Activision Reneges On King's Quest Fan Project Shutdown

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Activision Reneges On King's Quest Fan Project Shutdown

Activision dismantled Phoenix Online Studios' long-awaited King's Quest fan game earlier this year, but has recently changed its mind on the matter.

After saddening news that Activision had shut down The Silver Lining, the King's Quest fan revival in development for nearly a decade, fan outcry may have brought it back to life. Phoenix Online Studios has announced that The Silver Lining is back in business.

Phoenix Online had worked out a deal with Vivendi to develop The Silver Lining under a non-commercial fan license, but when a merger transferred the King's Quest property over to Activision, the deal fell apart and Activision served Phoenix with a cease-and-desist. Despite The Silver Lining's eight year development cycle, Phoenix was forced to shut the project down.

A huge effort was put forth to bring The Silver Lining back to life, and it appears to have worked. Phoenix and Activision reached an agreement to release the game as a free downloadable episodic series, with Episode 1: What is Decreed Must Be to be released on July 10. More episodes will follow throughout 2010.

The Silver Lining is a continuation of the stories told in the highly beloved King's Quest adventure game series created by Roberta Williams for Sierra Entertainment in the 1980s. It spanned eight games told from the perspectives of various members the royal family of Daventry, with King's Quest V and VI bright examples of the best adventure games of the 1990s. The best ones that frustratingly allowed you to fail or die anyway. A hint book wouldn't be a bad idea if you go back to try them.

The Silver Lining marks the return of feather-capped King Graham as he strives to save his family from evil. Keep an eye on The Silver Lining's website for the release of each episode.

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I am glad to see that Activison changed their mind on this one.
No good can come of shutting down a fan project.

Cool, although I don't really see how Activision could have stopped them...I mean with all the WoW private servers with alternate patches and Pre-CU Star Wars Galaxies servers out there, if they make it, they can find ways to get it to people regardless. But it is nice that the soulless giant did something good for once.

I also had King's Quest V on my Windows 3.1 when I was a little kid (read 5-6) and couldn't figure out the 3rd or 4th thing I was supposed to do, so got quickly bored of it and went back to Putt Putt Saves the Zoo.

Meh, this just reeks of a desperate attempt to not look so ridiculously douchebaggy.

Like that devil guy giving a man a banana to make up for being a dick.

Sebenko:
Meh, this just reeks of a desperate attempt to not look so ridiculously douchebaggy.

Like that devil guy giving a man a banana to make up for being a dick.

Exactly the same thought, but recent news show they are trying to try the image, but it takes more than a few steps. It means you actually put EA back in the villian seat, that's becoming a bit hard if you ask me nowadays.

What I wonder is why these companies even bother with cease and desist orders when it comes to these fan game projects. Why don't they instead hire the team that working on it, give them some better resources to work with, then sell the finished product as an official game and potentially make a profit off of it? Win-win. After all the fact that there are devoted fans willing to devote their free time to these projects should show that there's a market for it.

Yeah, Activision, I know you probably hear this a thousand times a day, but...

Of course, the only reason Activision did that is that, between its evil DRMs, the whole Infinity Ward brouhaha, and, well, Bobby Kottick's existence, they just can't afford to do anything else the public perceives as evil. They're grasping at scraps.

I guess you could say all that evil...

had a silver living.

This is brilliant news, and definitely sets a great precedent for future fan-made game spinoffs too. I hope that this will inspire other fans to contest the shutting down of their fan projects now, we've seen too many great ones stopped in the past few years, and especially the past few months, so it's good to see someone finally fighting back, and more to the point, winning.

I never played any of the King's Quest series, being too young to know about them back in the mid-Nineties. That said, I've heard great things about Roberta Williams' stuff, and I've been a Sierra fan ever since I played the first Half-Life, so I might possibly give this a try, and potentially look into picking up the older games too if I can find cheap copies or find somewhere to download them for free completely legally...

Am I the only person who wonders why gamers so desperately seem to NEED a villain?

Why can't there NOT be some evil behemoth company?

Oh right, because we wouldn't have something to bitch about constantly.

Go Activision, be good.

Activision doing something for gamers? Is the universe going to implode or is this just part of their new "better image" campaign?

Even their "Indie gaming competition" they announced at the last GDC apparently had some ties attached to it: http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/06/Activision-Indie-Games-Competition

Once upon a time, Activision and EA were beacons of excellent game design and pillars of the industry. Beloved by gamers and respected by their peers. Yeah, I know it's hard to imagine, a lot of you weren't even born when that was going on. It's kind of depressing to think about.

...Holy shit!

This is great stuff. I was hoping something like this would happen. It seemed that Activision had no plans to even work on King's Quest now that they have the rights, so the Cease-and-desist order infuriated me.

But i'm glad through some thought and fan outcry, they actually reconsidered such a bullshit move on a fan-made game that's been in development for so long.

WanderFreak:
Am I the only person who wonders why gamers so desperately seem to NEED a villain?

Why can't there NOT be some evil behemoth company?

Oh right, because we wouldn't have something to bitch about constantly.

Go Activision, be good.

Just because its an easy example: Nobody necessarily wanted a "perfect bad guy" like Hitler to ever exist. But because he existed, people reference him a lot as a massive prick.

Activision exists, nobody really asked them to, but they do. Thusly you'll find they get referenced a lot because of the things they do.

Same could be said about other companies who don't know what they are doing when they drill a highly toxic substance beneath the most important resource on the planet...but I digress.

Now make like Valve and hire them.

