Activision Teases the Return of Sierra Entertainment - Update

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Activision Teases the Return of Sierra Entertainment - Update

Mysterious site teases return of PC Gaming legend, possible reveal coming at GamesCom 2014

Update 8/10: Shortly after midnight on the West Coast, a new @sierra_games Twitter account linked to the previously revealed mystery-site appeared online and tweeted the opening lyric to LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out: "Don't call it a comeback."

Original Story: From the 80s into the mid-90s, Sierra Entertainment was one of the titans of the PC Gaming scene, developing classic games that remain benchmarks for a generation of gamers. But a subsequent slow decline through series of corporate mergers, restructures and eventual absorption by Activision Blizzard led to the company being shut down and the once-ubiquitous Sierra label ceasing to exist. Until now.

Sierra.com, a mysterious teaser website supposedly launched by Activision on August 6, features an autoplay YouTube video of an unnamed figure traveling through an arctic landscape before taking off at a sprint for a mountain that becomes visible in the distance as the screen shifts to a sleek modernized version of the classic Sierra logo. The only other "clue" provided is a link to the website of GamesCom 2014 in Cologne, which many are taking as an indication that Activision plans to announce the revival of the Sierra Entertainment label in some new form at the event.

Another hoped-for possibility is the re-release or revival of various dormant game franchises. In its heyday, Sierra was responsible for now-classic series like Kings Quest, Police Quest, Quest For Glory, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight and the infamous Leisure Suit Larry; most of which have not been continued into the 21st Century and many of which have only been available through GOG or other outlets for some time.

At this time, Activision has made no official statement on the matter.

Source: Sierra.com

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MovieBob:
In its heyday, Sierra was responsible for now-classic series like Kings Quest, Police Quest, Quest For Glory, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight and the infamous Leisure Suit Larry; most of which have not been continued into the 21st Century and many of which have not been legally available the gamers for many years.

Every series you mentioned here is available on GOG, QFG in one pack and most of the others in three game collections. Some of the more obscure Sierra titles aren't though (like Colonel's Bequest or Jones in the Fast Lane).

Sierra? Back? Squeeeeeeee!

Everyone remembers Sierra for the Quest games. Admittedly, yes, that was some of their best work. Nobody seems to remember that they were responsible - either via development or via publishing - of some of the best games on the PC for their era. Outpost 2, Masters of Olympus - Zeus, SWAT 4 (which led to Spoony's Let's Plays of it)...

They published Half-Life before Steam was a thing, fer cryin' out loud!

...oh dear, it seems like I've gone on a ramble.
Point I'm trying to make is simple: if they're returning in either of those contexts, then we are a better gaming community for it. The only thing that bothers me about this whole thing is the specter of Activision hanging over it all.

Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things. Companies like Sierra were made up of the people in them, not the name. We saw this when staff left studios like Bullfrog or Westwood or countless other PC studios gobbled up and ruined by big publishers in the 90s and 2000s. Once the creatives are gone and the corporate culture is dead you can't bring that back simply with a name.

I'm going to be supremely cynical here and say this because the PC audience, and revivals of old titles like X-Com in particular, is HUGE right now. Activision has not demonstrated for years that it knows how to make a good PC game or even that it is competent at making games in general. Although if this is a groveling return i suppose it is welcome.

Schadrach:

MovieBob:
In its heyday, Sierra was responsible for now-classic series like Kings Quest, Police Quest, Quest For Glory, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight and the infamous Leisure Suit Larry; most of which have not been continued into the 21st Century and many of which have not been legally available the gamers for many years.

Every series you mentioned here is available on GOG, QFG in one pack and most of the others in three game collections. Some of the more obscure Sierra titles aren't though (like Colonel's Bequest or Jones in the Fast Lane).

Seems it was swiftly edited. Honestly judging by that "Big Picture" episode a couple of years ago im surprised that Bob even knows where the power button is on a PC he's consistently so off the mark.

What's the point of this? Everyone that made Sierra what it was has moved on to greener pastures. All this would be is Activision doing a Sierra puppet show. Just release those games or the gritty-action reboots of those games that they're convinced are the only way to make them profitable. Don't bother with the dog-and-pony show.

Scrumpmonkey:
Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things.

Indeed. "A name some people used in the past is going to be reused by some completely different people" really isn't particularly interesting news. If Activision make good games, I don't care what label they happen to have on them. If they don't make good games, slapping a random name on them and pretending they have nostalgia value won't change that.

