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The Lounge => Gaming Talk => Topic started by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 09:44:06 AM

Title: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 09:44:06 AM
So I was reading a bit in some book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg, that claims that the "failure" or problems in "KQ8" had more to do with Phantasmagoria than anything!

Apparently, they claim that Davidson and Associates took over Sierra, and the owners were crazy fundamentalist conservative Christians, who thought Phantasmagoria was immoral and going to destroy the nation's impressionable youth. I guess they thought it would turn them into murderers or what not... So they apparently had little trust for Williams, thinking they were trying to corrupt the masses, and destroy the Christian Nation™! They didn't like the violence and religious themes in the game apparently.

They apparently stopped marketing Phantasmagoria (while it was still going strongly). Roberta believed it would have sold alot more if they hadn't meddled into the game.

The Davidsons were worried that Roberta was trying to insert her own 'corruptive' influence into Mask of Eternity as well due to what was included in Phantasmagoria. So apparently, as this theory goes, that the Davidsons (Jan and her husband) were designing their own 'clean' version of what they believed KQ8 should be (one can guess it was a game that cut out most of the violence), and Roberta was designing her own version of what KQ8 was supposed to be. They kept on sending her their 'suggestions, and orders' and what she needed to change to make it suitable for the public consumption to prevent it from influencing the public (some kind of censorship apparently)...

The book states "Roberta" was angry, because she didn't like Davidson telling her how to write her own story!

So it claims that two development teams were working on script and puzzles at the same time. Roberta worked on her version, and another team (at Davidson and Associates) worked on theirs! When it came down to it, she started to feel like no one was listening to her (the Suits weren't and were trying to design a second version of the game on their own outside of Roberta's influence)!

Now one has to ask if this is true, what was going to be in KQ8 that would have been so anti-Christian that fundamentalist Christians would skwak? What direction was the series going? Was it even more violent? Was there alot more Christian and Demonic imagery intended to be put into the game than what made it in the final release?

Would it have been something that would have pushed away King's Quest fans even more? ...or would the mythological and christian motifs have been much deeper, and drawn fans in even more?

..or would the fans have preferred the Davidson version of the game?
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Fierce Deity on August 28, 2011, 10:40:43 AM
"Christian Nation"? Oh my, that's a scary thought.  :-\

I think Roberta was brave to try and fight against people telling her how to do her job. When you are in the creative seat, you shouldn't bend your will because others tell you to.

I don't think there was anything "demonic" about the game per se, but maybe the the Mask of Eternity represents something of a holy presence over Daventry, and the destruction of the Mask would be creating an undertone of angst towards whatever holy presence guards the will of man. I'm personally not religious or spiritual, but since faith is based on hope and not actual empirical evidence, I can see how metaphors and sarcastic comments can hit home for a lot of believers. So there won't actually need to be a phrase that says "I think all believers are scum." It just needs to get them thinking about what it all means, and then their imagination can run wild from there. This is just a guess though, cause I don't see Mask of Eternity representing something snide against the Christian Right, unless they are trying to relate the Mask of Eternity to God and the Archons to the Archangels, and Lucreto to Lucifer. You'd have to really be "reading into" those references though, which is why I think it's a stretch of the imagination.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: wilco64256 on August 28, 2011, 10:56:31 AM
Yeah Mask of Eternity is about as demonic as Harry Potter I'd say.  And just as likely to destroy the morals of all youth everywhere.  Oh well.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 10:59:17 AM
I'm reminded Roberta criticized the fans who criticized the more violent version of the game she was developing as well. She criticized them directly in a post in the Sierra forums.

She even compared the critical fans to Christian fundamentalists that complained about King's Quest III because of the 'dark magic' found in the game!

Now if we take that detail into context that she was also receiving similar criticism by Sierra's parent company, she was probably all out annoyed on multiple fronts! She was being attacked by both fans and the Suits for similar reasons! Both simply couldn't see or understand her new 'vision' for the series.

