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Telltale's King's Quest license pulled by Activision

posted by MtnPeak on - last edited - Viewed by 2.3K 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
  • $0.25 on Activision remaking Kings Quest as a skyrim knockoff only without the skill, budget, or understanding that King's Quest already has a faithful fanbase willing to spend money on a good old fashion adventure game.

  • @Irishmile said: $0.25 on Activision remaking Kings Quest as a skyrim knockoff only without the skill, budget, or understanding that King's Quest already has a faithful fanbase willing to spend money on a good old fashion adventure game.

    Ok, I know nothing has been confirmed/denied yet, but I say let's go into it with an open mind. Let's see what they announce in time. I'm actually cautiously optimistic, more optimistic than I was with Telltale, actually, since Telltale already signaled a desire to move away from KQ-style adventure gaming. IF Activision has KQ plans, I doubt they wanted to announce them this way, but they just have to roll with it. I'm betting they will say something vague and then refuse further comment. I'm also happy to see all the attention Trowe's KQ comments are getting; a KQ revival remains a subject of interest. :-)

  • Key part:

    Now does that give you pause? When you look at Monkey Island, which is a very interesting case where you’re working with a familiar IP in the realm of gaming. It’s not a comic book or a TV series, it’s a classic game. The news came out a few years ago that you had the license for King’s Quest. Do you re-think how you approach that or whether or not you do something like that when it sort of represents… a step away from the Telltale voice?

    I think there’s an expectation that comes with the classic stuff that puts us in kind of a no-win position where we’re going to disappoint on some level if we don’t stay true to the roots there. Right now we’re in a place where we’re really pushing in a new direction. I think there’s a possibility to be back in that space and modernize some of the older franchises still, but right now our focus is certainly The Walking Dead and Fables: The Wolf Among Us. They’re taking up a lot of our mental bandwidth.What we do next is still something we’re working on, but I think we’re going to have some very cool, future-looking announcements. I think ‘modern’ is kind of the key word. Bringing stuff forward from the past, that’s not a huge focus for us right now.

    That's a slap at KQ. They keep doing that.

    Common Telltale line: "Those games are the past. We are the future. We've evolved."
    Same talking points.

    This is exactly why I never warmed to Telltale doing the KQ game.

    Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/telltale-games-ceo-dan-connors-on-the-walking-dead-fables-and-building-a-television-studio-model-for-games/#ixz
    F

  • Now does that give you pause? When you look at Monkey Island, which is a very interesting case where you’re working with a familiar IP in the realm of gaming. It’s not a comic book or a TV series, it’s a classic game. The news came out a few years ago that you had the license for King’s Quest. Do you re-think how you approach that or whether or not you do something like that when it sort of represents… a step away from the Telltale voice?

    I think there’s an expectation that comes with the classic stuff that puts us in kind of a no-win position where we’re going to disappoint on some level if we don’t stay true to the roots there. Right now we’re in a place where we’re really pushing in a new direction. I think there’s a possibility to be back in that space and modernize some of the older franchises still, but right now our focus is certainly The Walking Dead and Fables: The Wolf Among Us. They’re taking up a lot of our mental bandwidth. What we do next is still something we’re working on, but I think we’re going to have some very cool, future-looking announcements. I think ‘modern’ is kind of the key word. Bringing stuff forward from the past, that’s not a huge focus for us right now.

    Kind of vague, but the message is clear. King's Quest is either dead or extremely low on Telltale's priority list. As in after The Walking Dead 2 comes out we have a better chance of their next game being a completely new currently-unannounced project than King's Quest. :(

  • If Activision didn't buy the Sierra franchises, and there were no alternative buyers. Then King's Quest could have gone into law firm hell. That is one or more law firms owning the rights to the game. In worst case scenario in those situations it is owned by more than one group. In which case it's difficult to even republish older games back on the market.

    Take System Shock series for example. It took years for fans to negotiate with the law firms involves and get permission to republish it. Sometimes it's made worse as in case with that series that they had to get Electronic Arts permission to as they had rights to the name but not the game itself.

  • Kind of vague, but the message is clear. King's Quest is either dead or extremely low on Telltale's priority list. As in after The Walking Dead 2 comes out we have a better chance of their next game being a completely new currently-unannounced project than King's Quest.

    Actually seriousy I don't have much love for CEOs and they shouldn't be the talking heads of the company.

    Even Ken Williams after Sierra grew too big for its britches went into the "we have evolved from classice IPS, and want to do more mainstream products", or "we no longer want to do adventure games, and put more productivity, action games, strategy, etc, more diverse lineup on the market".

    It only got worse after he sold the company.

    The only plus side was that at first at least Ken Williams was not the most demanding of CEOs, he allowed his people mostly full creative control. He only occasionally came in and offered a suggestion, and people usualy complied.

    Should I even mention Activision's Bobby Kotick?

    I've already discussed Paul Trowe, LOL... :p...

    Seriously its a shame that Dan Connors gets most of the interviews. No one seems to hit up Grossman anymore, or any of the the other classic developers working at Telltale, to get their opinions on the state of games they would like to be making. No need for specifics, but are they all in mindless sync with Connor's vision? Or is he proverbially talking out of his ass, or kinda forced to follow his lead? Do they have any grand ideas they would like to work on in the future? Do anyone care about adventure games anymore?

    Also on related news... For a company that is supposed to be expanding in size, who did they hire more lawyers and marketing people? Because if developers, shouldn't they have enough bandwith for some to work on traditional gaming IPs, some to work on popular culture properties, etc?

  • $0.25 on Activision remaking Kings Quest as a skyrim knockoff only without the skill, budget, or understanding that King's Quest already has a faithful fanbase willing to spend money on a good old fashion adventure game.

    Irishsmile, unless Activision can keep the budget low enough. There are not enough King's Quest fans to make the kind of net profit that Activision likes seeing from its triple-A titles. If they make the budget too high, they risk the chance of actually losing money. Not a risk a company is generally willing to make.

    Kickstarters kinda removes that pressure from a company, since they get funding from alternative source, and don't have the same kind of pressure from shareholders. But they generally aren't going to give the kind of budget of a mainstream popular title. It is still an experiment in progress, time will tell if they are successful or not. Even with development funding will these games sell well enough to continue the trend, and push more game development?

    King's Quest fans are really a rather small niche in the scheme of things. There are a few vocal fans like us on forums, and there are certainly other fans out there. But there isn't the kind of customer base (in numbers) of many of the modern games out there.

    On a side note, if they could pull off a Skyrim or other kind of epic exploratory RPG set in the KQ universe, but could keep it fresh, offering new ideas and a mixture of what made past games good (give us plenty of puzzles, and plenty of alternative solutions), but with modern coat of paint and options. I'd give it a chance. If you read some of Roberta's over ambitious ideas for KQ8 that is kinda the hybrid she was originally hoping for. But alas at the time the technology just wasn't there.

  • @RAnthonyMahan said: I think there’s an expectation that comes with the classic stuff that puts us in kind of a no-win position where we’re going to disappoint on some level if we don’t stay true to the roots there.


    Well... Thanks for disappointing us with 3 Sam & Max and one Monkey Island I guess.
    As we all know everyone hates Telltale for those games.

  • To me a whole lot of nothing has been said.

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