My Arcanum boner hasn't tingled this much since Tim Cain joined Obsidian.

Sadly I'm sure it will all be for nothing.

Kahani:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things.

Indeed. "A name some people used in the past is going to be reused by some completely different people" really isn't particularly interesting news. If Activision make good games, I don't care what label they happen to have on them. If they don't make good games, slapping a random name on them and pretending they have nostalgia value won't change that.

2K didn't buy/ bring back the Microporse name to make X-Com, they simply gave it to a company containing many of the original employers that was more than proven in making excellent PC games over decades. Bringing back a defunct name isn't necessary to start making decent games again, it is pure marketing. If you are getting exited about this you are being fooled by Bobby Kotick wearing a suit made of the long dead rotting skin of Sierra Entertainment.

Does Activision have a PC veteran company under it like Fraxis? What was the last big PC focused game Activison even published? They have a bad history of IP management and their PC ports generally suck a big fat dong. A few years ago they were even showing the open kind of contempt for the PC platform we still see from those pricks at Ubisoft.

Interesting, what I'd really like is a re-release of Shivers 1 to work on windows 7 pc's instead of all the current hoop jumping I have to do to play it.

Mcoffey:
What's the point of this? Everyone that made Sierra what it was has moved on to greener pastures. All this would be is Activision doing a Sierra puppet show. Just release those games or the gritty-action reboots of those games that they're convinced are the only way to make them profitable. Don't bother with the dog-and-pony show.

This was my thought too. It will be Rareware, alive on the outside, dead on the inside :-/

Schadrach:

MovieBob:
In its heyday, Sierra was responsible for now-classic series like Kings Quest, Police Quest, Quest For Glory, Space Quest, Gabriel Knight and the infamous Leisure Suit Larry; most of which have not been continued into the 21st Century and many of which have not been legally available the gamers for many years.

Every series you mentioned here is available on GOG, QFG in one pack and most of the others in three game collections. Some of the more obscure Sierra titles aren't though (like Colonel's Bequest or Jones in the Fast Lane).

LOVED Colonel's Bequest, and the sequel.

Maybe there will be some HD remakes, or re-envisionings in a Telltale-type mode. Not just adventure games, either. I'd kill someone in front of their own momma for another No One Lives Forever. Or the aforementioned Zeus: Master of Olympus. My God, what a phenomenal game.

What is there to be excited about here?

If its about the games they made back before they went to shit, then most of them are available on GoG.

Or if its about the prospect of new games, or remastered versions, then why doesnt Activision just have one of thier slave studios do it instead of wasting time resurrecting a dead label?

Its just a load of marketing. The PC crowd of all people should know better than to get swept up by any hype originating from Activision.

A perfect case of people ressurecting something for name value only. Most of Sierra's old catalog has already been parcelled off to other companies. NOt to mention that honestly the later installments of most of them sucked.

I mean sure they were one of the publishers for Valves Half Life back in the day but yeah.. that ain't happening again.

FAce it, the world has gone on fine without Sierra.. what gain is there to be had from it. I mean point and clicks fell out of favor a good while back.. for good reason.

Scrumpmonkey:
Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things. Companies like Sierra were made up of the people in them, not the name. We saw this when staff left studios like Bullfrog or Westwood or countless other PC studios gobbled up and ruined by big publishers in the 90s and 2000s. Once the creatives are gone and the corporate culture is dead you can't bring that back simply with a name.

To be fair, the studios that died off or were gobbled up died off because they weren't going to survive anyway, thats how business works and blaming the big corporate machine for the little guy's failure to adapt isn't a fair way to go. I'm not saying you have to like the large bloated entities that are some corporations, but stop giving them credit for the yesteryear nostalgic darling developer failing. Give you a hint, most companies not in financial troubles won't sell out to the bigger company... The usually do that when the owners want out of a bad investment with at least some cash recovered. Dev's tend to leave companies when they feel its going under too.
Some of those companies that were closed post-buyout still got a few extra months or years they most likely wouldn't have had otherwise. Maybe if anything you should be either thankful for that or even more mad because your favorite developer didn't die a "dignified" death but rather survived past its time.
BTW, I'm not necessarily taking up for big business, I've got issues with them but blaming them for a studio's collapse is just petty. Fry them for something they actually did.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things. Companies like Sierra were made up of the people in them, not the name. We saw this when staff left studios like Bullfrog or Westwood or countless other PC studios gobbled up and ruined by big publishers in the 90s and 2000s. Once the creatives are gone and the corporate culture is dead you can't bring that back simply with a name.