One can guess maybe the Davidson's didn't like the 'dark magic' aspects in KQ8 either?

Here is Roberta's forum post;

Quote


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."

Goldberg's information may add some powerful context to understanding all the problems the game went through during its development. Especially on the side of the Suits.

Remember, also that Ken Williams wanted the violence in KQ8, since he felt it would help make the game sell more... This would explain another reason why the Davidson's thought he was 'the devil' so to speak, as Goldberg surmises.

Chris Matthews quoting his dad's thoughts in spring 1997 on why King's Quest had to evolve in the market (Interaction, Spring 1997);

Quote
"The traditional adventure game is dead."...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..., "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."

I think its highly ironic that perhaps the fans have always been on the side of the Suits (Ken Williams excluded)! If the suits had their way, maybe the game would have been closer to earlier KQ games, but would have been far from being Roberta's vision!
http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/King%27s_Quest_VIII_(Davidson_%26_Associates)
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Blackthorne on August 28, 2011, 01:20:09 PM
Interesting stuff.  But pretty much everything offends "The Christian Nation".  Especially violence and boobs.  Everyone knows that you see a naked breast and suddenly you're out, punching people for crack money.  Sad world.  It's why I try to avoid looking at naked breasts on a daily basis.  Even my own.  I wear electrical tape over my nipples to avoid any accidental viewing, lest I become a crazed violent crack addict.


Bt
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 01:29:14 PM
http://www.sierragamers.com/aspx/m/634063/bbs/Topic.13499.530202
Here is more, where Ken mentions his problems with Davidson, and there 'prudeness' apparently.

Quote
...during the negotiations, there were rumors that Bob and Jan Davidson were concerned about Leisure-Suit Larry and Phantasmagoria -- two of Sierra's biggest hits. To me, it was clear that they were non-supporters of the products. Putting Davidson in charge of selling these products, which were a huge percentage of our revenue, I felt would be a mistake. I just didn't think it would work.
During the negotiations, CUC convinced me that the 'Davidson Issue' was a 'non-issue.' CUC put a structure in place which created a consolidation of non-product related functions, such as manufacturing, while leaving Sierra and Davidson independent for the purpose of creating product. In other words, I was assured that only non-product related groups would be merged. Davidson would not be dictating product strategy at Sierra, and neither of us would be reporting to the other. This is quite different than what actually happened.
One the deal was done,Bob Davidson was put in charge.

I have to wonder, if the reason why there are so many sexual, nudity and Leisure Suit Larry jokes hidden in the game via Easter Eggs was a nod back to the problems the real MOE team was having with the Davidson & Associates!

Here, are some comments about the religious inspiration inserted into the game;

Quote
It would seem the King's Quest series has grown up a bit with the creation of Mask. Evidence of this continually surfaces throughout the game but is especially apparent with the central antagonist and Archarchon, Lucreto. His storyline parallels that of Lucifer, the fallen angel whose attempt to overtake Heaven ends him up in Hell.
-Interaction Magazine, Fall, 1997


Quote
"The idea I sorta had in the back of my mind in developing this game, its not really heavy, or fleshed out strongly, it was the idea of exploring spirituality a little bit, I don't want to get heavy with this, but the idea of religions maybe, or lightness and darkness, chaos and order, and why people believe the way they do, and I sort of went back to primitive religions, and looking really at all religions, seeing what was some commonalities among them. ...and one of the things I found was the idea of a sun god as either the main god or even the sacred God we all believe in today has even had alot of sun symbology with him...and so I looked back at, like Mesopotamia had their big god, who was a sun god, and he was shown by his symbol was a golden disk with wings. If you look at our mask that we have here, he is golden, and gold has been symbolic of the sun, because it's an incorruptible material, it always shines, it never tarnishes. You can see he sort of has that sun look, the rays are coming out from him. The wings above his eyes came from the old Mesopotamian god, the winged disk...and also the beard comes from the idea of the lion and Leo, and lions have also been associated with God, and sun gods, and the sun in ancient religions, and is also a very powerful male symbol...and so I took those ideas and worked with a very good artist, working for Sierra, by the name of John Shroades, and he, I gave him all those ideas, and I gave him different masks he could look at, and the different symbology of various masks, ancient masks, and he came up with this, and I just think it's a very strong symbol."
"ya, and the mask is, I mean really...even the idea of the Mask of Eternity, is a term that means essentially...again it is a reference to sort of a god, or old religions of a god. It is sort of like everybody has their own version of what your god could be or what it could look like or stand for. The image or the mask is each person's version or vision of what it could be. Because you could never really see the face of God."
-Roberta Williams, Talk Spot 2.

