYS changing. From text games with violence in the games, to the parser games, to VGA, to 3D, etc. Always changing in it's styles, formats, etc. It is only in the 1990s that fans became rigid and would only accept a narrow definition of an "adventure game". I'd rather her attempts at trying to keep adventure games "relevant", than Sierra just callously shutting down all the adventure game groups and sacking everybody like they did under Vivendi in 1999.


    I've honestly never had THAT much respect for Roberta as a game designer, really. A lot of her ideas I've never agreed with, and this is further proof. There were always other people involved with King's Quest, though, and she was never the sole designer of any one game (not anything after KQ2, surely, at least). I mean, she's alright and everything but she's not the adventure designer icon that Ron Gilbert is looked on as, for instance. I don't really tend to reference Roberta when I try to defend my preference in adventure design from King's Quest or Sierra anyway.

    She was actually the sole designer until KQ6. KQs 1-5 are solely Roberta in terms of design, story and writing. The only reason she deferred to Jane Jensen with VI was because she felt she'd used up all her good ideas with KQ5 and felt tired of the series and wanted to do other things (Scary Tales, an early version of what became Phantasmagoria, and another, aborted project). She shared KQ7 with Lorelei Shannon, who seemed to do what Roberta wanted. She reasserted creative control with KQ8 and had it taken from her because the company was sold. I'd say the only reason she isn't as looked on as Ron Gilbert is is because his career was more prolific and because Roberta has been out of the game and has been pretty much a recluse since 1999. But before that, remember, she was called the "Queen of Adventure Games." She had a stellar reputation, she was a legend. But since 1999 she is a literal non-entity nowadays in the gaming industry. She hasn't even given any interview since 2006, nor has she played a game since 1998. She, along with Scott and Josh were my favorite designers at Sierra.


    But what I said earlier sums it up nicely, in light of what Roberta said in that letter: I'd rather games were made for computer-literate people. Period. That statement speaks volumes about everything in game design from hard puzzles, deaths, dead ends, mazes, gameplay, etc. It's the kind of person that can automatically gravitate and adapt to an interface immediately so much - so that it's not even an issue - and are already engrossed in the game itself without having to get used to anything. These people already have a way of seeing patterns in puzzles and sequences more than the computer-illiterate would. They know how the games work and so things that would constantly annoy the "casual gamer" would be far more forgivable.

    I never ever wanted anybody who couldn't "get" adventure games to ever actually play them lol. I'm not saying that people who aren't computer-illiterate can't "get" or even enjoy that type of adventure. But that just means that they were computer-literate and didn't know it. Or at least had a mind to understand and appreciate those types of adventure games, and so they are "inducted" into that group, instead of complaining about how illogical the puzzles were or how obtrusive the interface was, or how confusing the mazes were, etc. That's what adventure games WERE. We're in a world where people want to dilute a game of all frustrations until there's nothing left at all! I submit that it is those frustrations that MAKE an adventure game so enjoyable at the end of the day. It's like the difference between people who understand computer programming and those that just will not get it. Programmers have fun solving problems while non-programmers are just frustrated the entire time that they can't get a simple function right, wishing that there were an "easier way". You can derive a million examples from this. I believe adventures are no different.

    Sadly, making games solely (or even mostly) for computer-literate people will probably never ever happen again to any great degree. In that light, it really has been the end of my kind of adventure for quite some time now, no matter how it returns to any great degree. I wish computers would go back to the computer-literate. Which I still have hopes that might happen, once everybody gets a tablet or palm device and throws out their desktops and laptops. But gaming will now forever be for everyone, where once it used to be only to a certain group. I feel a new sense of humility from having been a part of that relatively short era. It's something that will probably never come again.

    I agree with you completely, but market place realities are market place realities. It is sad--and unlike you I never got to experience that era as you did.

    There is a quote from Roberta, about the dumbing down of games, you might agree with, this is from 1999:

    "Back when I got started, which sounds like ancient history, back then the demographics of people who were into computer games, was totally different, in my opinion, then they are today. Back then, computers were more expensive, which made them more exclusive to people who were maybe at a certain income level, or education level. So the people that played computer games 15 years ago were that type of person. They probably didn't watch television as much, and the instant gratification era hadn't quite grown the way it has lately. I think in the last 5 or 6 years, the demographics have really changed, now this is my opinion, because computers are less expensive so more people can afford them. More "average" people now feel they should own one. There's also the influence of the game consoles as well. So most of these people have gotten used to shoot-em' up kind of games on the consoles. Now they want to get that kind of experience on their computers.