To be fair, the studios that died off or were gobbled up died off because they weren't going to survive anyway, thats how business works and blaming the big corporate machine for the little guy's failure to adapt isn't a fair way to go. I'm not saying you have to like the large bloated entities that are some corporations, but stop giving them credit for the yesteryear nostalgic darling developer failing. Give you a hint, most companies not in financial troubles won't sell out to the bigger company... The usually do that when the owners want out of a bad investment with at least some cash recovered. Dev's tend to leave companies when they feel its going under too.
Some of those companies that were closed post-buyout still got a few extra months or years they most likely wouldn't have had otherwise. Maybe if anything you should be either thankful for that or even more mad because your favorite developer didn't die a "dignified" death but rather survived past its time.
BTW, I'm not necessarily taking up for big business, I've got issues with them but blaming them for a studio's collapse is just petty. Fry them for something they actually did.

You couldn't be more wrong. Please do some homework. These studios were sold at the height of their power with the promise of more support and bigger scope. Westwood, Bullfrog etc weren't dying when they were sold to EA. Neither were countless other studios Activision, EA etc has mismanaged and shuttered over the years. PUBLISHERS BUY SUCCESSFUL STUDIOS. Yes they also pick up cheap failing IP but the companies I'm talking about were still in the midst of making their hits.

You obviously never heard anything from the former employees of EA studios. Incompetent top management decisions killed many of these studios. I was just posting in the thread about CnC with direct quotes from people about how mismanaged by the publisher they were and how meddling stopped them being able to make great games. There is lots and lots of evidence of this.

So an old corpse with Activision's hand shoved up its ass?

Yaaaaay.

Wake me when they start bringing in some of the developers who used to work for Sierra, until then this sounds like a cynical corporate rebranding exercise.

I don't get the point of this, you can't remake Sierra and make it Sierra still. Does this mean they are just going to be ressurecting a bunch of old Sierra IP's or something?

Scrumpmonkey:

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sierra isn't coming back. I'm sorry but it isn't. Much like Atari or Activision it's self the NAME of a formerly popular and productive company is being brought back as a way to sell you things. Companies like Sierra were made up of the people in them, not the name. We saw this when staff left studios like Bullfrog or Westwood or countless other PC studios gobbled up and ruined by big publishers in the 90s and 2000s. Once the creatives are gone and the corporate culture is dead you can't bring that back simply with a name.

To be fair, the studios that died off or were gobbled up died off because they weren't going to survive anyway, thats how business works and blaming the big corporate machine for the little guy's failure to adapt isn't a fair way to go. I'm not saying you have to like the large bloated entities that are some corporations, but stop giving them credit for the yesteryear nostalgic darling developer failing. Give you a hint, most companies not in financial troubles won't sell out to the bigger company... The usually do that when the owners want out of a bad investment with at least some cash recovered. Dev's tend to leave companies when they feel its going under too.
Some of those companies that were closed post-buyout still got a few extra months or years they most likely wouldn't have had otherwise. Maybe if anything you should be either thankful for that or even more mad because your favorite developer didn't die a "dignified" death but rather survived past its time.
BTW, I'm not necessarily taking up for big business, I've got issues with them but blaming them for a studio's collapse is just petty. Fry them for something they actually did.

You couldn't be more wrong. Please do some homework. These studios were sold at the height of their power with the promise of more support and bigger scope. Westwood, Bullfrog etc weren't dying when they were sold to EA. Neither were countless other studios Activision, EA etc has mismanaged and shuttered over the years. PUBLISHERS BUY SUCCESSFUL STUDIOS. Yes they also pick up cheap failing IP but the companies I'm talking about were still in the midst of making their hits.

You obviously never heard anything from the former employees of EA studios. Incompetent top management decisions killed many of these studios. I was just posting in the thread about CnC with direct quotes from people about how mismanaged by the publisher they were and how meddling stopped them being able to make great games. There is lots and lots of evidence of this.

Bullfrog survived six years post-EA acquisition. And they did very little in that time beyond Dungeon Keeper. Molyneux left and the studio floundered after that so blame him if anyone.

Westwood - Almost died post EA buyout due to the walkout of some of its devs prior to the buyout, which may have also been a cause of the rushed games. Red Alert 2 was developed only by people who worked there post-EA, considered one of the better C&C games and RTS's of its time. Later the studio was merged with another, but the IPs that made it live on. EA imposed guidelines on Westwood which did cause some games to be rushed, but without accurate info on what went on, we only have the word of people who were either fired or quit. Still EA got 4 decent years out of Westwood and the IPs had a few post-death releases.

