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The Royal Archives => Gaming Archives => Topic started by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on June 26, 2011, 04:17:00 PM

Title: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on June 26, 2011, 04:17:00 PM
For those old enough to remember, when did the adventure genre begin to markedly decline in popularity--decline enough for people to ponder whether or not the genre was "dying"?

Some facts to consider: KQ5, released in November 1990, became the HIGHEST SELLING PC GAME OF ALL TIME. It held this title for 5 years, until Myst overtook it in 1995--1995 possibly being the height of Myst Mania? Myst remained the greatest selling PC game of all time until 2000 or 2001, whenever The Sims came out.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on June 26, 2011, 05:29:36 PM
Adventure games didn't die, they evolved. When simplified Deus Ex was a Point 'n click-adventure game with elements of shooting and rpg. Same goes for its father System Shock. Psychonauts was an adventure game with action scenes. Sure, you might say that the classical point 'n click- or text parser-style games declined in popularity during the 90's, but you also have to take note that during that time period new gaming genres emerged that gave the players (sometimes literally) completely new perspectives on how they can experience the game.

As to answer why Myst was the top selling game for a long time? I don't know for sure, but you have to look at the time it was released to truly understand the mindset of a person who bough it.
A) Myst was released when home desktop computers were becoming popular. So people, who didn't care for computers before, bought one and with it bought games to be amazed by it.
B) Myst was released when CDROM-drives were becoming affordable to the audience. Myst with 7th Guest were one of the earliest games that were used to show what one could do with the CD.
C) Myst is one of the few games that doesn't have a timer or anyway of dying (besides the bad endings), so it was a perfect for those who just wanted to suck in the atmosphere and advance with their own terms. A perfect game for those who don't really want their hero to die every damn second (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfufSi4XRb4).
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MusicallyInspired on June 26, 2011, 09:26:53 PM
The decline happened around 96-97. That's when the familiar adventure style started to fade. I think the last good one was apparently The Longest Journey (99?) before Syberia came out in 2000 or so....I'm still trying to figure out WHY that game did so well.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Cez on June 27, 2011, 02:20:15 AM
It was beautiful, lack of other good adventure games at the time, it had good production values overall.

It was a beacon of hope for people to hold on to.  I enjoyed the game, but it was greatly overrated. However, it was a nice thing to have around when we were so recently starving for high-quality adventure games with Sierra having gone to hell so recently.

One better question would be WHY did Myst do so well? :)
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Blackthorne on June 27, 2011, 08:18:36 AM
Myst had beautiful rendered 3D graphics for the time.  People were obsessed with these new 3D graphics at the time.  3D = latest technology.  That, honestly, was a big selling point of Myst.  It's integration of multimedia components as well as it's challenging, yet accesable puzzles made it appealing to a wide bunch of gamers.

Seriously, though, I think it was the look of Myst.  Pretty graphics can sell a lot of things - if the gameplay had been really crappy it might not of worked, but the game was JUST mediocre enough for people to over look that and go "PREEEETY PICTURES!"


Bt
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on June 27, 2011, 08:35:17 AM
One better question would be WHY did Myst do so well? :)

A) Cheaper computers
B) Cheaper CD-ROM drives
C) Much more forgiving to the new players
D) Word of mouth

(http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.08/myst.html)

And a word that was on every single computer ad during the period: Multimedia.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on June 27, 2011, 12:37:34 PM
One main thing that hurt adventure gaming, as we knew it, was a greedy CEO with the initials K. W.:
 http://www.gog.com/en/news/from_monochrome_to_monarchy_kings_quest_history_final_episode/0

 "Sierra was a public company," said Sierra CEO and co-founder Ken Williams. "As its CEO I had an obligation to Sierra's shareholders to maximize the value of their investment. We received an offer that was nearly double the current price the stock was trading at. The decision was really out of my hands."
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on June 27, 2011, 01:50:18 PM
One main thing that hurt adventure gaming, as we knew it, was a greedy CEO with the initials K. W.:
 http://www.gog.com/en/news/from_monochrome_to_monarchy_kings_quest_history_final_episode/0

 "Sierra was a public company," said Sierra CEO and co-founder Ken Williams. "As its CEO I had an obligation to Sierra's shareholders to maximize the value of their investment. We received an offer that was nearly double the current price the stock was trading at. The decision was really out of my hands."

I don't think accepting an offer of 1.5 billion for the company you spent 16 years putting blood, sweat and tears into, when you do have an obligation to the shareholders is greed. Especially when you think you know and can trust the people you're selling to.

Walter Forbes was the CEO and founder of CUC, which bought Sierra in July 1996. Forbes had been on Sierra's board of directors since 1991 and seemed like a guy Ken could trust; He had helped push Sierra's massive growth as a company from 1991-1996. Sierra went from employing 300 people at 3 studios in 1991 to having over 1,000 employees at around ten studios in 1996 at the time of the sale. How was Ken to know he was actually dealing with crooks?
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on June 27, 2011, 03:14:39 PM
I understand that aspect of it; although you mentioned facts I didn't know. BUT, if you read the article I linked, you find out that KEN ordered the cessation of all current Sierra adventure games in order to change the way Sierra games were going. Next time you wish Space Quest, Torin's Passage, etc. had more sequels, think about MoE - that's where everyone was redirected. Therefore stopping their Good projects to focus on 'King's Quest Meets Diablo.'
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MusicallyInspired on June 27, 2011, 03:37:03 PM
I really liked Myst. Not because of the graphics, either, it was very non-linear and had an element of exploration not found anywhere else. With all the puzzles and clues strewn throughout the ages for you to piece together on your own it was a quite an adventure. Other games that copied Myst's first-person "lonely" puzzle adventure really didn't capture it as well as Myst did. Myst is the only one that works in that style in my opinion.

With Syberia, you weren't the character you were controlling a character....and a truly detestable one at that. If most of the game owes its praise to her story and her character development than maybe that's why I hate it. I couldn't stand her and didn't care at all about her story or predicament. All that was left after that was the atmosphere, puzzles, supporting characters, and scenery. All of which I thought were extremely mediocre.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on June 27, 2011, 04:22:55 PM
Syberia

Benoit Sokal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benoit_Sokal). He was the reason why I tracked down Syberia. I have a couple of his Inspector Canardo (or Tarkastaja Ankardo, as he is known here) books on my shelf. Stiff facial expressions, but the stories are sometimes really good. Usually some sort of bestial love is involved, at least during the early years of the book (La marque de Raspoutine), but most of them are just pretty mature and horrifying detective stories with anthropomorphic animals.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on June 27, 2011, 04:32:38 PM
I understand that aspect of it; although you mentioned facts I didn't know. BUT, if you read the article I linked, you find out that KEN ordered the cessation of all current Sierra adventure games in order to change the way Sierra games were going. Next time you wish Space Quest, Torin's Passage, etc. had more sequels, think about MoE - that's where everyone was redirected. Therefore stopping their Good projects to focus on 'King's Quest Meets Diablo.'

Ken had a knack for seeing the "writing on the wall" in terms of the PC game industry, and I think he saw which way the wind was blowing with regard to adventure games as early as the mid 90s, before they had officially "died." He probably loved all those series and wanted to keep them going but in a profitable form. As the '90s ended it was obvious that the traditional, 2D, non-violent adventure game wasn't what most gamers wanted. I think he was hoping these great series could be brought into a new age, in new mediums, and was counting on fans being more open minded. I personally love the "KQ Meets Diablo" approach of KQ8 and wish the series had continued on in that direction....

I don't think it was really greed or malice on his part, simply wanting to keep those games alive. A public company with the demands of the truly greedy--the investors and shareholders--- isn't going to invest in 2D adventure games ala KQ6 if that's only going to cost them money without getting a good return.

Ken was a guy who foresaw massive multiplayer online gaming as early as 1990; He foresaw the "death" of adventure games as early as 1990 and had retooled Sierra's business model to slowly move away from adventure games altogether sometime in 1990. Sierra's focus in the mid 90s was to be on productivity software, and on games which could be revamped every year--Think Madden sort of games. That's why he and Sierra bought up a bunch of companies in the early-mid 90s.

He was openly declaring the adventure genre dead in 1996, even though Phantasmagoria had been Sierra's biggest hit ever just a year before. He saw where the wind was blowing. He wanted to focus on online gaming, massive multiplayer stuff; His biggest regret was selling The Sierra Network.

This is a guy who wanted to merge with Broderbund in 1991. Had the merger gone through successfully, Sierra would've been a co-publisher of the mega hit Myst (Broderbund was the publisher of Myst for Cyan). He also wanted to buy id Software after the heads of id sent Sierra a demo version of Wolfenstein 3D. The only reason that fell through was the guys at id got greedy and decided to ask for more than Sierra was willing to give, after Sierra had already given them a 2 million dollar offer to buy their company. Had Sierra succeeded in both of these initiatives, Sierra would still be alive and would likely be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, game company on the planet.

Consider that his last major decision as CEO of Sierra was to sign on Half-Life in late 1996 or early 1997 as a Sierra published title. He also secured exclusive rights to the Half-Life franchise (but a later Sierra CEO gave that right back to the creators of Half Life). Half-Life went on to be a huge hit, one of Sierra's last. Had Sierra retained the exclusive copyright to Half Life that Ken had secured, Sierra could've "been in the money" with Half Life and still been in business today.



Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: wilco64256 on June 27, 2011, 08:34:26 PM
I admit that I have never even come remotely close to finishing Myst.  I couldn't ever get into the story and so the gameplay bored me.  And it's not the game type that I didn't like, I finished both Shivers games, Lighthouse, and Rama, which all had a similar gameplay setup.  Just something about Myst that I couldn't get into.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on June 27, 2011, 09:55:35 PM
Ok. I'm not saying Ken is the world's biggest piece of rubbish; I'm saying that his lousy decisions are a large reason for the decline in adventure gaming, as we knew it at the time. Although, I must admit, after reading that article, my respect level Severely dropped for him. However, my opinions regarding Roberta's later choices have softened. Also mentioned is the fact that she wasn't finished with MoE, so the hugely buggy (even GOG version with the 1.3 patch) game wasn't ready to compile and ship, according to her. Anyway, the fact is Ken was the business and Roberta was the heart of Sierra - a fact which became more and more obvious through their actions in the end.

Regarding Myst, I think it was ahead of its time in graphics, but feels "Soulless" in its gameplay; I prefer humor and characters, not just pretty vistas. But, to each his own.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: glottal on June 28, 2011, 12:32:31 AM
I'm saying that his lousy decisions are a large reason for the decline in adventure gaming, as we knew it at the time.

If an industry or genre is so dependent on one group or company that a set of lousy decisions by one manager can ruin the entire industry/genre, that industry or genre is doomed (or at least extremely vulnerable).  Lousy decisions will, eventually, be made. 

(I am not saying that Ken Williams' decisions are responsible for the decline of adventure games - I don't know enough to make a judgement call on that).

That's one reason why I like the idea of a bunch of small businesses - including Phoenix Online - reviving the adventure genre.  The adventure genre might never again be as big as it was in the glory days, but it might become more robust.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: KatieHal on June 28, 2011, 05:37:58 AM
Don't feel too bad Dawson--Perceval isn't one who changes his mind easily, and will argue to the death for his point of view.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: darthkiwi on June 28, 2011, 08:53:52 AM
Quote
the fact is Ken was the business and Roberta was the heart of Sierra - a fact which became more and more obvious through their actions in the end.

