This will be just a short little retrospective on TSL...I was probably one of the games' most vocal critics in the past. I had my reasons. But upon replaying it, I've come to a different conclusion.
While the game takes great liberties (which I disagree with) with the backstory of KQ and retcons a lot of the older games, the game's story in and of itself is a damn good one. They managed to recapture the atmosphere, fairy tale references, and for a bunch of people working for free, they created a very beautiful game with awesome music.
The game doesn't work very well as a standalone game, and does rely a bit too much on nostalgia, but perhaps that's because it's a fan game and not so much any flaw of the writers. The game was long awaited and many fans had invested a lot of emotions into it and it wouldn't have delivered if it didn't have an ample dose of nostalgia.
I think their company would be a great go-to company if the KQ license were to ever fall into another company's hands, with some modifications if it were a commercial game:
-I would not touch or retcon the backstory of the original games.
-I would not establish The Black Cloak Society as having anything even remotely to do with any KQ game prior to KQ5. No "the Black Cloak Society is responsible for everything that went bad in the previous games"
-I would make it a standalone game, the same way the previous KQs were, with very few callbacks to previous games.
-I would focus more on fairy tales/myths/the fantasy element rather than on character development.
-I'd use a totally new land as the setting, as all the previous games o.
In a fan game, all those things (the focus on nostalgia and character development, going back to the Green Isles, etc) work, because a fan game is supposed to be partly a nostalgic revisit with old friends who you've come to love, but in a commercial game, it wouldn't work.
But I do think the writers of TSL are very talented, and probably are even better now than when TSL was written (a decade ago or so), and I think I can honestly say at this point I'd trust the KQ series in their hands--Hopefully they'd take the series beyond a KQ9.