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Telltale's King's Quest license pulled by Activision

posted by MtnPeak on - last edited - Viewed by 2.7K users

Paul Trowe of Replay says TTG no longer involved with KQ. Sorry for the long excerpt (hope that's ok), but thought everyone here should see this, especially the part at the end. Trowe certainly makes for a good interview subject, and he's definitely passionate about classic-style adventure games.

I would have actually been thrilled if Replay had acquired licenses from Activision. Replay's Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded is looking DAMN good, and at least you know the people over there are actually big fans of the classics!

Read whole thing here: http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/looking-at-leisure-suit-larry-reloaded-and-whats-ahead-for-replay-games-with-paul-trowe/


...Perk up, longtime Sierra fans. Company founders Ken and Roberta Williams have been doing some chatting with their former employee-turned-Larry crusader.

“I want to do a game with Roberta,” Trowe said matter-of-factly. “I emailed Ken and Roberta, [and] Roberta said that she will do another game depending on how the outcome of our first one goes. I will do my absolute fucking very best not only because I would anyway, but because I want Roberta to be proud of us and I want to work with her again.”

A new Roberta Williams game doesn’t automatically mean a new King’s Quest game, unfortunately. Trowe is unsure of Activision’s willingness to hand over the rights to the series. Reports from a couple of years back put those right in the hands of Telltale Games, the California-based studio behind 2012′s critically acclaimed The Walking Dead series. Now Telltale is preparing to turn its attention to a similar episodic treatment of Bill Willingham’s Fables. According to Trowe, Telltale is out of the King’s Quest picture.

“They had [the King's Quest rights], and we were going to license it from them to make the remakes. I wouldn’t do a King’s Quest without Roberta. [Telltale senior VP of publishing] Steve Allison told me that they have the rights but they don’t have the bandwidth.” Allison offered to look into sub-licensing King’s Quest out to Replay, but Trowe hit a dead end when he brought the conversation over to Activision. ”I talked to the guys at Activision and they were like, ‘No, we’re pulling it [from Telltale] because we’re going to do it ourselves.’”

This is the first public mention of Activision’s plans for King’s Quest since the Telltale connection was first revealed in early 2011. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment and will update accordingly when we hear back. Think about the possibilities though. More Leisure Suit Larry, post-release content updates, a planned F2P casino game, and the possibility of an entirely new game from Roberta Williams. It’s like 1987 all over again. Trowe is just as much excited gamer as he is industry professional, but wouldn’t you be too?

129 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Also, Activision making a new game themselves is...scary. Can't wait for Call of King's Quest


    I might accept a Ubisoft;

    "Assassin King's Creed"

    I like a good well made action adventure... But it better be something more than KQ8 was. Maybe not the full level of violence of the AC games, obviously, LOL.

    Yes I wouldn't mind seeing an action KQ like Roberta originally invisioned in her mind, but didn't have the technology to really implement. With all the modern bells and whistles, and story telling options.

    But keep a balance between an adventure game puzzle solving. IE. Less action, and more puzzles. Maybe 1/2 puzzles, 1/4 action, and 1/4 story.

    Maybe some Arx Fatalis/Deus Ex/System Shock style stat choices. Yes the ability to choose skills and abilities that will force you into more adventuring & conversation, than action. Give the game some replay options.

  • Some things that bothers me...

    As far as I know Paul Trowe only contacted Activision about the Telltale stuff before April 2012 (if his original accounts are to be believed).

    The April 2012 accounts, and 2013 account share roughly the same structure and story. I.E. Replay contacts Activision, learns Telltale has the license... Replay claims to get into discussion with Telltale (see post a few days later on the Kickstarter FAQ which offers slightly more detail), but apparently Replay is sent back to Activision. Activision says "no".

    The April 2013 account "expands" on this. Basically repeats the same order of events, but claims that in addition to Activision saying, "No.", they also claim activision said "They had other plans for the Franchise", I paraphrase (ya this quote gets tossed around alot by others).

    Now, as I show in the timeline, a month later (May 2012), Telltale posts the most 'substantial' post, and the last substantial post they ever posted on the issue. In which Dan Conners claims Grossman was starting to pull together the team to make the game (this doesn't mean they 'started or even had any prototype/concept work done), it just means that they were at that point ready to start something with it.

    We hear nothing much after that, until this year, and the "we aren't ready to talk about it/we'll talk about it when we feel we are ready" bit.

    But we are stuck with two things that beg questions...

    1. Why does Trowe's current story sound almost exactly like the original story but with additional embellishments (almost directly quoting some of the speculation going on since we last heard anything major).