From what I've heard about them, that seems true. But surely it isn't bad to be business-minded? After all, without income no Sierra games would have been made. Sierra was in no way obliged to make adventure games, and other companies could easily have made their own. Since they were declining (not, perhaps, in revenues, but certainly in whether they were fashionable and what people wanted to play), it would have been unwise for Sierra to simply ignore what was going on in the gaming world more widely and to continue blindly churning out more point-and-clicks. I think they made the right choice in trying to evolve the adventure genre in MoE, even if I don't think they got it quite right.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on June 28, 2011, 09:38:03 AM
Sierra was in no way obliged to make adventure games,

And despite we remember Sierra best for their adventure games, their software catalog comprised of many genres. Thexder, Silpheed, Johnny Castaway, Threshold, Zeliard, Sabotage, Nova 9, Mr. Cool, Marauder, Lunar Leaper, Ultima II, Earthsiege, Crossfire, Firehawk, B.C's Quest For Tires (check out that old logo (http://www.mobygames.com/game/bcs-quest-for-tires/cover-art/gameCoverId,96338/)), Red Baron, Indycar Racing II, Nascar Racing, Sierra Championship Boxing... and so on. Some were imported from Japan and other are just copies of arcade games popular when they were made.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on June 28, 2011, 03:21:23 PM
Katie:  Thank you for the support.

I agree that being business-minded is important for a company. Companies rely on sales and income, obviously. But, from an emotional standpoint - especially now that I've been doing more research on Sierra - it's depressing to KNOW that Torin's Passage will never have its planned sequels and KQ is "Officially" left in the hands of people who weren't true fans of the Sierra style. In fact, there's a quote around here on another thread of a TellTale employee who said he didn't like Sierra games' format, back in the day - when Sierra was at its peak. Just finding out that Sierra's demise is due to two terrible decisions, both admitted in interview by the person himself, is heartbreaking.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: glottal on June 28, 2011, 08:07:53 PM
DawsomJ, are you talking about the decline of adventure gaming, or just Sierra?  I'm not clear what you mean at this point.

Anyway, it seems to be that what happened to adventure gaming is that it went through a boom and bust.  Booms tend to be followed by busts.  The best way to avoid busts is to avoid booms. that becomes/is a public corporation sees its revenue increase 10 fold in five years (I don't know Sierra's actual revenue growth, I'm just giving an example) is much more likely to head for a bust than a small business which operates on a shoestring budget and, while not wildly profitable, has figured out how to support itself over the long haul. If you have a bunch of these small businesses (diversification) that industry as a whole will be more stable, though perhaps not as profitable, as an industry dominated by one or two large businesses.

EDIT: Of course, I also think it's heartbreaking that the KQ rights are not in the hands of people who love KQ (I've never played Torin's Passage, but I can imagine how that could be heartbreaking too).  To me, though, that's all the more reason to support reforming copyright law.  In my opinion, a copyright should last 14 years with a one-time 14 year extension, and that everything should go to public domain after 28 years.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on June 28, 2011, 09:24:40 PM
Sierra was to adventure games what XTree was to directory listings - they didn't just use the existing simplistic style; they gave it a whole new aspect; though often not accredited with their own accomplishments. In other words, Sierra was the inventor of many things which made adventure gaming so special; LucasArts just used those ideas and abilities and mixed them with a new style, e.g. "Look At," "Pick Up," etc, instead of Sierra's icons. But Sierra was first to implement a GUI for text parser adventures. So... when the Master dies, as do the followers. LucasArts got away with a couple games after Sierra died, but everything changed during that time period.

Although Myst was popular, many of us felt the lack of emotion, due to the Puzzle/Hidden-Object-esque style. Now BigFish makes bank off of that, so things started a new direction at that point.

(Posted on: June 28, 2011, 10:52:59 PM)


Anyway... Enough about MY Opinions. ¿Qué opino yo? Who cares. I'm not out to cause a controversy. I was angry about recently learning about the inner struggles that lead to the demise of Sierra. Apparently, I've been taken too seriously. So, anyway, to each his own.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: drunkenmonkey on June 28, 2011, 09:34:18 PM
You'll never get me to say a hidden object game is an adventure game.>:( I don't even like it when a myst-like game is mentioned in the same sentence as a point and click graphic adventure with both being on different sides of the spectrum.

True that when Goldeneye on the N64 became popular and there was an ever rising trend in FPS, allot of gamers went in that direction. Adventure games could be completed very easily with the aid of walkthroughs and publishers felt that 2D adventures were no longer marketable.

Fast forward to today and you see that many modern commercial full adventure games with advanced lighting and shadowing techniques etc. are from German developers. Whether with translation issues or a different view of adventures these games fall short and are even obscure in todays games market.

Telltale games are another aspect of popular adventure games. Say what you will about their approach and how they are adventure-lite according to traditional adventurers, these games are helping to get adventure games recognized by a new generation of fans and are doing the right thing in order to mainstream adventures for today's gamers, because lets face it old school wasn't cutting it anymore. 
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MusicallyInspired on June 28, 2011, 11:16:55 PM
Goldeneye didn't bring about the FPS phenomenon. It was a result of it.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: drunkenmonkey on June 28, 2011, 11:23:39 PM
Yeah but up to that point, FPS was mainly a PC experience. FPS reached many more people through consoles.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: glottal on June 28, 2011, 11:32:03 PM
Who cares. I'm not out to cause a controversy. I was angry about recently learning about the inner struggles that lead to the demise of Sierra. Apparently, I've been taken too seriously. So, anyway, to each his own.

Well, you can do what you want - if you've had enough of this conversation, whatever, you're the master of your own free time.  I don't see what the controversy is - I don't think it's a controversy whenever people who are in a discussion don't agree with each other.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: darthkiwi on June 29, 2011, 04:28:40 PM
Glottal - your copyright law suggestion intrigues me. I've often thought it seems madness for intellectual property to be bought and sold by companies so that somebody can end up with a property, almost by accident, which they have no interest in. Like what's happened with KQ. I have always thought that copyright law exists to protect the creators of a work from being screwed over: for example, if a writer writes a book and it's successful, copyright law prevents somebody from buying one copy of the book, copying it all out, printing it and selling it cheaper than the writer's publishers, thus making a killing out of the writer's efforts. I don't really see how that translates to a property like KQ, where almost all interest had officially lapsed and where the original creators were, bizarrely, in a position where, even if they *had* wanted to continue the series, they wouldn't have the right to.

But I'm curious, why 14 years? Why not 10 or 20?

Also, what if an IP is being constantly used? For example, if KQ was started in 1983 then the copyright for KQ would run until 1997. Does this mean that Sierra would have to apply for an extension in 1997, or would the copyright be "refreshed" every time a new KQ game was released?
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: glottal on July 01, 2011, 01:18:35 AM
darthkiwi - I started a new thread to continue this conversation (I didn't get to your last question - the post was getting too long)

http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=10847.0
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on July 01, 2011, 08:17:02 AM
Adventure games began to decline I would say around 1993. Doom is what kicked in FPS. Then all the doom clones came out, rest is history.  I think FPS in part had to do with the decline of the genre.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on July 01, 2011, 09:31:07 AM
Quote
I think FPS in part had to do with the decline of the genre.

So the sudden increase of the console market had nothing to do with it?
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Blackthorne on July 01, 2011, 10:25:59 AM
Quote
I think FPS in part had to do with the decline of the genre.

So the sudden increase of the console market had nothing to do with it?


I wouldn't say that had an effect until about 1998 - the proliferation of the N64 and PlayStation as more affordable and higher end systems made consoles more attractive.  Up until them, the PC games were usually superior.


Bt
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on July 01, 2011, 11:10:21 AM
I wouldn't say that had an effect until about 1998 - the proliferation of the N64 and PlayStation as more affordable and higher end systems made consoles more attractive.  Up until them, the PC games were usually superior.

Yeah, but computers were for nerds and dweebs. The original Playstation, which was for cool people, was released in 1994, so it should fit the timeline pretty good.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Big C from Cauney island on July 02, 2011, 06:21:11 AM
As far as consoles go, when super nintendo came out that was affordable.  But adventure games were still around and popular. Genesis was around too. I don't think it was consoles, more style of game that affected the decline.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MikPal on July 02, 2011, 07:45:58 AM
As far as consoles go, when super nintendo came out that was affordable.  But adventure games were still around and popular. Genesis was around too. I don't think it was consoles, more style of game that affected the decline.

But Nintendo and Sega were kids toys, man! And it was made by the guys who did my Walkman! It was a hundred bucks cheaper than a Sega Saturn. Four hundred bucks cheaper than a 3DO! Riiiidge Raceeer!!! I used to play the living (insert profanity here) out of that game in the arcades! No more childish sidescrollers, 'cause we have 3 (insert profanity here) Deee! No more clicking stuff, since I can move the guy on my TV with my controller! Now that's Immersion!! No fumbling with the Autoexec.bat or Config.sys! No more "Out of Memory"! No more bleeps and bloops from the PC-speaker! Freedom from the opressive machine!

Forget something being affordable. Think about where the people who raised the PS to it's modern glory came from.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Damar on July 05, 2011, 07:01:49 PM
I don't know much about the fall of Sierra as a company or even about other genres taking over the adventure genre.  What I think a main issue was, though, was the companies purposely changing the adventure game formula.  There's a difference between improving an idea or changing with the times, and completely altering the core identity.  For example, one of the arguments against adventure games has been that they're too hard and unforgiving.  The games changed with the times and when KQ5 came around, they did away with the parser.  In KQ6 they did away with dead ends.  You can argue about whether something was lost with these things, but ultimately the identity of the game remained the same.

Now contrast that with the change between KQ6 and KQ7.  They continued to take the "it's too hard" complaint to heart and completely dumbed down the interface.  Is it just too hard to look around?  Well now your curser will sparkle when you move it over something important.  Don't know if that item can be used there?  Well why try it?  We'll make the item light up if it's usable.  Is saving your game just too hard?  Well now you can retry from the moment you died.  Is this all still way to hard for you and getting you stuck?  Well, now you have chapters so you can skip right to the end and feel like a big boy when you beat the game!  None of these were improvements.  In fact, I feel they watered down what an adventure game was.  People argued that the magic map in KQ3 removed the challenge.  That was nothing compared to this!  You had a magnificent game in KQ6, a symbol of what the adventure genre was, and you tweaked it so much that the sequel was a kiddie game.

And then after KQ7, it's as if they noticed the popularity of shooters, so they made Mask of Eternity and tried to act like it was still an adventure game.  Absolutely not!  Overcoming obstacles, trading with characters, and using your wits to travel and explore a new land to find a key to a magic door is an adventure game.  Jumping on tiles in a given order so that you can be given a key to open a door to kill skeletons is not an "adventure game puzzle."  They further altered what an adventure game was.  Or rather, they just made a first person shooter and called it an adventure game.

I understand that some things do have to change with time, however that only goes so far.  Some things you just can't change without corrupting the underlying idea.  There comes a point where you just admit that either your product is no longer a part of the public consciousness and settle into a niche market and pray for a retro phase, or you just pack it up and go home.  Continuing to alter what you are eventually removes the soul from your work.  When the creators of this game crossed that line, thinking that it would lead to more sales, that's when I think the adventure genre died.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on July 18, 2011, 08:58:15 PM
Umm, btw, KQ6 is filled with about as many dead ends as in KQ5, just most of the items that will cause them are clustered in two or three places (see Catacombs, the Land of the Dead, and the Castle of the Crown).
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Damar on July 22, 2011, 01:43:11 PM
True enough, though they were still trying to do away with them.  Though I would argue that the nature of the dead ends changed as well.  In earlier games you could simply not have an item and have no clue that you were missing something, then get stuck.  In King's Quest VI, you could miss something, but it was generally pretty clear.  Not picking up the Styx water in the Realm of the Dead would be a dead end, but at some point you're going to check your spell book and go, "OH, SHOOT!" and then restore and not be too far from where you were.  Not grabbing the nightingale in the short ending is a little tougher to figure out if you go wrong, but still, you're not backtracking too much.  It's certainly a far cry from realizing at the very end of KQII that you had crossed that bridge one time too many when you first started.  (Even KQV which people badmouth for dead ends, wasn't too bad in that regard.  Like you're really not going to pick up Cedric or that crowbar?  Really?  And the game even added a POOIsonous snake to make sure you had everything you needed to go to the mountains and beyond without a dead end with Dink.  Still, that shows that they were learning and trying to fine-tune the gameplay.)

