It’s official: Sierra is back. Sure, it’s not the same company that husband-and-wife programmers Ken and Roberta Williams founded as On-Line Systems back in 1979, but it has Ken’s blessing and a new plan to revive the magic of Sierra’s classic for a larger audience than the company ever knew in its former life.
As far as specifics go, there are two games planned on the immediate horizon. First up is Geometry Wars: Dimensions from Lucid Games, which is coming in fall 2014. Details are light at this time, but the game features “full 3D action” for both competitive and cooperative play, a first for the franchise. The single player campaign features 50 challenges and 10 battle modes, five of which are new to the series. Dimensions also features persistent progression, though the particulars of how it works isn’t clear.
Fans of Sierra as it existed in the ’80s and ’90s will also be very excited to learn that there’s a new King’s Quest adventure coming in 2015. The as-yet-untitled game is a true sequel, developed by The Odd Gentlemen, that follows series protagonist King Graham as he shares his life’s greatest adventures with his granddaughter, Gwendolyn. Given the series penchant for sly humor, the Princess Bride-like oral storytelling setup seems like a perfect fit. There’s not even a release window yet for this one yet; stay tuned for more soon.
The revived Sierra label isn’t so different from the company that first adopted the name back in the ’80s. Parent company Activision has established Sierra’s return as a sub-publishing label, built around working with indies on classic Sierra franchises and new IPs both. It’s actually a smart use of the brand that Activision’s been hanging onto since its 2008 merger with Vivendi Games, given the ever-rising popularity of smaller, offbeat titles that seem to be spilling out of the indie space these days. Instead of carving out this sub-publishing initiative under a generic label, Activision’s putting a brand on it that people already know and love.
Ken Williams expressed his excitement for the news in a prepared statement. “We’re very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today’s news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging,” he said. “We look forward to seeing Sierra’s independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King’s Quest.”
There’s also an official statement from Bob Loya, who serves as Sr. Director of External Development at Activision; he seems to be taking point on communicating what’s happening with Sierra to the public. “Sierra’s goal is to find and work with talented indie developers working on their own amazing projects, or passionate about working on great Sierra IP, and leverage our expertise to aid them in bring these fun and exciting experiences to gamers with the level of visibility and awareness they deserve,” Loya said. “In addition to Lucid Games and The Odd Gentlemen, we’re in talks with a large number of other indie devs, and can’t wait to share more details with fans in the near future.”