This was quoted in entirely above post, but here is a portion relates to highly religious aspects of the game;
Quote
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.

Quote
The mask stands for the all-powerful being, the creator. The mask is sun-like and, in many religions, the sun represents God. In most religions, like the sun itself, you never can look directly at the creator unless you become immortal. There are certain places in the game's quest - obstacles, puzzles, interactions with guardians that you meet - where the player is trying to accomplish that feat. It's all integrated into the story in such a way that people who know what to look for will understand the overall quest. -Roberta Williams, 1998

Also in the game is the Apple of Knowledge, that makes Connor become nakid (I'm sure that went over well with the Davidsons!).

There is also a references to creation, the seven days, and even the trinity.

Lucreto is also known as The Father, which is a reference one of the nicknames of Satan, the Father of  Lies.

Quote
Interesting stuff.  But pretty much everything offends "The Christian Nation".  Especially violence and boobs.  Everyone knows that you see a naked breast and suddenly you're out, punching people for crack money.  Sad world.  It's why I try to avoid looking at naked breasts on a daily basis.  Even my own.  I wear electrical tape over my nipples to avoid any accidental viewing, lest I become a crazed violent crack addict.

Ya, better be careful in MOE, you might be offended by Connor's boobs. If you aren't careful you might get curvature or  panty shots of the Sylph, Queen Freesa, and the other Ice Nymphs. It's sure to destroy your morality!

Also definitely watch out for Mr. Dildo, and other strange rods...
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Blackthorne on August 28, 2011, 02:45:11 PM
The only think MOE destroyed was my hope that it would be a good game!


Bt
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 03:14:53 PM
It sounds like it was doomed from the start for you! Both the fans were upset about the violence and the suits didn't like the game's violence, and religious themes!

Ken and Roberta thought that the combat would be a great new idea, that would enlarge the audience. But they hit problems from both the fans and the suits over the same issues! The game went over budget (partly because two teams were trying to make there own KQ8, and partly due to problems with Dynamix creating the game's engine), and they ran out of time to finish the more complete version of the game, with more combat, bosses, levels, etc.

Then there were those fans, who thought KQ had gotten old and stale back during KQ7, and didn't think she could push the series any further. These fans would have disagreed with the Davidson's 'sanitized' non-violent version of the game probably.

Quote
After eight games, don't you think the King's Quest series is getting a bit old? Will you ever consider starting a brand-new series from scratch with an entirely different and original plot and characters? If so, what technologies will this game use?
Let's wait to answer that question after King's Quest: Mask of Eternity has shipped. I think you will find that we were very successful in breathing new life into a series which could be construed as "getting a bit old." It is totally a breath of fresh air. It is like nothing else but yet feels very much like King's Quest. We may have accomplished the "impossible." I truly believe that this newest, latest iteration of King's Quest will be the best-selling yet! As far as starting a brand-new series from scratch with an entirely different and original plot and characters: I've done that many times in my career, and in the future ... who knows?

Two things drove her from the industry... The fact that she lost control of her company, and new bosses were trying to make decisions for her (even going as far to try to make an alternative version of the game without her involvement). Goldberg's book above, claims this reason drove her to crying her head off after she left the company.