Regardless, my overall point remains the same.  There's trying to refine a concept and then there's changing the concept completely.  Adventure games seemed to stray too far from what their very nature was and I think that's what put the final nail in the coffin.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on July 31, 2011, 07:43:38 AM
Actually the nature of dead ends really changed in KQ5 (though some might argue KQ4 for certain reasons). That game had alot of unique deaths that were only triggerable if you made wrong decisions. For example being killed in the woods by spiders, man eating plants, and or becoming lost! Didn't have all the stuff for the inn? Well that lead to a timed death!

I think it was also largely the first game to throw out warnings ahead of time for areas that might require more items (predating the catacombs warning).

KQ6 had a few puzzles were you could get stuck without the proper items much like the original KQ games. For example forgetting to get the mechanical nightingale before going into the castle on the short path! or if you forgot to talk to the mother ghost! Or forgot the skeleton key! There is at least two possible ways to get yourself stuck from even being able to enter the castle! With no way to die and just wander forever! Accidentally break the egg after burning the dress, or forgetting the Styx water!

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Regardless, my overall point remains the same.  There's trying to refine a concept and then there's changing the concept completely.  Adventure games seemed to stray too far from what their very nature was and I think that's what put the final nail in the coffin.

This largely depends on the company, many companies didn't follow the Infocom and Sierra approach to adventure games. Quite a few companies such as Lucasarts had adventure games with few ways to die, and no intentional dead ends. It's safe to say each company defined their own views of what adventure games were early on, and rarely strayed from their own formats.

On an interesting side note, I learned that KQ7's single icon interface was apparently inspired by the streamlined menu system in Westwood studio's Legend of Kyrandia series. Again I'd agree that was a change for the worse!

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And then after KQ7, it's as if they noticed the popularity of shooters, so they made Mask of Eternity and tried to act like it was still an adventure game.  Absolutely not!  Overcoming obstacles, trading with characters, and using your wits to travel and explore a new land to find a key to a magic door is an adventure game.  Jumping on tiles in a given order so that you can be given a key to open a door to kill skeletons is not an "adventure game puzzle."  They further altered what an adventure game was.  Or rather, they just made a first person shooter and called it an adventure game.

There is very little in KQ8 that can be called a first person shooter. If anyone calls it that they are showing the lack of knowledge of the game or understanding! Either that or using extreme hyperbole. Perhaps even going so far to be intentionally misleading!

The game is a hybrid game. If anything its bit more action-adventure genre (tomb raider), hack and slash genre (the combat focuses on swords not projectile weapons), and while you can use a single projectile weapon at a time, many of the enemies are immune to projectiles (so the hacking and the slashing is the weapon of choice). The combat style is point and click mouse clicking which takes from assorted RPG genres like Diablo series. It's also a bit like Quest for Glory in some ways (although alot more streamlined and simplified mechanics). On top of that it maintained the inventory puzzle interface of the previous KQ and other Sierra games, and the streamlined single cursor interface of KQ7. In many ways it has more in common with the 3-d Zelda action-adventure series, and no one claims OOT is a FPS.

Additonally while you can play in first person, the game actually controls better in 3rd person in most places. You also get some special attacks in third person you cannot access in first, certain jumping actions can only be made in the 3rd person. Also if you try to fight primarily in first person you probably will take alot more damage, as you can't really defend as well, or dodge attacks from multiple enemies. Plus the character changes appearance throughout the game, with new armor, and weapons graphics. These area only truly showed off in the 3rd person view mode. Jumping, backflips, etc is not indication of FPS genre (or any genre for that matter, except for maybe platformer, but KQ8 is not a platformer), and even KQ1 had jumping (although this has more in common with action-adventure games mentioned above)!

While I do admit that the addition of box, jumping and tile puzzles (the latter of actually are quite similar to the tile puzzle in KQ6) are a bit naff, they are aren't the sole type of puzzle in the game. The box puzzles are ripped out of Tomb Raider/Prince of Persia/Indiana Jones, even zelda style games, and even further back to early adventure games. On a side note, there is another 'adventure game' puzzle that many complain about in Adventure games, and that is the "maze' style puzzles, like Catacombs and the Labyrinth under Mordack's castle. Often cited as one of the top ten worst things in adventure game design! KQ8 had a couple of those types of areas as well...

BTW, its important to point out that block and tile-style puzzles are not traditionally puzzles one finds in First Person Shooters. FPS in general, especially the earliest ones, are not known for having puzzles, especially not those those two particular types of puzzles. With the exception of say Half-Life which took elements from Adventure game design in order to push itself outside of the mold of the standard FPS genre!

No, the box and tile puzzles are generally an aspect of adventure or action-adventure genres. Or part of their own genre if a mini-game ('boxxle'). You may not know this but block puzzles go back to Infocom adventure games, for example in Zork 3, in one of the 'mazes' in the game (yes the third dreaded adventure game puzzle design type) involved pushing walls around in certain order, to find the exit and secret items! Let's just say its maddening especially since you have to imagine what's going on! Tile-based puzzles appear in many adventure games as well (KQ6 and KQ8 are not alone), for example several of the early Indiana Jones adventures (last crusade, and Fate of Atlantis)! These are some of the most over used in adventure game puzzle design, and some of the earliest adventure puzzle types! Some of the later Zork games also had tile based puzzles/chess-style puzzles! Btw, look at Torrin's Passage for a tile jumping puzzles that are quite analogous to the KQ8 puzzles! Its in the lava world area. I'm hard pressed to think of any FPS that has tile puzzles (and box puzzles are something later FPS nicked from earlier adventure game genres).

(http://www.mobygames.com/images/i/01/47/333397.png)(http://mural.uv.es/abelgar/inventario/kquest/kq8.jpg)(http://i56.tinypic.com/24mw21z.png)

As far as puzzles the game has more than most KQ games put together, it has more of the classic item/trade puzzles than KQ1, it adds additional physic based puzzles, some environmental puzzles. In several examples even weapons become traditional inventory style puzzles for influencing the environment! Cutting down a tree, freezing water, breaking locks, etc.

Remember that puzzle in KQ5 where you had to break a lock with a hammer? Well KQ8 has the same puzzle, just with a bigger hammer!

But ya, you point towards several of the puzzles in the game (definitely not all) can arguably described as 'fetch quests'. Quite a few puzzles in previous games were the same way. You were given an item, and then told how and where to use it by some character. This seemed to be worse in later games starting with KQ7. While not so bad in the first area the Desert (which can be tricky). Once out of the desert, much of the game devolves down to characters sending you on quests to find random items they need  (fetch quests)! Or they tell you exactly what you need to get past certain obstacles, thus sending you out to find the item, so you can use it the way they explained it. Again not every puzzle, but many of them!

Although I'd say KQ3 is just as bad, as you are pretty much told which items to 'fetch' for the spells in the manual, and how/where (as in environment) those spells are literally used. So nearly every puzzle in the game is 'spelled out' in the manual completely. There are very few puzzles that manual does not cover. So all that's left is to search for everything mentioned in the manual, so the 'fetching' occurs. That actually was one reason the game received much criticism in reviews back in the day!

You know those 'find ingredients" for spells from KQ3 also appears in KQ6, in KQ7 and KQ8. These are essentially a type of fetch quest!

One of the earliest and well received adventure games, "Mixed-Up Mother Goose" and it's sequel Mixed-Up Fairy Tales are made up of nothing but 'fetch quests" of the most simple kind (the few fetch quests in KQ8 are much more complicated)! Fetch Quests are not specifically elements of FPS either (but something nicked from the Adventure game genre).

Really the only thing the game added, that can't be traced back to older adventure games was the RPG-style 'combat' and 'action'. Perhaps the physics-based and environmental-puzzles are also a new addition to the game (although there are a few random examples in other games out there).  Although even still its not the first adventure game to have RPG or action elements, check out some other weird hybrids like Beyond Zork (RPG/text adventure) QFG (rpg/adventure/arcade), Inca series (flight/space combat sim/Adventure/shooter), and several of Dynamix's offerings (Heart of China and Rise of the Dragon). Physical based puzzles though rare do show up in occasional earlier game (just 3-d engine makes it more obvious).

I'd say one of the problems with the game was it tried to be everything to everyone! It might also be said, that one of its biggest flaws were most of the puzzles were based on too many overused and cliched adventure conventions from the graveyard of puzzle design! It simply wasn't original enough (which was a problem with many of the adventure games in the death period)!

http://www.postudios.com/blog/forum/index.php?topic=10923.0

On a related note, did you not notice that at that time a very traditional adventure game, Grim Fandango, pretty much bombed in relation other games at the time (though well received by the niche adventure game community)? Even KQ8 outsold it twice as much (and was one of the best selling 'adventure' games that year). That right there, should give you indication that as far as the market was concerned, Adventure games were not particurarly successful. Most companies were more concerned with more profitable genres.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on August 01, 2011, 03:23:31 AM
Regarding KQ8: At a time when people weren't sure where adventure games would be going, they put a lot of faith in a so-far trusted series, King's Quest, with the hope of finding their previous gameplay enhanced. But Mask of Eternity was so different, so disconnected from the series, that people lost faith in KQ. Speaking of which... With all of the KQ Collections available, I have never seen MoE included in one of those.

Anyway, had MoE been a different franchise altogether, it would've been fine as a stand-alone game. Though the game, in my opinion, was just dark and soulless; not many people with distinguishable personalities, and more about personal survival than exploration and story. I prefer story over battling and grinding in games - that's why I got sick of Pokémon games, which are primarily just battling/grinding, and collecting, without much more than selfish desires of being a Master, with OCD.

Nowadays, RPGs and MMORPGs involve a lot more plot and exploration. I think RPG games kinda became the new adventure games - fetch quests and all. Now so many companies are releasing Point-and-Clicks, while others are releasing RPGs. I think we're in pretty good times right now. GameCube and PSX were awesome consoles for availing us to thick plots! PC/Mac games are starting to bring back some of the nostalgic feelings of past Sierra / LucasArts games. Heck, even King's Quest is coming back!
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 01, 2011, 04:57:38 AM
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Regarding KQ8: At a time when people weren't sure where adventure games would be going, they put a lot of faith in a so-far trusted series, King's Quest, with the hope of finding their previous gameplay enhanced. But Mask of Eternity was so different, so disconnected from the series, that people lost faith in KQ. Speaking of which... With all of the KQ Collections available, I have never seen MoE included in one of those.
You are behind the times the most recent KQ collection over on GoG.com (which is split into three parts) includes it.  Its part of the third part of the collection, King's Quest 7+8.

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/king’s_quest_7_8

One word of warning the first part of Gog's collection known as King's Quest 1+2+3 leaves out the remake of KQ1. apparently because for this collection they wanted to showcase the history of the series as it evolved, not including the side projects/reboots (like the remake). They did the same thing for their Space Quest collection. But oddly they went with the 2006 collection for their Police Quest collection (which left out the original PQ1, go figure).

Also most of the previous collections were released long before Mask of Eternity's original release (two of the collections even include upcoming and making videos for KQ8), the earliest of the collections actually came out before KQ7 even.

Mask of Eternity was only left out of one single collection, the 2006 collection. The reason KQ8 wasn't released in the 2006 collection was largely due to incompatibility issues over a wide range of machines and operating systems, the GoG version fixes that. So ya, Mask of Eternity skipped one single collection, woop de doo! It's now available to all modern machines in the latest collection!

The 2006 collection was the only collection released after Mask of Eternity, long before GoG's release. That version also doesn't include KQ1AGI, the installation for KQ6Enhanced, or the latest version of KQ7. It was a rather cheap collection. It left out versions that were difficult to emulate when it was released, and no one knows why it left out the original KQ1. On a related note the companion collections for Space Quest, Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry, also left out the originals for the first games in the series (putting the remakes only in instead), the 2006 LSL collection even left out Leisure Suit Larry 7 (apparently due to a censorship issue).

