After A Long Slumber The Mountain Awakes

Sierra Entertainment

Developer and publisher Sierra-Online, which published one of my favorite games – Betrayal at Krondor(Our continuing play through is yet to be completed on our Youtube page) is back – as Sierra Entertainment. Some titles under their belt count Gabriel Knight, King’s Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, Outpost, Police Quest, Phantasmagoria, Quest for Glory, Space Quest, SWAT. Best known for their adventure games the publisher – developer merged with Activision in 2007, and then completely dropped off the grid sometime in 2009. Long before, in 1996, founder and long standing CEO Ken Williams, along with his wife, had been long gone.

Sierra is known for being one of the pioneers in introducing graphics into adventure games. It’s innovation in story telling and graphic integration has helped shape today’s gaming industry, while it’s company history became historic and in some way a harsh monument of how a small company can be easily engulfed by the monolithic corporate world.

The short story is: one morning Ken learned that a company named CUC was going to offer 50% more/share of Sierra stock than its current market price. They bought the company out from under us. They said “we want to keep everything just the same” so of course the first thing they did was change everything! They merged with another corp named HFS, named the combined company Cendant, which then had big “accounting irregularities” and was the target of a huge shareholder suit (search the Internet for that one; it’s a real education!). Ken was shuffled off to “start up our Internet shopping site.” And did. But it was too late. They pissed him off, wouldn’t listen, he quit to start an Internet Talk Radio site called Worldstream, which has sinced folded too.

Then Cendant sold off all the game companies they had bought two years before for a huge loss (paid $4 billion; sold for $1.5 billion) to Havas, a French conglomerate that makes, among other things, jet engines, water treatment plants, and educational books. Havas has merged with Vivendi, which then acquired Seagrams and Universal Studios! [blip]! If I had only hung on longer, we could have had a Leisure Suit Larry theme park ride!!

There was no big conspiracy, only greed and incompetence (well, if you don’t count the other just plain stealing) toward Sierra. No one there had any idea what they had bought, so they dumped it. Damned shame.


Currently on their site, which is where many found the chilling new opening billboard(for games?), the copyright reads:

SIERRA is a trademark of Activision Publishing

Most people know that, the exciting part says.

More to be revealed at Gamescom 2014.

Betrayal at Krondor remake? Ok, I’ll stop, but Leisure Suite Larry for Next Gen? Ooooohhhhhh…

A happy monkey pretending to be a boy.