Secondly the fans were getting tired of her games, or didn't accept the new directions she wanted to take things!

Apparently the company may have wanted it to fail and let it fail, because of its 'violence' and 'blasphemy'. It didn't really 'fail' in comparison to any previous KQ game, as it essentially doubled what KQ7 sold. Each game in the series has pretty much doubled each previous game in the series. So if they had cared for Roberta, and respected her, they did have good reason to invite her to make a new game (for a while she even said she wouldn't mind coming back to make KQ9, if there was a demand for it).

But because they didn't understand it, or agree with it, they never bothered to call Roberta in for a sequel.

Vivendi (who took over the company later) tried a resurrection in 2002, but that didn't go anywhere (they probably wouldn't have been able to get Roberta if they wanted to).
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Fierce Deity on August 28, 2011, 04:04:04 PM
I don't know. I liked Mask of Eternity. It was a disappointment for the series, but it was ahead of its time. Games like Oblivion and The Witcher got popular, and MoE reminds me of a primitive version of those kinds of games. In fact, MoE probably helped me adapt to this new action/adventure RPG genre that I had ignored for so long. I bought MoE because it was a King's Quest game, but the reason I liked it was because it was nothing like King's Quest. If that makes any sense.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 04:18:06 PM
It's actually one of my top 3-4 games in the series. I'm just negative about certain aspects of it... Like the lack of a proper denouement and ending! Because imo the story builds up properly to a climax. But then you are left wondering what happened!
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Blackthorne on August 28, 2011, 04:30:42 PM
Nah, it wasn't doomed from the start for me.  I had high hopes.  But when I played it, I found it clunky and boring.  Basically, it reminded me too much of Tomb Raider at the time, and I didn't care for that game either.

If made today, it might be a decent game.  But the thing was clunky, had awful loading times..... it's just not a good game.


Bt
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 04:48:06 PM
Actually, it really has little in common with Tomb Raider... Lara Crofft was more physically fit (she could grab on to ledges, slide down slopes, climb walls, do alot more acrobatic moves, some fancy jumping manuevers, rope swinging, etc).

Connor is kinda stiff, he barely jumps, and he can do a single backflip move (no hand grabs), and his climbing is limited to a couple of places using a grappling hook, or backflipping up onto blocks. His fighting is more like Link, but Link has been more agile in recent years (more jump attacks, and ledge grabs)...

The level design is quite a bit different too. Where Lara Croft is very verticle style of exploration, KQ8 is more flat ground areas to explore, and most exploration is done with walking for most areas.

Jumping and climbing takes up maybe 60% of tomb raider, only  5-10% of MOE.

Lara Croft and Indiana Jones (Infernal Machine) really have mroe in common with each other than MOE.

MOE probably has more in common with Ultima XI (1999) as far as a hack and slash RPG with occasional platforming is concerned?

(http://image.com.com/gamespot/images/screenshots/9/53709/ultimaix_screen001.jpg)

There may have been a few other similar hack and slash style RPGs with jumping at that time, but I can't think of them.

It's also roughly similar to the QFG series as far as RPG mixed with Adventure-game, but those games had few 'jumping' moments (except for the thiefs).

I suppose there were also those Elder Scroll's games, but those played from a first person hack and slash.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: DawsonJ on August 28, 2011, 10:29:09 PM
Since Baggins mentioned Link... I have a similar POV on MoE and LoZ. I've tried (from the very first NES game down through Majora's Mask, and even the cartoon series!) to like Legend of Zelda, but the games just don't do it for me. I really enjoy RPGs, but just not that series. My point being that I look at MoE as a clunky, under-developed take on the Legend of Zelda, which really kills the KQ vibe for me.

I wonder what the Davidson version looked like. Seriously, I think a "King's Quest: Behind the Scenes" set with all unused images, videos, audio clips, scripts, demos, Prototype/Alpha/Beta versions of the games, and other "lost materials" would rock!
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 28, 2011, 10:31:31 PM
...and I love Zelda! which could be why I like KQ8, even if it is a bit clunkier!