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hough the game, in my opinion, was just dark and soulless; not many people with distinguishable personalities, and more about personal survival than exploration and story. I prefer story over battling and grinding in games - that's why I got sick of Pokémon games, which are primarily just battling/grinding, and collecting, without much more than selfish desires of being a Master, with OCD.

I consider that an essential aspect of the story being told, it's intentional atmosphere. It nods back to biblical, or medieval allegory tales; pilgrim's progress, paradise lost, dante's inferno, and epic mythology such as the Epic of Gilgamesh archetypes and other Babylonian mythology, and in her own words even Tolkien. These were  legends/myths/fairytales set Roberta decided to go with in the game. But once you get out of Daventry many whimsical and cute characters start appearing, at least in my opinion. These nod back to the earlier King's Quests.

Also it could have been worse there was a time when Roberta thought about having no enemies in the game, but most of the designers decided it made the world seem even more dark and souless!  No evidence of life at all because of the cataclysm!

I personally find KQ8 reminds me most of the remake of KQ1, which was largely a dark and lonely uninhabited forest, a kingdom in decline with Graham having to survive the dark creatures that roamed the forest, with only the only occasional encounter with a friendly being. Both games are about Heroes proving their knighthood to save the kingdom. Graham may already be a knight in the game, Connor evolves into the role by the end of the game. Connor more or less fills the role of the young Sir Graham, bringing the series full circle like an ouroboros.  Only KQ4 comes closer to the more isolated feeling in it's world and has a darker mood than the remake. KQ5 and KQ6 only have a few areas that seem isolated, lonely or dark.

But it's possible a little of Roberta's Phantasmagoria spirit rubbed off on the game!

It's pretty clear that Roberta only intended for this dark atmospheric story to only occur the one time, and she made hints that her version of KQ9 would have been a more chivolrous knightly romantic tale, with a possible love triangle between Rosella, Connor and Edgar (comedy and hilarity would likely have ensued).

Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: darthkiwi on August 01, 2011, 07:10:12 AM
I agree totally with Baggins with regard to comparing KQ8 to a FPS: up until Half-Life, which came out in the same year as KQ8, FPSs had almost no story or puzzle elements to speak of. Doom's puzzles are no more complex than "find the blue key to unlock the blue door", and even GoldenEye, considered by many to be an excellent FPS, tells most of its story in between the actual gameplay, gameplay boiling down to "run around this map killing people, and complete whatever objective we've seen fit to give you". KQ8 shares more design with Ocarina of Time than with a FPS, as Baggins pointed out.

The reason I consider it a less well-made game than, say, KQ6 is not because of the design decisions, but simply the way they constructed their worlds after having made those decisions. For example, I think the Daventry world in KQ8 is actually a very well constructed environment with a lot of emotional power as a story. Connor enters the homes of his friends and talks to their statues, then takes their belongings, knowing they would have wanted him to. He fights monsters in a town he has always assumed would be a safe haven. He meets the wizard and is given a fetch quest, but this doesn't eclipse the gameplay since there is a lot to do elsewhere in Daventry: find new weapons and armour, find the rope and hook, explore the world and fill out the map, get into the castle, find the ghost of the dead knight and so on and so on. I felt that there was a lot of momentum to the story and to Connor's actions, and I felt like the RPG elements (experience points, weapons and armour) complemented the plot progression by giving the player an impression of steady improvement and success, not only by gathering more items but by becoming more skilled in battle.

Where it fell down, in my opinion, is in the worlds after Daventry, which are often labyrinthine (the Dimension of Death) and filled with monsters to fight rather than characters to interact with. In Daventry, I felt the combat was one element of many: an important element, but no more important than other adventure game elements like finding items. In the later worlds, where 90% of your interaction with the world is via combat, I think the cracks in the combat system started to show and the game became much weaker as a result, since worlds were often filled with monsters apparently because there was nothing else to fill them with.

If KQ8 had been a better game overall, I think its action-adventure formula could have rivalled other similar games, and provided a genre able to rival the FPS, or at least be financially viable. I don't think KQ8 was the decline of the series because it was a departure from the series - after all, you could say that the KQ5 interface was a departure from the interfaces of KQ1-4. Rather, I think KQ8 was a dip in the series' fortunes simply because it was a less well put together game, not because it was less loyal to the brand.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 01, 2011, 07:50:43 AM
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given a fetch quest, but this doesn't eclipse the gameplay since there is a lot to do elsew
Yes, while it is a spell ingredient fetch quest of the likes of KQ3, KQ6, and KQ7 (disenchantment spell), the game still doesn't tell you were to go exactly. It's up to the player to discover where the items are for themselves, and actually the spell descriptions are slightly obscured through riddles, so the actual needed item is not directly mentioned entirely! This adds to the games exploratory feel.
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Where it fell down, in my opinion, is in the worlds after Daventry, which are often labyrinthine (the Dimension of Death) and filled with monsters to fight rather than characters to interact with. In Daventry, I felt the combat was one element of many: an important element, but no more important than other adventure game elements like finding items. In the later worlds, where 90% of your interaction with the world is via combat, I think the cracks in the combat system started to show and the game became much weaker as a result, since worlds were often filled with monsters apparently because there was nothing else to fill them with.
While I do agree with your take on the DOD (it could apply to the Temple of the Sun, and lesser extent the Gnome Land), I slightly disagree on the Swamp and most later outside levels. Those areas tend to have more characters to interact with than the Daventry world combined, the swamp, the fire realm, and the ice world is where the game starts showing civilization and life, and much of the whimsical characters. They are also brighter, more wide open and filled with exploration.

Even the gnome realm had quite a bit of life with many friendly occupants and had civilization (unfortunately most of them say the same thing). Still the gnomes are some of my fave characters in the game! Plus there is that compelling history of past civilizations and the Ancients! Seriously it's a maze done right, as there is plenty to see and do (lots of puzzles). KQ5 maze was a bit devoid of things to interact with (empty and only dink to interact with).

As for DoD I loved many of the random wisecracks the enemies said! Some are the quote are straight out of Army of Darkness, iirc (does that make Connor Ash?)! The level has the atmosphere you'd expect from a egyptian, mesopotamian, inspired underworld! I like the few characters you discover down there, sylph, boatman, the lad, the girl you have to save, and even Azriel. The enemy guard are pretty cool too, have some of the best scripted lines in the game!

I seem to recall some of the fire dwarves in the fire realm also have some funny comments, and also some Army of Darkness nods as well. Which gave then character, and not simply mindless monsters.

The ice world? I like the Thork character, would have liked to have had more interactions with him. But overall I thought he was an interesting character! He was also one of Roberta's favorite characters in the game! Gryph was cool too, and I though the nymphs were interesting as well! I like the queen (she is one of the more developed characters in the game, appearing in two levels)! The Orcs have a few amusing random battle cries and death comments adding to their characterization!

However, the weaknesses to the level is that it probably has the fewest puzzles in the game there are only like maybe a half dozen or so mostly a combination of maybe 5-6 inventory style puzzles, a 2-3 block puzzles, a couple of rope/hook climbing puzzles, and a couple of combat-type puzzles . Though I admit it has one of my favorite puzzles in the game (and any KQ game for that matter), which happens to be one of the more complicated multipart puzzle series in the game; the 'ice shard/fire sword/'frost bow/ice lever' physical puzzle/inventory/weapon-based puzzle (the puzzle is not a fetch quest). Secondly which is a weakness depending on your position, it probably has the most enemies thrown at the player at one time (with perhaps the exception of DoD), hordes of yeti-like frost demons and orcs coming down the mountains.

The two combat-related puzzles, require use of certain potions or certain weapons to get past specific obstacle enemies. This includes use of a potion of reveal to see an invisible enemy (though you can technically ignore it, as its optional), and the need for the fire sword to kill the hydra-like 'two-headed dragon' (cauterizing its wounds, to prevent its heads from regenerating).

But its also one of the most beautiful levels in the game, and of my favorite to explore! There are alot of hidden areas with cool vistas to find.

The temple levels are unfortunately one of the least compelling levels, with little to do. No one to interact with, except a few archons. Though there are a handful of puzzles to complete.

Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on August 01, 2011, 12:11:37 PM
@Baggins: I knew someone would mention GOG's KQ sets, but, legally, GOG could combine Descent 3 and Syberia into one installation pack - which is easy enough to do - and sell them together. That doesn't make it an Official Collection. Therefore, although having bought that set myself, I omitted mentioning that set. Hence, MoE is not included in any Collection. In fact, on many lists of Sierra's games, MoE isn't called King's Quest 8, but rather Mask of Eternity as if it were a separate game.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 01, 2011, 12:14:01 PM
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I knew someone would mention GOG's KQ sets, but, legally, GOG could combine Descent 3 and Syberia into one installation pack - which is easy enough to do - and sell them together. That doesn't make it an Official Collection. Therefore, although having bought that set myself, I omitted mentioning that set. Hence, MoE is not included in any Collection.

Actually GOG set is still an official set, they had to get permission by Activision to release it. The set has a copyright and date to Activision as well. Look for set copyright at the bottom of the GOG's webpage;

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"1994-1998 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision and King’s Quest are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners."
Rumor has it that Activision suggested that particular set combination to bilk as much money from it as possible! It was apparently one of the ways Vivendi used to test the viability of commissioning a new King's Quest game through Telltale (thanks are to made to the fan games resurrecting the series as well)!

Still the set is an official authorized rerelease of the game, currently the only official authorized rerelease.

Still there is a good reason why MOE never showed up in the truely Sierra-released collections (which there are only four that were released before Sierra closed down), and that is because those collections came out before MOE came out. The last two of those collections advertise KQ8, even calling it that in the developer's preview, and directory files! One of these is the completely awesome Roberta William's Anthology (which is cool because it has a KQ8.AVI video in a KQ8 directory that shows some of the earliest versions of MOE, called the game KQ8).

The first two official Sierra KQ collections were released before KQ7 (or just after), and contain advertisements/demos for KQ7. Although there might be a nod towards a future KQ8 made in the second, just no promotional material.

The 2006 collection, technically released by Vivendi games, not the real Sierra (so technically more like the Activision collection mentioned above) left out most of the contents that were hard to emulate, or to save space (all previous KQ collections were on 2 to 4 disks). It's purely a technical issue, and space issue. This was a problem with most of those 2006 series for all the series!

They also butchered the Police Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry collections by forcing them onto one disk each, leaving out the CD versions of titles, and/or leaving out classic versions of titles. LSL collection left out the LSL6 Hires CD version, LSL1AGI, and LSL7. Believe me Al Lowe does not consider that the 'official' or 'complete' collection! Nor does he consider any of the Vivendi or Codemasters LSL games 'official' Larry games!

http://www.allowe.com/Larry/collections.htm

No one argues that the original AGI LSL1, the Talkie LSL6 or LSL7 are not 'official' Larry games despite the fact they got cut from the Vivendi collection!

For that matter no sane person would argue that KQ1 original version is not an 'official' KQ game despite the fact that it got cut from its respective Vivendi collection. Nor for that matter would people argue that the original Police Quest, or the original Space Quest are not 'official' PQ or SQ games despite the fact that they cut from from there respective Vivendi collections.
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In fact, on many lists of Sierra's games, MoE isn't called King's Quest 8, but rather Mask of Eternity as if it were a separate game.
First off, most game lists should be calling it King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, as that is the the game's official title, just like how Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness, should be called that in the game lists (it has nothing to do 'being a separate game', it has to do with what the game's physical title is).

While it may be true of fan sites and gaming sites with no affiliation with Sierra  calling it just "Mask of Eternity",  this is an appeal to authority on your part will not work as they are not official authorities on the series.