    Does this mean that the original crowd still isn't there? Probably not, however, there are much fewer of them. And the numbers for a good selling computer game are much harder to reach now. Something that sold 300,000 copies then, would be a lame selling game today. The other side of it is that adventure games, to do them right, probably have some of the highest production costs around. It doesn't appear that in today's world, that our demographics will change anytime soon. Now I do think that there is some hope on the internet. It's my feeling that a lot of people who were in love with their computers, are now hanging out online.
    ."

    And on KQ8, btw:

    "When discussing the transition from 2D to 3D for King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity, I can only say that we were on to the right idea of switching to 3D. However, the implementation was not exactly correct. In 20/20 hindsight, I would have omitted the RPG (role-playing) aspects and would have stuck with more traditional adventure game elements. I would have thought more in terms of physical puzzles that could be done better in 3D than in 2D, but, still, I wouldn't have changed the game so dramatically just because I was switching from 2D to 3D. But, what do they say about 20/20 hindsight?"


    And on adventure games:

    ....I have to say that my definition of an adventure game is really an interactive story set with puzzles and obstacles to solve and worlds to explore. I believe that the 'true' adventure game genre will never die any more than any type of storytelling would ever die. Sometimes, I think that something 'new' may come along for awhile and take away attention from longer, story-oriented genres, like movies took attention away from books for awhile, and TV took attention away from movies for awhile. Things like that. One thing that I always like to say is that, for awhile, it looked like book reading was dead (especially for young people), but Harry Potter proved that one wrong! And then there's the Da Vinci Code. I remember in the 60s and the 70s, TV watching was really big and movie going was less important than it had been in decades prior. But, in the 80s and 90s, movie going bounced back big time and TV sank a bit. These things go in phases, but a good story never dies. An adventure game is really nothing more than a good story set with engaging puzzles that fit seamlessly in with the story and the characters, and looks and sounds beautiful. I do not think there is a need to try and make it 'multi-player' or any of those things. It just takes a good adventure game designer (someone who knows and understands how to write a game play 'script' in an interactive way), with a game company that will 'go out on a ledge' and support that designer and give them the desired tools to create such a game, and I think that, as in the 'olden' days of the 80s and 90s, adventure games would be as popular as ever, if not more so. I think that Ken is right when he says that there is too much of the same thing and not much creativity put into today's computer games because the game publishers and marketers are too afraid to go there, and so, are actually restricting creativity. There is no doubt in my mind that given the right designer with the proper amount of budget and support from a top game publisher, an adventure game of the highest standards would set the computer game world on fire. One day, it will happen.

  • Yes, you basically just repeated with everything you said the whole point I was trying to get across. I know all of that. I said all of that.

    As for Roberta, I know everything up to 5 was her idea, but that doesn't mean she was the only one putting it all together on her own. I seriously doubt that. Maybe in the AGI days, but probably not for KQ4 and certainly not for KQ5. I'm talking gameplay and puzzle design here, not story and dialogue writing. Either way, King's Quest wasn't my favourite Sierra series anyway. Space Quest was always better.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Yes, you basically just repeated with everything you said the whole point I was trying to get across. I know all of that. I said all of that.

    As for Roberta, I know everything up to 5 was her idea, but that doesn't mean she was the only one putting it all together on her own. I seriously doubt that. Maybe in the AGI days, but probably not for KQ4 and certainly not for KQ5. I'm talking gameplay and puzzle design here, not story and dialogue writing. Either way, King's Quest wasn't my favourite Sierra series anyway. Space Quest was always better.

    Well, I'm glad we agree.....

    On Roberta:

    On KQ3, she is given sole credit as designer.
    On KQ4, she is given sole credit as designer and writer.
    On KQ5, she is listed as sole designer and producer.

    Only on KQ6 did it begin where she shared creative duties and it was always clearly listed. And it has always been maintained that she was given more leeway and creative control than other Sierra designers. She also said she began her design documents by writing the puzzles, and then designing the story around the puzzles and the gameplay, working outward to the story. The games for her were CENTERED around the puzzles. The story came last. So I think it's safe to say that she was indeed responsible for KQ1-5. Plus given the leeway she had, she had complete creative control over the other aspects--Meaning she could veto any scene or art design, she'd probably go over any art design or musical piece, etc. I mean let's give credit where it is due--She did pioneer the genre greatly.