Also, Zelda's aren't rpgs (with exception of Zelda II), they have always been 'action-adventure genre'.

Also didn't most of KQ8 develpment predate the release of the first 3D zelda (I know the two games were released within a month from each other)? I wonder what would have happened if Roberta actually could have played OOT before making KQ8?

Quote
I wonder what the Davidson version looked like.
Ya I wonder, if it was just on paper notes and promo artwork, or if they got as far to make their own character models/locations etc.

Best I can tell based on the timing, they only really had about a year to work on it. Cendent appproached Davidsons and Associates and Sierra around February 1996 or so and bought the companies. Bob Davidson was put in charge soon after (anyone know the date?). The Davidson's quit the company in January 21, 1997. So the limits of their influence is really only up to that point.

So that means Davidsons really didn't have that much time to make much for their version of the game. But it and their demands were enough to give Roberta all sorts of problems.

During this time, or not long after it was clear to Roberta's team that Dynamix team wasn't going to finish the updated 3Space game  engine on time. So Roberta and her team had to redevote some of their own resources and time to build an updated/new engine for MOE from scratch basically from older version of the engine. Very little of the 3Space engine was left by the time they were done. But that development really cut into the time needed to finish the game, and some extra levels, bosses, puzzles (for those levels) were cut.

Each of these problems pushed the projected release date back (originally it was to come out during the Holiday 1997). The release was pushed back I think 3-4 times total (throughout 1998).

They had to deal with voice recordings for the completed material so that the game would be complete (probably in the last few months of development).
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Sir Perceval of Daventry on August 28, 2011, 11:49:51 PM
Cendent appproached Davidsons and Associates and Sierra around February 1996 or so and bought the companies. Bob Davidson was put in charge soon after (anyone know the date?). The Davidson's quit the company in January 21, 1997. So the limits of their influence is really only up to that point.

So that means they really didn't have that much time to make much for their version of the game. But it and their demands were enough to give Roberta all sorts of problems.

During this time, or not long after it was clear to Roberta's team that Dynamix team wasn't going to finish the updated 3Space game  engine on time. So Roberta and her team had to redevote some of their own resources and time to build an updated/new engine for MOE from scratch basically from older version of the engine. Very little of the 3Space engine was left by the time they were done. But that development really cut into the time needed to finish the game, and some extra levels, bosses, puzzles (for those levels) were cut.

They had to deal with voice recordings for the completed material so that the game would be complete (probably in the last few months of development).

Timeline:

September 30th, 1992: KQ6 is released, a few months behind schedule. Roberta goes to work immediately on two projects: Scary Tales and KQ7.

1993-1994: Scary Tales evolves into Phantasmagoria. Originally, Roberta was working on Scary Tales with Josh Mandel as Co-Designer or Co-writer; the Scary Tales idea is scrapped (according to Josh Mandel) and Phantasmagoria is born. Both have two very different storylines and ideas.

November 23rd, 1994: KQ7 is released for the Thanksgiving holiday season. Roberta now works on Phantasmagoria full time.

July 31st, 1995: Phantasmagoria is released. I imagine that KQ8 was already in production at some level and probably goes fully into production at this point--In the Talkspot interviews, Roberta mentions beginning work on KQ8 during Phatasmagoria's development. She mentions deciding to go the 3D route for KQ8 as early as '94 or '95, possibly earlier--around the time Doom came out and was huge. It's possible that pre-production began in early-mid 1995 during the ending stage of Phantas' development, with full production beginning right after Phantasmagoria was finished.

February 20th 1996: The possible sale to CUC International, Inc. is announced and officially opened. Sierra had apparently been approached about the deal about three weeks prior by Walter Forbes, CEO and Founder of CUC, and a member of Sierra's board of directors since 1991. He approached Ken, surprising him with the deal after a board meeting in early February.  He offers $1.5 billion to buy Sierra.