From the words of Roberta Williams' herself;

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By the way, I feel to the need to stress that this game is “King’s Quest” first and foremost. “Mask of Eternity” is the subtitle. Basically, it’s “King’s Quest 8.” I noticed that you keep referring to the game as “Mask of Eternity” - but not really referencing “King’s Quest.” I need to make sure that people who read this understand that this is DEFINITELY a “King’s Quest” game.
 
-Roberta Williams, 1998



As I have discovered after much research that most Sierra related magazines, designer sites, etc, that Sierra often called it King's Quest 8. There was even a gold seal on some of the boxes of the first release that called it King's Quest 8, and Sierra's official German release even called it King's Quest 8 (largely because there was a large audience for Adventure games there apparently, and most had played previous KQs). Several magazine advertisements published for Sierra also list it as King's Quest VIII.

If you go to Ken William's own website, SierraGamers, not Activision affiliated, so not an 'official' Sierra site (though he was a former Sierra CEO), he also calls the game King's Quest 8. So the numbering and authority is on Sierra's and the William's side, not the fans.

http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/m/637445

Also Roberta called her own hypothetical ninth game in the series KQ9 (i.e. a KQ8 had to have come before!), and Vivendi was also developing a 'KQ9' of its own, but it was cancelled. She was calling the previous game King's Quest VII as late as one of her last public interviews in 2006 (long after the release of the game).

The only reason Roberta chose to leave off KQ8 off the main box title was as I recall in her own words, so that it would draw in a larger audience. She didnt' want to scare any newcomers to the series, who might think that lack of knowledge of previous games, might get in the way of enjoying the game (had the number been given). It's the same arguement given for when producers choose to leave off numerals on movie sequels! There was no secret conspiracy on the Williams' part, it was purely a marketing decision.

It's the same reason that Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness wasn't numbered in the game, or the reason why Police Quest: Open Season wasn't numbered in the title screen, or the reason why The Beast Within isn't numbered, The Lost Secret of the Rainforest isn't numbered, or even The Dagger of Amon Ra. Mind you there are quite a few other examples from Sierra where new games created as part of a series left off the numerals (some even in other 'quest' series)! You'd never argue those weren't part of the series! There is much fallacy in your arguement, and poor logic (that can easily be remedied through proper research of first hand material).

(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d0/Quest_for_Glory_IV_-_Shadows_of_Darkness_Coverart.png)(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/25/Police_Quest_4_cover.jpg)(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/32/Gabriel_Knight_The_Beast_Within.jpg)
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/The_Dagger_of_Amon_Ra_Coverart.png)
(http://www.sierragamers.com/uploads/24082/The_Games/Ecoquest_2_A.jpg)
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c4/Mixed_up_fairy_tales_box.jpg)
No, you would not argue that these games are somehow part of a separate series!

That being said, there actually was apparently a point extremely early on in the game's development (at some point during the first, or early second phase), in which Roberta Williams was starting to lose control, too many people involved, two many teams. There was her main team in California, I think, another team at Dynamix in Eugene, Oregon (making the game engine very slowly), and the suits in Bellevue, Washington were complaining about budgets and development time. Roberta was so upset during this period she apparently wanted to pull her name from the game, and she even pretty much took "King's Quest" out of the title, calling it; "Mask of Eternity: From from the world of King's Quest" in promotional material. But in later stages of development she reasserted her control until the final release. During the early period, they were still calling it KQ8 though (just not on the title) in interviews and what not.

(http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100710231325/kingsquest/images/4/42/Earlymaskconceptart.jpg)

This was during the phase of the game's during the 1996 development when Connor was named ''Connor mac Lyrr", he was a fisherman, living near the sea. Quite a few story details were quite different than in the finalized released game. Even the Mask had a different appearance back then. They even had more ideas for extra bosses and combat that got cut in the final game. Even an idea to turn the game into an MMO. Even some arcady action-adventure stuff with swimming and water currents, that turned out to be technologically impossible in the engine they were working with (and Dynamix failed to complete the advanced version of the system for them in time, before they had to start putting it all together).

The more I learn, the more I wonder if the earliest ideas for the game made further detours from adventure games than even the final release! Maybe so much so, that Roberta didn't even want to put King's Quest or her name in the title. She wanted to distance herself from it.

The combat, and action shouldn't have have come at a surprise, as they were advertising that aspect in spring 1996 (when they were showing off pictures of the 'Connor mac Lyrr' version of the game), in all the gaming and computer magazines at the time. They went out of there way to point out that it would be a very different KQ game experience. Perhaps there was alot of denial in fanbase at the time?

Roberta Williams gave plenty of warning, well ahead of time. Even Ken Williams knew about it then, was giving it his blessing, talking about it (and the need to change the market), and he was still CEO in many of those discussions. Despite any changes in opinion he may have now in 20/20 hindsight, I still think at least part of the fault lies at his feet. He was one of those 'suits' he now tries to distance himself from.

Quote
My wife, Roberta, is working on the newest King's Quest game, Mask of Eternity. It's an enormous project and has the largest team we've ever assembled. Roberta's feeling is that adventure games are starting to "all look the same." She wants to try to completely redefine the genre. For about six months all she did was study games. She studied in detail every successful game on the market, even non-adventure games like Duke Nuke'm, Warcraft II, and Super Mario for the Ultra 64. She is well into Mask now and expects it to complete in time for Christmas '97. It is impossible to describe because there really aren't any games like it. When I asked Roberta how to describe it, she said, "Imagine a King's Quest game which takes place in a true 3-D world, with true 3-D lifelike characters. I borrowed Dynamix's flight simulator technology and pushed it in a new direction. The result is still King's Quest but it's much more immersive, and the 3-D makes the game more interactive. It also changed how I design. The 3-D allowed me create challenges for the player which never could have been done in a 2-D environment, including many that use physics."
 
-Ken Williams, CEO of Sierra-Online, InterAction, Fall 1996, pg 10


I mean seriously if Ken Williams was comparing the game to Super Mario 64, and saying Roberta was taking  inspiration from Warcraft II & Duke Nukem ( I think he even says Ultima in one discussion), people should have known long beforehand it was going to be something new and different!

This puts much of the fault of what happened with the game at Roberta's feet! I mean she admits early on to taking inspiration from Doom (back in 1995) when she first gave initial concept for the game's story, later she does mention Quake and Diablo, and the then 'upcoming' Zelda for the Ultra 64! She chose to look at those games for inspiration on her own, and Ken was praising her for it!

That's not to say she took 'much' inspiration from it, because the game is not an FPS, it is not anything like Duke Nukem, Doom, or Quake. It's not really anything like Diablo either (its much less gory and much slower paced, you don't have hundreds of enemies tossed at you at one time), just the potion interface, the single cursor clicking style of fighting, and the changing armor graphics seem to be derived from that game. It also really has nothing in common with Warcraft II, other than it has orcs! It's not really anything like Super Mario 64, other than well Connor can jump (well so could Graham back in the day)!

But ya if those were the assorted games Roberta chose to look at for inspiration, you just know things are going to be different! She gave plenty of warning.

There might even be a few more comments about adding action elements as early as late 1995 in some interviews.

Also there is some indication from Interaction Magazine, that even Chris Williams (Roberta's son) might have influenced the game through the games he liked to play at the time. He apparently had a prototype of the Ultra 64 and was playing it before was named a Nintendo 64 and released to American market. He mentions his mother enjoyed watching him play the games on the system, and he and she discussed how they might incorporate some of those ideas into KQ8!
Quote
For those old enough to remember, when did the adventure genre begin to markedly decline in popularity--decline enough for people to ponder whether or not the genre was "dying"?

I'm reminded of an old advertisment for KQ8;

(http://www.sierragamers.com/uploads/24082/ads/kings_quest_8_another_dimension.jpg)

Quote
LucasArts just used those ideas and abilities and mixed them with a new style, e.g. "Look At," "Pick Up," etc, instead of Sierra's icons. But Sierra was first to implement a GUI for text parser adventures. So... when the Master dies, as do the followers. LucasArts got away with a couple games after Sierra died, but everything changed during that time period.

Wrong. Maniac Mansion and SCUMM, and its robust Verb point and click system came out before any of Sierra's icons.  In 1987 to be exact.

Infact the new interface was praised int he industry for simplifying things over the traditional parsers used by most graphic adventure games at the time!

The 1989 version of KQ1 for the Sega Master System by Sierra/Milton Bradley more or less used a verb/noun point and click system much like the one in Maniac Mansion.

Sierra didn't unveil its icon system until late 1990, in King's Quest V.

Now do you want to revise who copied who? I personally think both versions are different enough that neither copied each other.

For the record the Sierra's icon interface actually combines multiple parser or verb commands from earlier games into single commands. So a single icon for push, pull, turn on, turn off, open, close etc. A single icon for look at, read, etc. A single icon for movement, so on and so forth. So to some it was considered too simplified, it is definitely more simple than the Maniac Mansion's robust verb system which had many assorted actions.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: MusicallyInspired on August 02, 2011, 10:27:51 AM
You forget Sam & Max's interface. LA may have revolutionized P&C adventure gaming first, but S&M Hit The Road was pretty much a Sierra interface through and through in just about every way.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 11:16:57 AM
I was only correcting him on the history of particular interface he was mentioning first. What went later on are separate issues.

One other bit I can think of how, Lucasarts influenced the industry during its history, was in the music department with its interactive music. In later SCUMM games, the Music changed as you made decisions, or moved to new areas. It just didn't just end abruptly, but faded in and out. So it was like having an interactive orchestra.

Sierra's music almost always ended when you left the screen, or after playing for a short while! There was no fading or anything.

Also another aspect they impacted the market was, there no-death approach. Love it or hate it. Many reviewers considered it a revolutionary approach to the genre. But Hardcore sierra or old skool adventure fans tended to hate it.

Lucasarts also had the advanced conversation systems were also considered revolutionary as well at one time. As in some cases they opened up alternate game solutions, such as in the Indiana Jones adventures.

Cartoon-style animation showed up in early Lucasarts first (but only vga and limited use). But KQ7 revolutionized it with hires graphics (and several professional animation studios). Lucasarts refined it in Monkey Island 3.

For what its worth even Grim Fandango garned a few awareds for being innovative when it was released, blending 3-d with traditional 2-d prerendered backgrounds.

Now, if I switch to another company, Westwood Studios they created a more simplified interface for Legend of Kyrandia. According to Lorelei Shannon or Roberta Williams it was said to have influenced the overly simplified single cursor/hotspots found in KQ7!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABbtNide_jY&feature=related

Kyrandia's system came out in 1992. As I understand it, the developers even pitched the game to Ken Williams back in 1989-1990, wanting them to publish the game for them. Ken showed them a demo version of KQV at the time, suprising them. Sierra wanted to buy Westwood, the company went to Virgin instead. Sierra offered them more money, but Virgin offered them complete creative freedom, that Sierra wouldn't have allowed to have.

KQ7's parsor is even more simple, and some argue it was 'revolutionary' for its time.

Nah if you really get into the nitty-gritty, you find that many companies were influencing each other, influencing the changes in others, and developers will even admit to it!

(Posted on: August 02, 2011, 12:30:04 PM)


Here is a bit of trivia, did you know that Roberta had thought about dropping the numerals from KQ7 as well?

It was originally going to be called, King's Quest: The Prince-less Bride (though they thought of other subtitles like "What's Lava Gotta Do With It?" or "Rosella Vs. the Volcano");

Here is the concept box art for the game;

(http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/kingsquest/images/8/88/ConcepttitleposterKQ7.png)
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on August 02, 2011, 01:29:20 PM
Roberta talking about ideas for a new adventure game interface, December 1992:
(http://img594.imageshack.us/img594/9103/robertadesign3.jpg)
(http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/8641/robertadesign6.jpg)
(http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/8076/robertadesign10.jpg)
(http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/3351/robertadesign7.jpg)
(http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/4013/robertadesign8.jpg)
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 01:32:15 PM
Cool documents! That has all the inspiration from Kyrandia comments!