    Was the SQ series better written? Yes, in large measure, I'd say, more cohesively written, etc. Wittier, cleverer, less random. More focused. But it also had the benefit of picking up on the formats begun by Roberta. Like with SQ6. All of the bugs--animation wise--which plagued KQ7 were generally tweaked by the time SQ6 came out--Because KQ7 acted as the test ground for the new technology and design styles, which other Sierra adventure games would implement.

    I love all of the Quest series, except for LSL and Police Quest. Gabriel Knight has never been quite my cup of tea. We all have our favorites, though, and for me, I'll always admire Roberta Williams more than the rest--I'll always love KQ just a bit more than SQ.

  • "When discussing the transition from 2D to 3D for King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity, I can only say that we were on to the right idea of switching to 3D. However, the implementation was not exactly correct. In 20/20 hindsight, I would have omitted the RPG (role-playing) aspects and would have stuck with more traditional adventure game elements. I would have thought more in terms of physical puzzles that could be done better in 3D than in 2D, but, still, I wouldn't have changed the game so dramatically just because I was switching from 2D to 3D. But, what do they say about 20/20 hindsight?"

    Keep in mind this quote is from 2006 or so. The first time her 'hindsight' kicked in!

    http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/KQ8_development#Roberta_Williams_Interview_2006

    Up to 2003 (at least up to the interviews up to that time that I've read), she was heavily defending her choice to add the "RPG" content! LOL.

    I love all of the Quest series, except for LSL and Police Quest. Gabriel Knight has never been quite my cup of tea. We all have our favorites, though, and for me, I'll always admire Roberta Williams more than the rest--I'll always love KQ just a bit more than SQ.

    I have my reservations about LSL, but man Police Quest especially the first three were great (I prefer the original over the remake for PQ1)... Ya they were procedural, but they had the quirky Quest series humor of most of the Sierra Quest games... Puns when died etc. Injokes to other Sierra quest games! King Graham is referenced in both PQ1 and PQ2... It was a nice blend of serious and silly!

    PQ4 on the other hand lost alot of that... It was far too serious... No sense of connection to earlier PQ titles... It felt like a totally different franchise...

    I'll always admire Roberta Williams more than the rest--I'll always love KQ just a bit more than SQ.


    I have a hard time picking between SQ and KQ as my favorite quest series. I love each one equally... I think I used to like SQ a little more than KQ because the plotlines were more cohesively linked together. I.E. returning characters the norm, similar to Monkey Island.

    On the other hand, after I got access to the wide world of King's Quest expanded universe (I had the KQ6 hintbook when that game came out, I read the three novels when they were released as well), but especially after picking up my first copy of King's Quest Companion back in the mid-2000s (that was the 3rd edition btw), I gained a better respect for the world that makes up KQ as a whole. Some of these second party authors brought a sense of depth and life to the KQ series, that the main series was lacking by itself. Backhistories for characters, lands, and even items!

    While I picked up the other expanded material for SQ, QFG, Gabriel Knight, and PQ even, none of them reached the quality of the KQ related material! As far as the sense of scope, boing beyond the games!

  • You can't trust the credits given to the designers on the game boxes. Josh Mandel has long since exposed that Sierra had a "star/celebrity" designer PR system where they advertised someone as the lead and sole designer even if they had next to nothing to do with it, to appeal to the fanbase and sell more copies. Space Quest 6, for instance, doesn't mention Josh Mandel anywhere and gives Scott Murphy all the credit when he only finished it up towards the end after Josh left the company. Josh also designed most of Freddy Pharkas, as I understand it, and also Laura Bow 2. Yet those games are credited solely to Al Lowe and Roberta Williams respectively. Of course Roberta veto-ed everything on her games. She conceived and created King's Quest, after all. But that doesn't mean she came up with everything.

    Also, I don't necessarily mean that SQ was better written, even though I may consider that true. I just mean that the Space Quest series as a whole is, in my opinion, better than the King's Quest series. In every aspect of design. Atmosphere, puzzle design, characterization, creativity, dialogue, humour (obviously), background art, music, etc. I consider all aspects, not just writing.

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