Oh and by countless publishers, don't you mean a handful? Origin? Acuired in 1992, died in 2000, had tons of massive hits and was responsible for the birth of the MMO with Ultima Online post-EA. Died because of Ultima IX and Richard Garriott leaving.

Mythic Entertainment? Acuired in 2006, closed in 2014, but was merged with Bioware prior to that in 2009. Blame the economy crash for that one.
In fact any studio closed in 2008-2011 or so should really be the fault of the economy crash and not an evil publisher. (Pandemic is on that list).
Maxis? Still alive just under a different name.

Ok thats the list for EA. If they smashed studios flat, how is it that said studios were alive for at least a few years (sometimes a decade) post-buyout?
Activision? Sierra was already dying when Activision bought the parent company, Neversoft lived a good long life... what other studio did they "run into the ground"?
Overblown history my friend. You let hate for EA's stupid present policies color your view of the past.

Hm. Beloved company teased. Most of said company's back-catalogue are available on GOG, but not all. Odds of new Quest for Glory slim. Soooooo... Mixed-Up Mother Goose HD confirmed?

Imperioratorex Caprae:
Snip

Nope. Just nope. Please stop arguing that the big Publishers do not buy and close down or mege studios in rapid succession it is simply false.

EA

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/183194/every-studio-eas-bought-and-closed/ <---- Up to 2009

From 2011/2012 onwards this trend has only accelerated with EA. That's not even counting studios being messed with. When studios are merged or consolidated staff are shed, it is very much like a closure for many developers.

http://kotaku.com/ea-shuts-down-mythic-the-studio-behind-warhammer-onlin-1583376655
http://segmentnext.com/2013/04/17/ea-shutting-down-playfish-studio-says-farewell-to-social-gaming/

Activision:

http://www.gamesradar.com/exactly-how-many-studios-has-activision-closed-generation-exactly-many/ <--- From beginning of this generation until 2012

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Activision? Sierra was already dying when Activision bought the parent company, Neversoft lived a good long life... what other studio did they "run into the ground"?

Please stop being wrong.

Bizarre Creations

Years in the industry before Activision ownership: 19

Years under Activision before closure: 3

What happened? Started in 1988 as Raising Hell, Bizarre Creations put out a wide array of slick, fun and more often than not brilliant games over the course of its 22-year lifespan, initially making a name for itself with F1 in 1996 and remaining one of the best racing studios in the world from that point on. With Metropolis Street Racer, Fur Fighters, Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars, Boom Boom Rocket and The Club on its CV, Bizarre had one of the most solid and eclectic indie line-ups around.

Then Activision bought the studio. But not having bought the Bizarre's Project Gotham Racing franchise from Microsoft, it seemed Acti didn't really know what to do with its new purchase. Geometry Wars 2 was a given, but after that? We got Blur, which although brilliant smacked of design by committee. It had shiny, real-world cars. It had a 'cool' street racing vibe. It had a social network style interface. It had Mario Kart weapons. The whole game screamed of a project that had been designed by suits based on demographic analysis, and was thus a bit of a Frankenstein. Thus, it was borderline impossible to market, so Activision didn't seem to bother. And thus it did not sell very well at all.

After that? The Bond license. Yeah. And with that poison chalice, Bizarre Creations was committed to the ground.

I'd love for Sierra to truly be back but it is just a name relaunch. It's Weekend at Bernie's 3, staring Blizzard as Larry, Activision as Richard, and Sierra as Bernie.

Scrumpmonkey:

Imperioratorex Caprae:
Snip

Nope. Just nope. Please stop arguing that the big Publishers do not buy and close down or mege studios in rapid succession it is simply false.

EA

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/183194/every-studio-eas-bought-and-closed/ <---- Up to 2009

From 2011/2012 onwards this trend has only accelerated with EA. That's not even counting studios being messed with. When studios are merged or consolidated staff are shed, it is very much like a closure for many developers.

Activision:

http://www.gamesradar.com/exactly-how-many-studios-has-activision-closed-generation-exactly-many/ <--- From beginning of this generation until 2012

EA: I count 4 studios, one of which is still alive just merged (Maxis) and one of which was a satellite of the parent (DICE Canada). The rest on that list are spinoffs of EA itself.
And with the exception of DICE Canada and Kesmai/Gamestorm (which I've no clue who the second one is), every studio had at least 4 years of life, some had a lot more than that.