Although to be fair, Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1987) has a streamlined interface, almost no visible interface really. You just walk over an item, and walk into an NPC to talk to them. You can only hold one item at a time.

Black Cauldron also had a simplified interface as well doesn't it?
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on August 02, 2011, 01:53:23 PM
Cool documents! That has all the inspiration from Kyrandia comments!

Although to be fair, the single cursor interface appears as early as the original Mixed-Up Mother Goose (1987) does it not? But that game also only has a single item inventory. You have to drop whatever you rae carrying to pick up another.

Black Cauldron also had a simplified single cursor interface doesn't it?

It does seem that there was and is a trend of increasingly "dumbing down" Adventure Games for the more common "computer illiterate" player. A lot of people hate this--Look at the hate the TT KQ is getting because of fears that it'll be "dumbed down" like TT's other games. But TT's direction has precedence.

I mean, I recall hearing that back in 1990, people felt the icon interface of KQV took a LOT away from the interactivity with the world and essentially had dumb downed the adventure greatly--And as we all know, most developers followed the new Point&Click model in the '90s after the massive success of KQV.

And from there we went to KQ7 and KQ8, both single cursor games. And that single cursor interface stuck around for almost all of Sierra's last adventure games from the mid to late 90s--this was the route they were going down. Phantasmagoria and the like--The interactive movies--are kind of the prototype for what TT is doing now, IMO.

It can be argued that Sierra themselves started off the whole "dumbing down" of adventure games by introducing graphics, if we really want to be picky. Before Sierra, most adventure games were text only, and as such, it allowed for more imagination, more immersion in the environment because you had to picture everything, you had to build the story in your mind. With graphics, you had half the world GIVEN to you--Taking away the  "imagination" part. And then once the icon interface came around, the whole "Interact with everything and anything on the screen by typing" went away and the world became a lot less interactive.

In retrospect, there should've been a way to both maintain the level of interactivity which Parser based adventure games had, while making the games more accessible to a more modern, less sophisticated audience.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 02:01:19 PM
Adventure games are making a circle back to the Choose Your Own Adventures style of books! The precursors to text adventure games!

I read an arguement once, someone said if critics considered KQ6 the "height" of KQ and adventure games. Then what was left? Once something reaches a height, it must come down. Its basic law of physics!

No one gave Roberta a chance to take her heights higher, as they all had preconceived standards, and wanted to leave everything in the past. Everyone set themselves up to be disappointed!

Just think if people had gone with the flow, accepted her changes, and Roberta had been given the chance to make KQ9?

How would her next games have been, when the technology finally caught up or exceeded her ambitious ideas!

How would her game have influenced Assassin's Creed, or how would Assassin's Creed influenced her game?
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on August 02, 2011, 02:53:45 PM
Adventure games are making a circle back to the Choose Your Own Adventures style of books! The precursors to text adventure games!

I read an arguement once, someone said if critics considered KQ6 the "height" of KQ and adventure games. Then what was left? Once something reaches a height, it must come down. Its basic law of physics!

No one gave Roberta a chance to take her heights higher, as they all had preconceived standards, and wanted to leave everything in the past. Everyone set themselves up to be disappointed!

Just think if people had gone with the flow, accepted her changes, and Roberta had been given the chance to make KQ9?

How would her next games have been, when the technology finally caught up or exceeded her ambitious ideas!

How would her game have influenced Assassin's Creed, or how would Assassin's Creed influenced her game?

I think the problem is exactly as you said. People felt KQ6 was a "height" and as such wanted KQ6 Part II, Part III, etc. And anything else different wasn't going to suffice and still doesn't for many people. Look at KQ7 and KQ8. Opposite ends of the spectrum and still bashed. The "wiggle room" for KQ is very small--unfairly small, really. It limits the series' potential.

Adventure game fans are very stubborn, very hard to please, very close minded, and a lot of them are still stuck in the "The 1992 Adventure Game Model is the Best." When you're dealing with people who feel a near 20 year old model is still the best, there's little room for innovation, and innovation is always what kept the adventure genre at the forefront of the industry. Even when Doom and the like were coming out in 1993 and 1994, Adventure Games were still the games with the best graphics, the best music, the best storylines, etc. The most well developed games.

The problem too, with KQ specifically, is that many are stuck on the KQ6 model, even though each game in the series is very different from the other.

I think if people had accepted the changes, KQ would still be a leading series, alongside Final Fantasy, Asssasin's Creed and the like. I think Roberta, given her nature, would still have wanted to innovate even further and indeed might've inspired games like Assassin's Creed. But close mindedness and an unwillingness to try anything other than "Royal Family, Point and Click, No Violence" killed that.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 03:28:15 PM
Isn't a bit telling and ironic, that POS, chose to essentially make KQ6 Part II?

It's a bit sad that the fans essentially destroyed Roberta's imagination, and it could be argued largely at fault for driving her out of the industry!
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Damar on August 02, 2011, 07:47:42 PM
Ok, so first person shooter isn't the perfect language to refer to Mask of Eternity which is my fault for not being up on the lingo.  Regardless of what you call it, though, my point is that it departed from what an adventure game was.  The core of the game was hacking at monsters.  That was where the entertainment lay.  It had some nice atmosphere, some cool music, and some interesting worlds, but they were stuffed with monsters you had to slay.  The actual adventure game puzzles were missing.  In its place were simplistic cause and effect relationships.  Is the door locked?  Break it.  Yes, there was the same puzzle in KQ5.  The difference to me is that in that game you were in a locked room and had a full inventory of items.  The hammer made the most sense to use and you obtained the hammer by exploring the land, braving a forbidden forest, besting a witch with an item from the desert that you only got by infiltrating bandits, then breaking out of the forest by befriending elves, then performing an act of kindness by giving shoes to the shoemaker and getting his cobbler hammer.  It's an intricate adventure of puzzles and exploring.  In MOE, you come across a locked door and smash it open with the war hammer you've been using to crush rock monsters and split the skulls of enemies.  There's no intelligence required.  You didn't go through anything to obtain your weapons.  You just loot them from the dead or buy them with money you looted from the dead.  MOE may be entertaining, I actually do enjoy the game, but I would not call it an adventure game.  In fact, I would go so far to say, to quote something I read somewhere, calling MOE an adventure game would be "using extreme hyperbole. Perhaps even going so far to be intentionally misleading!"

Personally, when there's talk about how the fans lack of acceptance of the new destroyed the adventure games, I just have to disagree.  Even if the changes had worked out, they changed what adventure games were at their core.  That killed adventure gaming.  You can love what came out of it, but it wasn't adventure games.  To use an example, I'm a huge Star Trek fan.  To me, Star Trek is dead.  Yes, there was a new movie.  And yes, the movie was entertaining, even good.  But it wasn't Star Trek.  It was a summer blockbuster action movie that took place with a Star Trek setting.  The Star Trek I knew was cerebral and could take its time with a story.  It wasn't all about explosions and lens flares and rebooting the timeline (ok, the occasional temporal reset, I'm looking at you Voyager!)  People can say that the new movie brings in new fans and makes the series accessible to them.  They might be right.  If a Trek movie about communication and some of the higher ideals from the episodes was made, it would bomb.  But even though you can say that Star Trek is evolving, what it was is still dead.  It's essence has been tossed away in the evolutionary cycle.

So that's what I mean when I talk about the changes killing the adventure genre.  Whether you believe the changes made were good, bad, or would have been good if the technology existed and without corporate meddling, ultimately is a separate argument.  Those changes altered the goals and fiber of the adventure game and changed it into an amalgam of other, more profitable, genres.  Call it evolution, call it selling out, call it visionary, call it necessary, but it altered adventure games in such a way that they ceased to exist.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 07:55:00 PM
Read this article from spring 1997, from Chris Williams. He gives his dad's opinions of the time, and Roberta's thoughts. You can find stuff like this in interaction going back earlier into 1996.

You might be wrong about it being a first person shooter. But the point was Roberta wanted this game to be different, and she took on inspiration from everything including FPS, RTS games, Action-Adventures like Tomb Raider, etc.

Sierra's adventure game genre was a failure to them, they were hoping to save it. Ken Williams was pretty much wanting to scrap it altogether. It was losing money! Their main job was to make things that the public wanted to make money! They weren't making things for small 'niches'.

Remember Grim Fandango was pretty much strict classic adventure game, and it completely bombed!

So ya, the problem was the audience. The audience was moving away from Sierra to Nintendo and Sega, and those sorts of games.
Quote
Inquisition 2000 was an editorial section in the Spring 1997 issue of Interaction Magazine.
 
Edit Getting advance info on King's Quest is usually "Mission Impossible" so we hired Chris Williams to pull an inside job.
 
"The traditional adventure game is dead." At least, that's what my dad[1] says. He thinks it's time to change adventure games at least as much as the gamers themselves have changed over the last few years. It's time to make them "less pretentious. More open-ended, faster paced, and just more fun to play than they have been." After all, he's reasoned, "what's the use of creating these super-serious, overly literary, and downright studious games when the major audience that will play them played a Nintendo or a Sega last year? These folks are used to playing games where the correct answer to any problem might be jumping over something, hitting it with a hammer, or maybe even shooting it with a big bazooka. Why hassle through all the literary pretense when most of today's gamers just want to blow something up."
 
Well, he's got a point. When you take a look at the bestseller lists, it's hard to miss names like Quake, Diablo, Duke Nukem, and CyberGladiators. These action-oriented games have replaced more sophisticated games on the shelf and it doesn't look like that pattern is going to change any time soon (Even RAMA isn't selling as well as these arcade games--and you gotta find that hard to believe if you know how good that adventure is.) It's easy to tell that adventure games are going to have evolve, or they'll die completely. There's only so much room on the shelves at the software store, and it goes to the games that sell the tonnage.
 
My mom[2] is aware of all this, of course, though she still prefers to think that adventure gamers appreciate the more intelligent puzzles, the more literary storytelling, and the more "mature" challenges of the adventure genre. But you don't have to hit her with a board to get her attention. She's a smart lady, and she wants to see adventure games survive into the next century, even if it does mean she needs to build them a little differently.
 
So for the last half year or so, Mom's been playing games like crazy. She was one of the first people I know who ever played Mario 64, and she also Duke, Tomb Raider, and all the other 3D action games (Isn't life tough? Guess who gets to grab all those games when she's done with them?) Anyway, after mega-hours of playing and playing, she finally sat down with a "team" of developers a few months ago and started work on what will probably be the most radical King's Quest adventure game since the series began. She calls it The Mask of Eternity.
 
I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed with Mom's design. The early gameplay stuff I've tooled around with is very "Mario 64"ish with shades of Tomb Raider, Quake, and even a little Diablo thrown in. Mom says that the sim people at Dynamix are actually building the "engine" that makes the game run, so there may be some Red Baron and EarthSiege in there, too. Mom's spending a solid bundle of bucks on this one and she's got a ton people working on it, so wouldn't surprise me. It still has all the plot and literary depth of her old adventure games, and she even has a whole new cast of characters and even a new hero who will take on the dangers of Daventry. The backstory concerns a group of priestly beings who guard a powerful object in a faraway land, and how one day, one of them gets greedy and decides to steal the object. It blows up in his face. The pieces of the object go everywhere, and the blast from the explosion turns every living creature in Daventry into stone. Well, not everyone--it wouldn't be an interesting game if everyone were stone-prone, would it?

The star of Mask, a peasant named Connor, is one of the few who survives the blast because a piece of the object basically lands on him and shields him from the evil magic. From there, it gets crazy, all kind of nasty monsters. Mom hates when I give away the plots to her games, but I can tell you it gets a lot more complex than "go waste an alien."
 