The deal is worked out between Walter, Ken and Michael Brochu (COO and President of Sierra, appointed by Ken in October 1995, Ken's second in command and the guy seemingly in charge of Sierra "day to day" since).

CUC laid out a whole post-acquisition structure which Ken objected to, and the sale was nearly broken--They wanted to roll up the games division into a very tight unit, which would strip Sierra of it's identity. Ken's interest was in being able to not only retain Sierra's identity and autonomy, but also be involved with Sierra in a much more product oriented basis. He HATED the day to day paperwork of being a CEO, but LOVED working on games. These were Ken's conditions for the sale to even happen:

1) "I was to go onto CUCs board as Vice-Chairman. My understanding was that this would put me "above" Bob Davidson, even though he would run the software business day to day. My goal was to give him the independence he needed to succeed, but I thought this corporate role would allow me the visibility, and voice, to intercede if things weren't going welll."
2) "I was to become the third member of the "Office of the President" with CUCs two existing co-Presidents"
3) "A software board was going to be formed, "which would have Bob Davidson, Myself, Mike Brochu (Sierra's President) and I believe Kirk Shelton of CUC (who is not in jail)"
4) "No major decisions were to be made (such as dropping product lines, or consolidating functions) without prior review by the software board."
5) "I was to stay responsible for Sierra's R&D."

CUC also announces the possible acquisition of Davidson & Associaes on the same day.

Summer 1996 InterAction: A preview of KQ8 is promised for the next issue of InterAction.

July 24th 1996: The sale to CUC is finalized and done--Prior to 7/24/1996, Sierra was still an independent company, with no connection to Davidson or CUC.

Fall 1996 InterAction: KQ8 is previewed in Sierra's Fall 1996 issue of InterAction Magazine, including screenshots and general ideas about the storyline and gameplay. Ken mentions that Roberta spent six months playing almost every new game as "research." Her influences for KQ8 include SuperMario 64, Duke Nukem, and Warcraft II. A release date of Christmas 1997 is set.

 After the sale, Sierra and Davidson existed as separate companies directly under CUC in general, until.....

September 1996: CUC Software is formed. CUC Software, Inc. is formed, to create an organizational buffer between CUC and it's games division.

Bob Davidson is appointed CEO of CUC Software, Inc, and he also retains his post as founder and CEO of Davidson & Associates.

Michael Brochu (President and COO of Sierra from 1995, way before the sale) is appointed an Executive Vice President of CUC Software. He is also made in charge of CUC's Software's European operations, and their OEM relationships, as well as retaining his place as President  and COO of Sierra.

Ken is appointed as Vice Chairman of CUC International, Inc, as well as being made a Member of the Office of the President of CUC. He also retains his post as CEO of Sierra, at least officilly. This is when the conflict between Ken and Davidson seems to begin.

November 1996: the co-founders of Valve meet Ken Williams at Sierra's headquarters to show him Half Life, a game they have in development. He attempts to buy them out as a company but they resist (according to Scott, I believe). Instead, however, Ken gets EXCLUSIVE copyrights to Half Life--a very smart move. He appoints Scott Lynch as the Project Manager on Half Life.

December 1996: Ken talks to an online magazine in which he talks about Sierra's future and declares the adventure genre dead. If I'm not mistaken, he talks about KQ8 in this same interview as well.

Holidays 1996: The Roberta Williams anthology is released, which includes many of her games. It also includes a video preview of KQ8.

January 21st 1997: Bob Davidson resigns as CEO of CUC Software.

Chris McCleod, a member of the office of the  president and  executive  vice  president of CUC International  Inc. is named as his replacement as CEO of CUC Software.

July 1997: The second King's Quest Collection is released, including games I-VII along with Laura Bow and some other Roberta games. It includes a preview for KQ8, and still lists the game as being set for a "Christmas '97" release.

October 31st, 1997: Michael Brochu, COO and President of Sierra, announces his resignation from that post and his departure from CUC.