Activision reputation +1

Oh hell yeah! I signed up their petition and everything. I still remember when I was little playing the first King's Quest.

Awesome... I wonder if the humor will be the same quality as the earlier ones.

OLD LAMPS FOR NEW... OLD LAMPS... FOR NEEEEWEHH

So this is what Activision meant when they said "improve their image"?

Hey! It looks like activision just started up their public relations department! (still not buying your products, nananananana)

WanderFreak:
Am I the only person who wonders why gamers so desperately seem to NEED a villain?

Why can't there NOT be some evil behemoth company?

Oh right, because we wouldn't have something to bitch about constantly.

Go Activision, be good.

Activision Wants to Improve Image

Might have something to do with it.

Well slap my butt and call my spanky, if this doesn't beat all. Though I wouldn't be surprised if good ol' Bobby keeps an eye on how many downloads there are of that, and if it is a lot he sells the license to these creative people so they can actually sell it for money...then after the second game is released he buys their company and kicks them out. Stay Tuned.

The Random One:
Of course, the only reason Activision did that is that, between its evil DRMs....

What evil DRM's? I haven't seen anything from Activision that comes close to drawing attention from what EA and Ubisoft has been doing. The way things look DRM is the one thing that Activision doesn't screw its gamers over with.

canadamus_prime:
What I wonder is why these companies even bother with cease and desist orders when it comes to these fan game projects. Why don't they instead hire the team that working on it, give them some better resources to work with, then sell the finished product as an official game and potentially make a profit off of it? Win-win. After all the fact that there are devoted fans willing to devote their free time to these projects should show that there's a market for it.

This 100x. I was just going to post something along these lines but this sums it up so well that now there is no need for it.
Shutting down fan projects seems like such an irrational action to take for a profit seeking company.

Hey, more power to them. May this be a sign of Activision finally turning back from the dark side. This way we can all focus on the greater evil; Ubisoft.

...or I can just not feel guilty supporting Activision when they inevitably come out with Prototype 2. Either way, go Paragon, Activision!

And then Silver Lining becomes a popular game...and BAM! episode 3 has a ten dollar price tag.

edit: and then a year after we find out pheonix whatever-its-called studios got nothing, and is being bought by activision for an undisclosed sum.

hey Kings Quest was an awsome series, and i'm glad this is still going through, i was looking forward to it....sigh...gaming pollitics

Hey everybody look how great and nice Activision is now. They've totally turned their image around by allowing a fan project to continue of a game they had nothing to do with and only own it by buying out the original company that made it, and probably had no plans of resurrecting the franchise anyway.
I hate to be a sarcastic douche like that, but come on!
It's like they had a board meeting to figure out a gesture to the gaming community that would cost them the least amount of effort, money, manpower, and time, and make it look like they're actually doing something.

About the game though, I hope it's cool. I was looking at it like 5 years ago and was pretty excited, but had totally lost hope in seeing it now.
The super long development time has me worried that the game will feel very dated...but I hope I'm wrong.

canadamus_prime:
What I wonder is why these companies even bother with cease and desist orders when it comes to these fan game projects. Why don't they instead hire the team that working on it, give them some better resources to work with, then sell the finished product as an official game and potentially make a profit off of it? Win-win. After all the fact that there are devoted fans willing to devote their free time to these projects should show that there's a market for it.

I posit that they wanted to halt production of the game until they could renegotiate terms more favorable to them than the "do what thou wilt" attitude that was originally there. See, now, instead of a complete game you would have been able to get anywhere, I'll bet you have to get the episodes (read: repeat visitation) from Activision "free" so long as you jump through the usual hoops (site registration, etc.), thus generating traffic for Activision. Just a theory, though.

Now if you could un-screw up Infinity Ward, Red Octane and Radical.
Then everything would be fine again.

But that ain't happening, so, right now, this looks like a very cheap PR stunt.

JourneyThroughHell:
Now if you could un-screw up Infinity Ward, Red Octane and Radical.
Then everything would be fine again.

But that ain't happening, so, right now, this looks like a very cheap PR stunt.

Your forgetting Sierra Online, the company that made the Kings Quest games that Activision ate, digested, and then shat out.

Sebenko:
Meh, this just reeks of a desperate attempt to not look so ridiculously douchebaggy.

Like that devil guy giving a man a banana to make up for being a dick.

Yeah...although I cannot be surprised when it comesto Activision...it seems to the the call of the day for them, to create a mess of things people love

Trivun:
...and potentially look into picking up the older games too if I can find cheap copies or find somewhere to download them for free completely legally...

You can play 'em here online and it's legal if you're really that bothered.

I remember really enjoying them when I was little. Although I did die a lot. Also hilarious that it's set in Daventry since there's a Daventry near me that people call "Chav-entry" since there are so many chavs there >__>

OT: Good to see it coming back. As said before Activision wants to get a good image.

I have a strange feeling of deja vu, didn't this project get cycled between CaD and go ahead and keep doing it once before already?

Activision = evil.

Oh man, King's Quest. Played one of those aaaaaages ago, but I don't remember which. I do remember that it came in a whole bunch of floppy disks, I think it was 8 of them or something, and it pissed me off because one of them had a virus and it killed my computer. For all the hate Roberta Williams has gotten though, she made some pretty legendary games. Phantasmagoria was the first adventure game that I went out and bought after saving money for months as a child. Parents didn't know of course. Bought it in secret, kept it locked away and only played after they had gone to bed, with my headphones on. Good times...

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