I haven't been a fan of KQ as long as some have. My ride with King's Quest started in 1995, as an eager four and a half year old. I discovered King's Quest when my family got our first computer. My father found King's Quest V--it intrigued him.
He brought it home and somehow he and I began playing it. Everyday, I'd play it after school, whenever I could. My father and I would complete the games together, and through it, according to him, my ability to read was enhanced. We bonded through the games, too, sitting at the computer in my parents' room, with the King's Quest Companion in hand, playing the games. It quickly became something I dearly loved, it became I suppose an obsession, a lot of emotions were tied to it, and over the next year or two, from '95 through '97, we got all of the available KQ games. We got the '94 Collection, the individual games, my father made me a King Graham doll, modified from an Aladdin doll, complete with his Adventurer's Cap, cloak, and amulet from KQV; he made me a Cedric stuffed animal.....It became so that a punishment for any misbehavior by me would be that I wasn't allowed to play King's Quest--that's how much I loved those games. Beyond KQ, I became a lover of all things Sierra. We bought a good many Sierra games--The SQ series, Slater and Charlie Go Camping, others.
I watched the videos of interviews with Ken and Roberta with rapt attention as a child...They became for me what Walt Disney must've been for a child growing up in the 1950s. I idolized Roberta as this awesome person who made these amazing stories. And Ken reminded me of Walt Disney--even down to the mustache. As a child, I hoped to someday work at Sierra. Hell, the games even infected my dreams--I can recall childhood dreams wherein I was on an adventure with King Graham and Cedric.
After all this, then there was the long and exciting (at least for me) wait for KQ8, and I longed for it to be basically KQ5 or KQ6 Part II, I envisioned that a future King's Quest would star Alex and Cassima's children, only to have KQ8 be what it was, and for it to work on our computer--our computer ran too slow to play it properly. And after that, my love for the series died down. My love of the series fall into a slumber, one might say.....
Then, a few years later, around the summer of 2002, after drifting around with several other game series (Baldur's Gate and Kingdom Hearts in particular), I found all my old KQ game CDs in a box and replayed them all for the first time in several years. I looked up any new involving King's Quest and came upon a site and forum discussing a game called "King's Quest IX"--Which eventually evolved to be what we call The Silver Lining.
Around the same time, I discovered the AGDI (then called Tierra) remakes of KQ1 and KQ2.
And still at the same time, rumors abounded that Sierra was interested in reviving the Quest series themselves. Ken Williams was meeting with the new head of Sierra and getting information and giving advice. Sierra seemed to have new life in it's veins; Hell, they even began to use the Half Dome logo again. It seemed like the Sierra of old was coming back....And then in 2004, Sierra's offices at Bellevue were suddenly shuttered and Sierra was for all intents and purposes dead. It would remain as a soulless shell of it' former self for several more years--essentially as simply a brand which Vivendi used to market their products, but with no real employees or studios behind the name.
Yet in spite of this, the fan community continued on. TSL seemed to be closer and closer to completion each year, in spite of a cease and desist order in 2005. Their overcoming the cease and desist seemed to have given hope to other groups. I saw groups such as IA spring up and release their own remakes, I saw Akril's amazing KQ9 story released as an interactive novel, I watched a lot of interesting projects (KQ8 remakes, KQ4 remakes, games based on the KQ novels) rise and fall. I saw a ton of other Sierra fan projects--many relating to Space Quest--come and go.
The period from 2002 to about 2011 seemed to be a fan fueled revival. King's Quest was NOT dead...It was simply in the hands of the fans. There were down times during this period, but there was always SOMETHING going--something to look forward to. Some little light of hope to follow, even if it was distant and dim.
Now, it seems, we're in the dead of winter. Sierra is now totally non-existant, even as a brand, rolled into Activision. Activision's own future is in doubt and as such so are the fate of the Sierra properties and probably any existing arrangements with the fan groups could be put into legal limbo as a result. AGDI will no longer make any Sierra related projects. IA is dead, at least as a company creating Sierra IP projects; they've moved on to commercial, original products. TSL seems to be on hold, and may be so for a long time to come, as Phoenix is focused also on original projects. Other KQ and Sierra related projects have faded from view and have either ceased production or simply fallen to dust before even entering production. Telltale's game seems, at least on surface appearance, to be dead. Stillborn.
Winter has come to the KQ community and I cannot imagine a bleaker period on all fronts, except for perhaps the 1999-2002 period. There is literally no activity, no spark, no passion, nothing to be excited over.
We can either let this winter continue--Let KQ, Sierra, and it's titles--fade just to memory, crumble to dust, consign them to our pasts...Or we can reignite the community. There are great, brilliant, creative minds in this community who only need partnership or collaborators or inspiration or confidence. There are still tales waiting to be told from the world of Daventry, but only if there are those out there willing to tell them to us.
We can either write a new chapter in the long story of King's Quest, Sierra, and it's other franchises...Or we can finally admit defeat, admit that the forces of time and the forces of corruption and greed which killed Sierra, the adventure genre, and King's Quest have won, and then fall away and move on.
Or, we can perhaps remember how great and bright things seemed just a few years ago and realize it only seemed so bright because of people like us. Because of people who were willing to believe in King's Quest, who were willing to sacrifice time and effort into bringing new stories to life. The choice is ours to make...
I have made mine. I am willing to aid, support, help out and promote any KQ or other Sierra franchise fan project. I am willing to work on one, myself, with help from others. I do not want to witness the final death of King's Quest, and it doesn't have to happen now. We can still resurrect it on our own, just as TSL, IA, AGDI and other groups did over the years. We can sacrifice just as they did, just as Sierra's employees did, and create something wonderful which will bring delight to others.
The choice is for all of you to make. We can either step up and continue King's Quest ourselves, as individuals or as new groups--no one else will do it for us at this point. We cannot depend on TT or Activision. We can bring ourselves up the way IA, TSL, and AGDI did, and tell the untold tales of King's Quest. Or we can let it die, put it in the ground and move on. We must have closure in some way, whatever decision we as the community make....It is up to us as individuals and as a community, to decide. The future seems bleak...but it is in our hands.