It's a little early to tell yet, and a lot of what I've seen on The Mask Of Eternity comes from the files I find on mom's hard drive and the stacks of written notes she leaves all over the kitchen table, but this one looks pretty cool and it's actually a Mom game I really look forward to playing. (The last game of hers I played was Phantas--but I only played it because she absolutely forbade it.) It's really coming along very well now that everyone agrees on what the game will look like, so Mom expects to have this one one in stores around September (When she shuts her office door, all the programmers laugh and tell me that it will be November earliest, so we'll see.)
 
I know I'm her son and all, but I still think it's gonna be good. You should watch for it
 

Believe me Ken Williams is trying to white wash the issue in modern times. But if you go back to his comments from the time, you see he was one of the Suits. He wanted his business to compete with the rest of the companies out there!

Adventure games just didn't compete with other genres out there!

The whole claim that the upper echelons medaled with the game, and turned it into something else is a bit of a myth.

Because from the moment Roberta announced the KQ8, she was comparing it to "Doom", and talking about adding things from 3D and action games to compete with the modern gaming world, in an attempt to "evolve" the adventure genre and save it! The game Roberta would have released would have just added more boss battles, and more action elements, and stuff out of Tomb Raider, Mario 64, etc!

She was never working on anything that resembled KQ6 in any way shape or form!

Quote
alling MOE an adventure game would be "using extreme hyperbole. Perhaps even going so far to be intentionally misleading!"

No, I call it an Action-Adventure game, which is a genre that arose out of the Adventure game genre. I would also call it a hybrid adventure. There have been many games like MOE long before it. Infact one of the earliest was a classic known as Beyond Zork, which was an RPG-ADventure game hybrid. Sierra always had its Quest for Glory series! Which have the same amount of killing! Yet those are considered Adventure/RPGS!

Quest for Glory didn't kill Adventure games! Neither did Beyond Zork!

Metroid Prime is an First Person Adventure! People who don't have a clue call it a FPS! But shooting is not the focus of the game!

There is so much actual fluidity to what the Adventure game genre was, that no company ever agreed to what it was, or could be.

My guess you never played the relatively successful Inca series! Which blended Adventure Game, Space Combat, and Shooter elements! All mixed up together at various points in the game!

None of these games fit one mold. I there are very few games like them! There has been nothing like KQ8 since.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Damar on August 02, 2011, 08:08:58 PM
That brings back memories.  I remember reading that article when it came out.  My family actually picked up that magazine because it had that information in it and I was hoping to learn about the new King's Quest.

I guess that's the danger of growth.  Eventually all things change or fall in and out of fashion.  People may identify KQ6 as the peak of adventure gaming but that's only because adventure gaming has fallen.  When you're still waiting at the peak, you expect things to change or continue.  If the country falls apart tomorrow we'll look back at the economy collapse as the beginning of the end for the United States.  If the economy picks up then the past years will just be a historical footnote to be looked on with academic curiosity by the future public at large.  It's all hindsight.

It's easy to say now that adventure gaming never should have compromised because the genre is dead for the most part, outside of a small niche of fans that sustains it.  The niche exists now, so it's easy to say that it should have always existed.  But it was a business and they had to try to make it profitable and changing it was the only way to try to bring it back.  It didn't work and now we can point fingers at why it didn't work.  Still, it might have been business, but I can dream that maybe, just maybe the change wouldn't have been necessary and it could have existed in its own little niche.  I enjoy my denial, I guess.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 08:12:49 PM
The beginning of the end of the United States? Or a chance to arise as something better ala a phoenix?

Sorry... But just noticing that Adventure Game fans are alot like conservatives! Live in the past, and think that it is the only successful method! I don't think everything will turn to holocaust, even if the US goes bankrupt! It may just be paranoia. Always keep a kernal of hope!

Grim Fandango didn't compromise, and it still failed! The industry isn't going to continue make things to bankrupt itself! The definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over, expecting a different outcome!

I think Ken also said that KQ7 was not as successful as they wanted it to be, that's another reason for the direction change!

I wonder what people would be saying now if Sierra had just decided to scrap things, and end it at KQ7? If twenty years went by with no KQ and KQ7 was the last game in the series?

Remember that at the time KQ7 was one of the most low-rated games, ridiculed by many gaming magazines, etc. I think it had about 40% rating aggragate if you take all the magazines together! It still outsold KQ6, but it wasn't favored by the critics. Roberta said in an interview at the time she didn't really care what critics thought, she just made games she thought she would be interested in playing, and what she thought her audience would want to play (she pointed out that many previous games have had their critics as well)!

For comparison, KQ8 received a 70% aggragate score (many critics loved it giving their top marks, although there were a few bad ratings as well), and was the bestselling KQ of all time. It was generally successful for a KQ game. That might have had something to do with the attempt to ressurect it in 2002, the cancelled KQ9 (which would have also likely been an action adventure, more Zelda like in scope).
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Damar on August 02, 2011, 08:41:24 PM
Sorry... But just noticing that Adventure Game fans are alot like conservatives! Live in the past, and think that it is the only successful method! I don't think everything will turn to holocaust, even if the US goes bankrupt! It may just be paranoia. Always keep a kernal of hope!

I absolutely agree.  As for what would have happened if KQ7 was the last, I'd imagine we'd be having the same discussion as right now, but subtract the topics of slashing enemies and absence of real puzzles and replace them with a dumbed down interface and trying to cater to children.

I guess it's easy to demand that the developers should have stood their ground when we we have the hindsight to know that death was inevitable even when they tried to evolve.  So we would see it as having died with dignity.  But it's just natural (not to mention good business) that they did fight to adapt, even though it did them no good.  Still, I think there's something to be said about not compromising completely, even in the name of survival.
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 02, 2011, 08:47:40 PM
Out if trivia apparently the least successful KQ game was the KQ1 remake. It apparently bombed, people hated it and compared it to colorizing classic films! It's failure stopped then from going ahead with a KQ2 remake!

Fans are fickle things!

Quote
discussion as right now, but subtract the topics of slashing enemies and absence of real puzzles and replace them with a dumbed down interface and trying to cater to children

I argue that the game lacks real puzzles once you get out of the desert (or rather they become fewer and farther between)... When it turns into a series of fetch quests by various characters :p... Although 'fetch quests' are a classic adventure game trait... "Bring me emerald water, a dragon scale, and a silver spoon", "my husband falls asleep with just a touch of sulfer, don't you know?", "I gave my spine away, if only I had one", "You shallp be imprisonedp here forever, unlessp you put the moonp back in the sky, slobber", etc, etc, etc.

I can name a number of item puzzles in KQ8 (assuming that's what you are defining as 'real'), many that are my most favorite puzzles in the entire series!

But what we define as 'puzzles" or "real puzzles" is completely subjective.

Like I mentioned before, those jumping puzzles and box puzzles in KQ8 are rare for King's Quest adventure games (though KQ6 had a variation on a tile puzzle). But they are quite common if you have followed the history of Adventure games, and played games from other companies. The jumping puzzles for example in torin's passage is very similar! But I think KQ8 went a little overboard by putting something like 4 of them in the game! Box puzzles are traced back to Zork and other text adventures! So they very much have a history in adventure game puzzle design!

Roberta has said in Hindsight;
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When discussing the transition from 2D to 3D for King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity, I can only say that we were on to the right idea of switching to 3D. However, the implementation was not exactly correct. In 20/20 hindsight, I would have omitted the RPG (role-playing) aspects and would have stuck with more traditional adventure game elements. I would have thought more in terms of physical puzzles that could be done better in 3D than in 2D, but, still, I wouldn't have changed the game so dramatically just because I was switching from 2D to 3D. But, what do they say about 20/20 hindsight?
-Roberta Williams, 2006

This would seem to possibly suggest, if say if she had thought about leaving out the RPG aspects back then, she might have actually put more of the box puzzles, physics puzzles, and probably the jumping puzzles into the game :p Stuff that utilizes the 3D effectively. But you don't think the current 'physics puzzles'  in the game are 'real puzzles". So it probably wouldn't have changed your opinion much!

It would actually probably turn it more into Broken Sword 3... Or Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine!
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: DawsonJ on August 03, 2011, 01:12:00 AM
While Roberta was heavily involved in the creation of MoE, Mark Seibert described MoE this way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOPd_wVpuqI

(Specifically at time 1:24)
Title: Re: When did the Adventure Genre begin to decline?
Post by: Baggins on August 03, 2011, 09:03:40 AM
Keep in mind that he said that back in 1996, when that video was filmed! Back when they were calling the game; "Mask of Eternity: From the world of King's Quest".

So these different views going around between Roberta, and others go back to the beginning of the development!

If you want to know more check out the KQ8 development page on the omnipedia.

Here is another quote from Ken, discussing Roberta's inspiration back in 1996;
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My wife, Roberta, is working on the newest King's Quest game, Mask of Eternity. It's an enormous project and has the largest team we've ever assembled. Roberta's feeling is that adventure games are starting to "all look the same." She wants to try to completely redefine the genre. For about six months all she did was study games. She studied in detail every successful game on the market, even non-adventure games like Duke Nuke'm, Warcraft II, and Super Mario for the Ultra 64. She is well into Mask now and expects it to complete in time for Christmas '97. It is impossible to describe because there really aren't any games like it. When I asked Roberta how to describe it, she said, "Imagine a King's Quest game which takes place in a true 3-D world, with true 3-D lifelike characters. I borrowed Dynamix's flight simulator technology and pushed it in a new direction. The result is still King's Quest but it's much more immersive, and the 3-D makes the game more interactive. It also changed how I design. The 3-D allowed me create challenges for the player which never could have been done in a 2-D environment, including many that use physics."
 
-Ken Williams, CEO of Sierra-Online, InterAction, Fall 1996, pg 10

Duke Nukem, Warcraft I, Mario 64!

Here is a comment by Roberta in 1998, about her decision to switch to 3-d;

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I decided King's Quest was going to go 3-d while I was working on Phantasmagoria. That was in, around 1994, maybe 95, somewhere around there. It was about the time Doom came out, and it just made a splash. Everybody was playing Doom. Other 3-d games were beginning to come out around that time too. It just became clear that computer games were going to be going 3-d. I pretty much made up my mind during the development of Phantasmagoria. I knew I was going to be doing the next King's Quest. I knew, being the eighth in the series, that's tough, gives the desire...You know its going to be the eighth of the series, its gotta be bigger and better than ever, and you gotta keep this thing going, and its gotta be great, and its gotta be all these things. It's really tough to do that. In all honesty its much better to work on a brand new game, that nobody has ever seen before, that nobody knows about. Because you can do anything, the sky's the limit. But to try to do something that's eighth in the series, is really not easy, and so to me to go 3-d was, we had to do that. ...and also I, Mark and I entertained the idea of making it multiplayer also, but that was nixed. It was like, well were doning 3-d, and that's enough, you know, for now. Maybe Multiplayer later.
-Roberta Williams, Talkspot part 2.

Doom!

Roberta talks about the idea for seven bosses in KQ8 back in 1996;
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"In dealing with the challenges of finding the seven pieces of The Mask of Eternity, the title gives you more ethical choices than ever before. A prime example is the potential to destroy some of the evil, magical beasts that get in your way - a mode of behavior that was not included in previous games. "If this was the real world, you might actually have to fight and kill an enemy, says Williams. "In the Mask of Eternity there are seven instances where you must mortally defeat a monster before you can proceed."
 
-Interaction magazine, Fall 1996.

Here is an image from the second promo video released in the KQ Collection Series;
(http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110803074436/kingsquest/images/0/09/Maskofeternitypromo2.png)
Notice that like the first promo image from the Roberta Williams Anthology, they call the game simply "Mask of Eternity'. Not even a mention of KQ this time, not even Roberta's name. This video is interesting in that it shows the first playable scenes from the game. A build somewhere closer to the final game, but still quite a few physical differences. Connor is a little less buff, and got a more how to describe it griseled face.