Chris McLeod, CEO of CUC Software, responds to Brochu leaving by:

"Chris McLeod, chief executive officer of CUC Software, responded to last Friday's departure of Sierra On-line president Mike Broshu by restructuring that company and breaking the business into three units.

Three former vice presidents - Bill Moore, Scott Lynch*, and Randy Dersham - were given the title senior vice president and put in charge of the new units.

Moore will be responsible for Sierra's Home Production line, Berkeley Systems line, and all on-line gaming products; Lynch will look after Sierra Northwest (Bellevue), Sierra Oakhurst, and Impressions Software; Dursham will be in charge of all sports-related projects including Papyrus and Front Page Sports products
."

*= Scott Lynch is blamed for KQ8's delays in a very subtle way in the KQ8 booklet.

November 1997: Ken Williams leaves CUC and forms his own company, WorldStream Communications, with former Sierra head of R&D, Jerry Bowerman. Bowerman worked as Head of R&D up to 1997 and was a close associate of Ken in that role. As CEO even after the sale to CUC, every three months, Ken took a month long trip with Jerry to every one of Sierra's divisions/groups and inspected EVERY SINGLE product in development from morning until night. Ken would instruct the teams on how to make the games better. He wanted a more "hands on" approach to the development of Sierra's games.

December 1997: KQ8's projected release date for Christmas 1997 is missed. CUC and HFS Incorporated, a hotel conglomerate, merge to form Cendant. CUC Software becomes Cendant Software, one of the world's largest and most powerful conglomerates, with over 20,000 employees.

April 1998: News breaks out that the CUC side of Cendant had been "cooking it's books"--inflating income--for years. CUC used Sierra's accountants and Sierra's name in a lot of these illegal doings. This causes Cendant's stock to plummet and many of Sierra's employees lose their 401Ks as Sierra is dealt a crippling blow in terms of profitability. As Cendant's stock sinks, multiple options are looked at on how to save money. Ultimately, it is decided that the software division needs to go.

Some options are looked at, including spinning off Cendant Software as it's own entity. Eventually, Cendant decides to sale the division. Several companies are eager to buy Cendant Software, including Disney and Havas.

June 1998: David Grenewetzki, a game industry veteran, is appointed CEO of Sierra, filling the vacuum which had existed since October 1997. He re-organizes Sierra and does away with the familiar Half Dome logo. He reorganizes Sierra into several new subdivisions: Sierra Studios, SierraHome, Yosemite Entertainment (Oakhurst) and Sierra Sports.

KQ8 again misses a projected release date in June 1998.

August 1998: KQ8 again misses a projected ship date.

November 1998: Cendant Software is sold to Havas. Havas is in turn bought by Vivendi.

December 1998: KQ8 is finally released after three years in development, with three million spent.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: kenwilliams on August 29, 2011, 03:29:47 AM
Roberta asked me to post the following:

"Davidsons ‘killing’ Phantasmagoria as it was still going strong: True.

Two teams working on KQ8 at the same time: Partially true. There really was only one team, but I was assigned several ‘managers’ to work above me and those managers were told to not really listen to me and do things their way (presumably, Davidsons’ way?). Hence, the frustration on my part and the fact that KQ8 suffered as a result.

Roerta Williams"


-Ken W
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 29, 2011, 08:02:33 AM
Thanks Ken! Please, pass thanks on to Roberta as well!

Also, despite the problems she had with KQ8, tell her I still love the game! I still enjoy, it and play it every couple of years or so!

So Goldberg's book was exaggerating things a bit it seems, but was mostly close to the truth.

