Does anyone else ever feel that it kind of sucks sometimes to be a fan of Sierra, or Sierra's games? Not because of the games themselves--they're quality, awesome games, classics--But because of all that has happened since around 1999 or so?
I'm not old enough, sadly, to have actively experienced Sierra's glory days--Not in any major way. I played my first Sierra game in 1995, at the age of 5--Right around the time the "good times" were about to end for Sierra, and in any case, too young to fully understand.
But playing the games, watching and checking out all the bonus material that Sierra would put in their Collections, reading stuff like InterAction Magazine (having bought a few issues off Ebay), I can get just a taste of what an amazing time it must've been. Sierra, at it's peak, must've been both an exciting and fantastic place to work at--and for the fans which churned out classics of place which inspired awe and wonder. It must've rivaled Disney under Walt Disney in terms of the general "magic" surrounding the company.
To this day, I contend that there isn't nor hasn't been any game company which is as cool, or as good to it's fans, or as "warm" as Sierra under Ken Williams was. From InterAction, to the bonus features, to their No Risk Return policy, Sierra seemed to do it's all to make you feel like a part of the "Sierra Family"--to make the customer feel like he or she wasn't just a faceless consumer, but were themselves a part of the whole operation--That they were listened to, understood and treated as more than just a faceless market.
Even while CEO, Ken Williams would come on Usenet and chat with fans directly, nothing censoring the fans' questions. That would be like the CEO of Activision (Sierra was, in terms of size, power and income, the Activision or EA of the early-mid 90s) coming into a thread and directly chatting. You don't see that kind of accessibility or warmth from any company except perhaps small ones. And somehow despite having over 1,000 employees and being a publicly traded company, Sierra did manage to maintain that intimate, accessible sort of feel that a small group of rebel game makers would have, rather being than the cold, detached monolith which most corporations are.
And then the bad times came. Sierra was sold once, then financially gutted because it's new owners were corrupt and used Sierra's name in illegal activities, then sold again to a company which had no interest in what made Sierra what it was, a company which promptly shut down Sierra's adventure game divisions and shut down the original headquarters which helped give the company it's name, the place from which so many classic and beloved emerged. Ken and Roberta Williams sailed, with the money made from the first sale, away from the gaming industry, and all the rest of Sierra's writers, artists and designers either quit or were fired when Sierra was sold to Vivendi.
Then Vivendi decided they were going to "bring back" some of Sierra's classic franchises, while giving a big middle finger to the original designers who made said franchises and rejecting any advice or offers of help...And promptly shat out Leisure Suit Larry: Magnum Cum Laude, a horrendous, generic, half baked game which shares with the real LSL series only a common brand name. And they attempted to make a "sequel" to Space Quest around the same time--which had nothing to do with the original Space Quest series at all.
Around this time, Vivendi shut down Sierra's physical headquarters at Bellevue--Having been Sierra's HQ since 1993--and closed down Sierra's last remaining subsidiaries. Sierra was reduced to being a company which existed only in name--a brand and logo which Vivendi slapped on it's products for the next several years, whose legacy was forgotten totally and desecrated. And then finally, Activision laid the name to rest...Sadly for good.
A last LSL game was released, and it was much the same as Magnum Cum Laude--It had nothing to do with the original series.
And that's where we stand. Yes, we have a remake of the original LSL being made by Al, Josh and some of the others...But I am skeptical. Not because I doubt the talents of any involved--But because we live in a time where the gaming industry has no real soul left; It's just utterly commercial, generic crap being pumped out by faceless companies, each trying to copy and out do the other. We live in an age where the gaming industry is locked into very narrow boxes and doesn't tend to accept anything outside of those boxes--And Sierra's games, and adventure games in general, fit way outside any box with their innocent, goofy atmosphere and non-violent formats.
That's why I support this TT game. Not because I am certain it will be good, but because even if it's say, closer in format to KQ7 than to KQ6, if it's successful, it might show Activision that REAL adventure games can make money. That it's worth investing in them further. If I had to choose between Activision doing a KQ game in house or farming it out to TT, the choice is clear. Even if it's not a "great game" by the standards of die hard fans, if it is a good KQ game--which respects the originals, has the same atmosphere, has the non violent format--and suceeds--it could change the game up a little.
It largely sucks to be a Sierra fan, because for the last decade or so we've been disappointed over and over again, but I do look to TT's game with a glimmer of hope, and at the larger picture, and I hope I'm not fooled again.