Also from this time the promo box printed in the Fall 1997 issue (it also appears on the back of the KQ Collection box from July 1997);

(http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110803005709/kingsquest/images/8/8c/Protoboxart2KQ8.png)

Notice, this the first time they added King's Quest above the title, in the classic KQ5/KQ6/KQ7 font, the one that Taletale is currently using. Still no sign of Roberta William's name on the box.

So we seem to have a progression of the tentative title just being Mask of Eternity, but it later gained the attached "King's Quest" title later on, but still no sign of Roberta's name.

Next promo box shot appears in InterAction magazine in Fall 1998 issue;

(http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/kingsquest/images/a/a1/KQ8promobox3.png)

Notice, it finally starting to look like the release box. It has King's Quest: Mask of Eternity title. But interestingly enough lacks the "Roberta Williams" part of the title! So so far all promo boxes from 2006-2008 lack Robert's name.

Keep in mind though that even KQ7's history of prototype box covers and logos also lacks Roberta Williams in the title, until the final release!

The final box cover shows up in in Holiday season 1998 or so (although it might have appeared in places earlier), with the finalized Roberta Williams' King's Quest: Mask of Eternity title;

(http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100821201703/kingsquest/images/f/f3/MOEBoxart.jpg)

For a history of the combat portion of the game, this is what we know;

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When we started working on the project, we first started by designing Daventry, and ended up with this huge map, and Connor wandering around this big area, with pretty much nothing to do in between the puzzles, and that in connection with Roberta's story, I started recommending lets add things like combat, and health items, and things like that, to give us more things to fill out the world, and to keep the player involved in between the puzzles. ...and so we came up with this very simplistic combat system that I don't think gets in the way of the story, its a very easy to grasp, click on the guys, until he is dead, diablo-like combat. I felt it really added to the system."
-Mark Seibert, Talkspot part 2, December 1998.
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"I have to admit I was a little nervous about it and I never questioned it, I always felt it was the right thing, and I feel time will tell as to how that eventually works out, only I must say by the sales of King's Quest, and by the fact so many people seem to be enjoying it, it must have been the right thing to do. I think combat, got quite a bit of attention and controversy, because they say that's not part of King's Quest, but it certainly can be part of King's Quest, if its a knightly quest, and its good vs. evil, and if it fits into the story, which I think it does very well in this game."
-Roberta Williams, Talkspot Part 1, December 1998.

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The reason why combat was added, and first of all, I don't think people should take it negatively because combat is definitely can be part of a story, lot of people think combat, that is just an action game, just action. But if you think about some of the great movies that have been out there, some of the great books where combat has been part of it, if you think in terms of adding it to the story, and if it fits very well with the story, then I think it's very appropriate. My idea was I wanted to do a story that was more in like the tradition of the epic games, where you had your true hero that would go out, and think about some of the old legendary figures of King Arthur or Sir Lancelot or Jason and the Golden Fleece. I mean they were all super heroes that would go out and they would fight the monsters and they were working for good. ...and really also if you sorta think about the quest, the quest for faith, or even your inner self. It can be said fighting the monsters, is the same as fighting your own inner demons. But when you think in terms of putting it into the story, fighting chaos, and your trying to set order right, and your fighting evil, I think its very appropriate. How would Star Wars be without Luke Skywalker out there fighting the bad guys.
-Roberta Williams, Talkspot part 2, December 1998.

We saw images of the first enemies, and first build of the game as early as Fall 1996 or so (maybe a little bit earlier in other non-sierra magazines). This would suggest that the period when Roberta hadn't thought of having enemies was a for a very short time in early 1996 (by fall 1996 they had a substantial amount of work finished in at least semi-playable or demoable state, using the early version of the 3Space editor used in Earthsiege II). I don't know how long it takes to make assets, and entire levels. But I'm guessing that it had to be at least half the year?

But by late 1996, the game was definitely already had the 'violent' encounters (technically its really not that violent, it only has a teen rating). By the time she announced the game to the public for the first time, the game already had enemies in it. This was when Ken Williams was still in charge of Sierra, although he had already sold the company to CUC in late July 1996.

Since we must take development time into consideration, much of that material used in the level editors/early 3Space engine including combat ideas were built into the game long before CUC came into the picture! So Ken Williams (who already was thinking of stopping adventure games altogether, since they weren't profitable), Roberta Williams, and her team already supported turning King's Quest into something more mainstream, to draw in a wider audience (which by the way did work) was made before CUC came into the picture. Ken may now try push the blame on CUC, but truly it was his fault originally. At least even if we got the build with more levels, more bosses, more enemies, and extended cutscenes, it still would have been more of the same! Just it would have played much longer! We might at least gotten a better ending.

Plus much of the fault in the loss of that extra content was on the shoulders of Dynamix for not finishing the more robust version of the 3Space engine that could handle adventure games, puzzles, scripted events, etc. That meant they had to scramble to build a new engine from scratch, and they had to recycle as much of the material as they could. In the meantime they were also converting many of the assets to their updated art style, and higher res graphics (the older 3Space models wouldn't have cut it in the market by late 1997 into 1998).



(Posted on: August 03, 2011, 03:16:19 AM)


Roberta Even jumped into defend her decisions for KQ8 back in summer 1997, back in the old KQ8 forums. Other than fan game community I can't think of very many designers that are willing to come out in public to defend or discuss there decisions;
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July 7, 1997:

I have been reading with interest all of the various comments that everybody has had about KQ8 (Mask of Eternity). I find it interesting that everybody has their own ideas about what King's Quest IS. And everybody seems to have a bit different idea. It seems, on this board, anyway, that quite a few people have the idea that King's Quest is (or should be) non-violent...no ifs, ands, or buts about it. And it must be cute, funny, have fairytales in it, and have lots of puzzles and inventory objects. First of all, I have to say that King's Quest comes from ME and each one is different and has its own flavor. Some have a darker tone, and others have a lighter tone. Some touch upon violence, and some don't. King's Quest reflects the mood that I am in when I go to tackle another one.

King's Quest really is a reflection of me and how I'm feeling about the subject and upon the reference material I am using and how I approach the subject. Basically, King's Quest comes from me and my heart and it always isn't going to be exactly the same, because I'm not always exactly the same, and I, like most people, feel a need for a change of pace and a sense of moving forward and of trying and experiencing something new. With KQ7, I was in a "Disney-esque" mood. Some people really liked it, others didn't. Earlier King's Quest's reflected my moods during those times: KQ3 was very dark, and it utilized lots of magic and magic spells with the basic idea of finding ingredients for "black magic" spells and then casting those spells. (Certain religious groups were upset with me over that one!) KQ1 certainly had violence. Sir Graham had a dagger and could kill the dragon (and it didn't get you "stuck," by the way, if you did so), and you could also kill the goat. It's true that I also had non-violent ways of dealing with those situations, but, that's because I chose to handle it that way for that particular game. I've gotten into trouble over the years for all the various ways that my main characters can "die." And they die a lot! I am known for changing course a lot, and changing my style a lot. I like change, and I like to keep people guessing. KQ7 felt very Disney-esque, and I felt like doing something different for KQ8 but yet, still keeping a "King's Quest" feel to the game. Each game in the King's Quest family has been different. Almost each time I do a new King's Quest, people get up in arms and say it's going to be "different" and won't feel right. Yet, each time, it DOES wind up feeling like King's Quest but each in its own way...and people just kind of KNOW that when they are playing it.

That's because I know, in my heart, and what I am feeling, that it is, indeed, King's Quest. The components that make a King's Quest are (in my mind, anyway and since I am the creator of the series, I guess that holds some weight): A land, or lands, of high fantasy; fantasy creatures from myth, legends, and/or fairytales both good and bad; situations to be found in those same types of stories; a "quest" type story; a calamity in the land with one "hero" to "save the kingdom"; a story of the "good" hero against the "evil" bad guy; a story that everyone can relate to, i.e., a "reason" for having the hero go out and risk his or her life for "saving the kingdom"; interesting worlds to explore; high interactivity; interesting characters; great animation; great visuals and music. Within that general framework, I feel that I can have some "leeway" to accomplish those tasks. In the case of KQ8 I chose to give this game more of a "Tolkien-esque" feel rather than a "Disney-esque" feel. But each of the above elements is true for KQ8 as they were for KQ1 through 7. KQ8 indeed has a story, actually, a much more profound story than prior King's Quests. It is a new telling of the ultimate "quest" the quest for the most powerful, spiritual, benevolent item of all; the Mask of Eternity. This story takes its cue from two sources: the Quest for the Grail, and the Christian story of the struggle between God and Lucifer. When we say that the story is very dark that's really not true; it's just that the story is more profound and seriously looks at the struggle between good and evil. Rather than taking a bubbly, Disney view of good and evil, I chose to look at the struggle between good and evil from a more serious, traditional, almost spiritual, viewpoint. If you look at the traditional stories of the Grail and even in past Christian legend, you find that it is not light-hearted, gooey, and bubbly. Those stories are filled with conflict, peril, finding ones own morality, proving oneself a hero by overcoming evil creatures of Chaos, but yet proving oneself virtuous and good with all things good. That is the theme with this game. Connor is indeed a new character within the world of Daventry. Currently, he has no connection to King Graham and his family, but that doesn't mean that King Graham is not aware of him...and what he's going to do to help Daventry. This is, instead, a story of Connor and a story of how one young man of "common" background can rise to the situation and prove himself to be the true hero which can save the world. It is the traditional story of the young "initiate" who becomes stronger through proving his mettle, his virtue, surviving perils, overcoming evil and in the end can even conquer the ultimate evil. By doing so, he will restore the land and all of the people, and good creatures and animals within it. The Mask of Eternity is the "key." It is the source of all Power, all Order, all Truth, and all Light. It belongs in its place in the "Realm of the Sun." It has been broken into five pieces and distributed throughout the world. A mysterious evil (guy) has destroyed it and taken over the Realm of the Sun. Darkness has now settled over the land and all people (mortals) have been turned to stone, while creatures of darkness have risen from the very cracks and crevices of the earth at the instigation of this evil guy. Now Chaos reigns in all the various regions of the world: In Daventry (where all people have been turned to stone, including King Graham and his family); in the Dimension of Death (where even the Judge of the Dead has lost control of his guards and the souls); in the swamp (where the evil swamp witch has poisoned the swamp water and has all the good swamp creatures in her thrall); in the underground Realm of the Gnomes (where the industrious gnomes are willing to sell you items to help in your quest, but have also lost some control to the rock demons and an evil dragon); in the Barrens (where the trading post dwarfling has lost his "business" to the predations of an evil basilisk and the savagemen block your way to the Frosty Mountains); in the Frosty Mountains (where travel is impossible without the commandeering the controls of a flying crystal dragon, and the snow nymphs need relief from the evil Ice Lord); and finally in the Realm of the Sun (where the bad guy has taken over the domain of the Archons and the Mask of Eternity....this bad guy, the ultimate source of the terrible evil and darkness which has overcome the world). Connor must overcome all of these problems while recovering the pieces of the Mask and returning the Mask (in whole) back to its realm to its altar. Not until it has been returned will green and light return to the world. Not until then will the Realm of the Sun "shine" again and the waters flow.... I feel very proud of this game and the story which goes with it. Do NOT gain any preconceived ideas which may be wrong about this game from some preliminary screen shots which you will see at this early date. As time goes on we will supply you with more screen shots which will show other aspects of this game which are not "fighting" oriented. The reason it appears that this game is all about that is because we have not ever done a game which has that element so we're concentrating on that element right now. The other elements; the story elements, the character elements, the animation elements, the inventory object elements, the puzzle elements...are all stuff we've done before and will be much easier for us to put in place....we just haven't done those yet.....therefore, you're getting a skewed view of this game which is WRONG. I plan on keeping in touch with everyone and endeavoring to answer questions. I will try to check in a couple of times a week. Thanks for your patience in reading through my long-winded explanation of KQ8. Hopefully, this will have helped answer any nagging questions about "Mask of Eternity."