I'm working on updating KQ8 development page with this updated information;

http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/KQ8_development#Davidson_.2AAssociate.27s_involvement
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: KatieHal on August 29, 2011, 09:57:59 AM
Thank you Ken & Roberta! It's always nice to hear from you on here, and getting some insight into this often-discussed topic is an extra special treat.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: MusicallyInspired on August 29, 2011, 10:03:56 AM
People like that give Christians a bad name.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 29, 2011, 10:26:48 AM
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_sa.htm

I've read that, the whole 'Samhain' is a Death God thing is also apparently an urban myth, or modern creation essentially (rather than a proper ancient legend). The story originated out of late 1700's early 1800s. Probably due to a mistranslation of older material somewhere along the lines, and merging two separate things into one. The earliest reference originates in the 1770's from a Colonel Charles Vallency, and picked up in an 1827 book by Godfrey Higgans. time was the first, and a few of the 'new' Pagans of that period (few modern Pagans believe it), and then Lady Jane Wilde in one of her books on charms and superstitions.

But apparently during the 1990's (to the present) Fundamentalists took the idea (rather quoting those books from the 1700-1800's as expert historical material), and use it to condemn Wiccans, Pagans, and Druids, as essentially devil worshipers, or death worshipers. Although no modern pagans believe in it, and it was fiction/mistake when it was first invented. Thus from a wiccan perspective they see the story itself as an attack on their beliefs. Some are very offended by the story (I wonder what they would think of KQ6?).

I've been curious where Roberta or Jane Jensen learned about the story?  Though the story was popular during the 1992, and KQ6 did come out in 1993. It was mainly made public knowledge due to the conservative Christian movments that told the story as a kind of cautionary 'bogeyman' tale to warn people from listening to, believing or trusting pagans.

Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Fierce Deity on August 29, 2011, 07:41:18 PM
Eh, I've always associated the "beliefs" of Samhain with Halloween or "All Hallow's Eve". Aside from it being based on pagan beliefs, Halloween always bore an insignificance in my mind. It stood for "the night before All Saint's Day", but I never understood what All Saint's Day was, and why there had to be a day that worshiped the dead. More importantly, when did candy play such a big part?  :P
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: KatieHal on August 29, 2011, 08:19:49 PM
In the Celtic calendar, All Hallow's Eve itself is also called Samhain, and is one of the days when the veil between the worlds was at its thinnest. You can read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 29, 2011, 08:25:27 PM
Katie, that is actually the correct definition, and its metnioned in the link I gave!

The holiday isn't named after a being. It has nothing to do with any such being.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: wilco64256 on August 29, 2011, 08:44:27 PM
Eh, I've always associated the "beliefs" of Samhain with Halloween or "All Hallow's Eve". Aside from it being based on pagan beliefs, Halloween always bore an insignificance in my mind. It stood for "the night before All Saint's Day", but I never understood what All Saint's Day was, and why there had to be a day that worshiped the dead. More importantly, when did candy play such a big part?  :P

Who wouldn't want an extra excuse to get more candy?
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Fierce Deity on August 29, 2011, 09:05:09 PM
Eh, I've always associated the "beliefs" of Samhain with Halloween or "All Hallow's Eve". Aside from it being based on pagan beliefs, Halloween always bore an insignificance in my mind. It stood for "the night before All Saint's Day", but I never understood what All Saint's Day was, and why there had to be a day that worshiped the dead. More importantly, when did candy play such a big part?  :P

Who wouldn't want an extra excuse to get more candy?

Good point!  ;D
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: DawsonJ on August 30, 2011, 01:38:04 AM
Actually, "Trick or Treat" represents a threat from the dead. Either the dead person plays a nasty Trick on you, or you appease them with a Treat - candy, in most cases. The same concept is used in cultures that offer gift offerings and/or food to the dead. Some cultures advise leaving food and flowers on the graves for the dead to avoid being attacked by the deceased.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Baggins on August 30, 2011, 01:55:30 AM
Deceased and Desist.
Title: Re: The development of Mask of Eternity affected Christian Right & Phantasmagoria?
Post by: Rock Knight on September 11, 2018, 08:05:16 PM
Davidson & Associates published Warcraft 1, 2 and Diablo. I doubt they had any problem with Mask.