Activision: 8 Studios, most of which weren't absolutely smash hits to begin with.

The games industry today is much different than it was 15 years ago. Why? It has become a helluva lot more popular. This has made publishers a lot of money but now they're also dependent on that money. Dependent on consumers, not necessarily ones like you. They're consumers who don't give a rats ass about developers, just more of the same games they like. And this leads to any studio not carrying the bottom line to get axed if their next title doesn't sell well enough.
Whether you like it or not, the industry is now driven by the people who play games like Call of Duty, stuff some people on this site would say "aren't true games". Will this last forever?
What does that mean to this discussion? The face of the industry changed over the last decade, and a lot of the old developers just didn't make it because of that. Its not the fault of EA, its the fault of the industry in general, including consumers. The collapse of the old is also paving way for new things to arise in their place.
Stop holding onto this nostalgic ideal that these companies would have survived on their own, they wouldn't have. And with the death or acquisition of studios, the devs that leave or are let go move on to form new companies.
Its called business and not everything can remain forever. Not even EA or ActiBlizz. But blaming them for the changing of the guard is ludicrous. Blame the majority of gamers, they're the ones driving the industry to put out clones of x, y, and z-popular titles.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Publishers are responsible for the studios they own and EA and Activison are notorious for intervening in the content they create. Your augment makes no sense. Miss-management by studios is the reason many of these have closed, I've given you countless examples and i don't see the point in talking to a babbling brick wall. You are objectively wrong.

Unfortunately, when Sierra was originally shut down many years ago, they forgot to pick up a seemingly insignificant item in the corner of the room. Said item would turn out to be necessary in the present day for the resurrection of Sierra, and as a result the process cannot be completed.

Sabrestar:
Unfortunately, when Sierra was originally shut down many years ago, they forgot to pick up a seemingly insignificant item in the corner of the room. Said item would turn out to be necessary in the present day for the resurrection of Sierra, and as a result the process cannot be completed.

It would serve them right for all the hours of time gamers wasted.

OT: We already had our resurgence of pc adventure games via steam and gog; Activision may be a little too late to the table. Besides, I'm not sure I really want another space quest 3.

I hate to be so negative, but that little feeling of nostalgic joy lasted only until I remembered all of those wasted hours and sudden deaths.

Micah Weil:
Outpost 2

I love you. Unconditionally, and forever. I have never encountered anyone who even vaguely knew of this beautiful game's existence.

If Sierra is coming back.. well, we may just get Outpost 3. Or more Metaltech games that aren't mired in Tribes.

A new CyberStorm or Earthsiege game. Think about it.

Laura Bow 3? I really don't give two shits how they go under this time, I want Laura Bow 3. I mean, Sierra might have made God awful games that were successful out of a combination of pity, luck, and maybe hiring a decent director every once in a while, but the Laura Bow games were actually pretty good.

And, will they be point-and-click adventure games? Probably not, but they weren't ever really good anyway. At least, not Sierra's stabs at the genre.

Point-and-click adventure games are not coming back. Telltale tried it, became reasonably successful at it, and then realized they would rather make QTE-driven visual novels about zombies and werewolves instead. Activision is literally the last company in the world I would expect to take a genuine interest in reviving a dead genre, and the Sierra properties in particular were a better example of why it died than why it deserves to live.

They're not fooling anybody.

What is this, I don't even-

It may say Sierra, but if its helmed by a team that had nothing to do with the old Sierra, then its not actually Sierra.

It's the old Sierra gameplay.

Except every time you die or lock yourself out of a key item to progress, the game asks "Do you want to spend $1 to continue?".

If you don't, the game has permadeath.

If they were to suddenly announce that they had enticed the Robert's out of retirement to make Sierra games this might be something major. Otherwise it's just a name being dusted off.

Everyone's bringing up adventure games but it's the classic city builders that made me love Sierra back in the day.

And I really doubt activision gives 2 cents about that very niche genre so yar, this is just reanimating a corpse and making it twitch for a bit to give us false hopes our loved one is still alive.

Almost thought for a second that it was going to be Troika and we'll get to see Arcanum 2 happen for some strange reason.

Now I'm sad, because I was misinformed.

PS: Am I losing it or Sierra actually published Arcanum and Troika developed it or I'm totally wrong about this. It's been so long that my mind's a blur.

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