    2. If Trowe's current story and original story are the same story, then why was Telltale pulling together a team one month after Activision is claimed to have pulled the license from Telltale, and that they were going to do it themselves.

  • Ok, a some more information in this specific King's Quest article.

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/activision-is-planning-something-for-kings-quest-franchise-rights-reportedly-recovered-from-telltale-games/

    Trowe confirmed during our GDC chat that Sierra co-founder Roberta Williams is interested in working with him post-Larry, depending on how the game performs. Williams created King’s Quest, but Trowe seems less certain that the potential down-the-road collaboration would be the return to Daventry that fans might be hoping for.

    “Activision’s probably not going to give us the King’s Quest rights,” Trowe told us. “[Telltale] had it, and we were going to license it from them to make the remakes.” Telltale senior VP of publishing Steve Allison told Trowe that it was an issue of bandwidth; the studio behind 2012′s The Walking Dead simply did not have the resources to handle King’s Quest, what with a second season and the launch of Fables both in the works.

    “Then I talked to the guys at Activision and they were like, ‘No, we’re pulling it because we’re going to do it ourselves,’” Trowe revealed. He doesn’t know what the publisher’s plans are for King’s Quest, but they don’t seem to include either Telltale or Replay. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment and will update this post accordingly when we hear back. Be sure to check out our full interview with Trowe, and to head back here tomorrow for our extensive GDC chat with Telltale CEO Dan Connors.


    It looks not only are they following up with questions to Activision to find out more, but that they have also had an extensive chat with Dan Connors (which will be released tomorrow). Did they pull a verfication out of him as well?

    Maybe we'll have more to update by tomorrow.

  • Last spring Trowe was also claiming to be close to pursuing the Space Quest license and partnering with Scott Murphy -- this proved to be false, and Trowe got called out on "trying to hype his Kickstarter as a Sierra 2.0 (to raise more money)"... While it's true he'd met with Scott Murphy, it was clear he'd overstepped -- the details are sketchy.

    So I'd think the May "putting together a team" from Telltale is a more substantial date.

    Walking Dead episode 1 released on April 24, 2012 -- I wonder when TT knew that was going to be such a hit, bigger than the kickstarter nostalgia-wave, and started re-orienting their projects in that direction?

    Hopefully some answers tomorrow! :P

    (where do we meet up once they insta-delete this forum?)

  • @BagginsKQ said: Maybe we'll have more to update by tomorrow.

    Baggins, thank you so much for posting all these links and keeping up the timeline. I mean that sincerely. You are absolutely right to be skeptical. With me, I'm sometimes willing to just love anyone who tells me what I want to hear. So when I hear, "new Roberta game", I close my mind off to hearing other things that may or may not be plausible. Anyway, you're right, tomorrow sounds like it could bring more interesting revelations. One thing about Trowe is that the guy is sure good for spicing up situations.

    Bottom line for me is that I love KQ and want to see it brought back the right way. I am confident it will happen.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @MtnPeak said: Anyway, you're right, tomorrow sounds like it could bring more interesting revelations.


    Waiting until tomorrow is the best thing to do. Tomorrow, we'll hopefully hear what's really happening straight from the source once they release the interview with Dan Connors (and any possible comments by Activision).

  • Personally I'm glad they aren't going to do remakes...

    The only games I could stomach remakes on right now would be perhaps HD remakes of KQ5 and KQ6 and that only if they had the original paintings asserts to scan in. I don't want to see complete redone or completely original artwork. I don't necessarily see the point for an extended experience with new puzzles.

    I seriously Prefer seeing new story.

    Ya I suppose it could be cool to see a more accurate remake of KQ2 and KQ3 that stays truer to the original series. But some might say another near exact remake of KQ1SCI may be a difficult sell. Ya people have been wanting a KQ4 remake.

    I seriously would prefer seeing new story.

  • I wish Activision didnt buy up all those games. I just want a new King's Quest game. I would have been happy with TTG or Replay overseeing it. Activision is like the big kid that will not share its toys, even when they're not playing with them themselves.

  • More people are picking up on the Trowe statement. Seems like Telltale will have to address it now.

    http://www.shacknews.com/article/78533/activision-has-plans-for-kings-quest-game
    http://mixnmojo.com/news/Telltale-loses-Kings-Quest-license-probably-releases-a-sigh-of-relief

    If only we'd known all these months that all we had to do was to get Paul Trowe talking... might have been easier :D

  • @jonathanfrisby said: If only we'd known all these months that all we had to do was to get Paul Trowe talking... might have been easier :D

    Exactly what I was thinking. :) Whether there's exaggeration or not, and in the interest of getting candid commentary, I'm glad Trowe doesn't self-filter.

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