Author Topic: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs  (Read 5189 times)

TheReturnofDMD

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The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« on: April 14, 2006, 07:36:14 PM »
I love theWilliams' work on the King's Quest series and other games, and I think that they made a great team (with Ken at first handling the technical/programming aspect of games and Roberta handling the creative end) Roberta is a very talented woman, a superb writer and builder of worlds.
But I've just realized that as the King's Quest series went on, her's and her husband's (Particularly Mrs. Williams') involvement in the creative process of the games began to decrease. She was the designer and director of all the games; but after King's Quest IV she wasn't "the leading lady", so to speak, and became more involved in the production process of design and, well, producing, then carrying the story forward, which might have resulted in the inconsistencies the games suffer from
For example:

King's Quest IV:
Writen and Designed by Roberta Williams
Executive Producer: Ken Williams

King's Quest V:
Executive Producer: Ken Williams
Creative Director: Bill Davis
Creative Consultant: William Skirvin
Game Designer and Producer: Roberta Williams

King's Quest VI:
Written and Designed by: Roberta Williams & Jane Jensen
Produced by William Skirvin
Directed by: Roberta Williams, Jane Jensen, William Skirvin
Text and Game Dialogue: Jane Jensen

King's Quest VII:
Directors: Andy Hoyos, Lorelei Shannon and Roberta Williams
Designed by Lorelei Shannon and Roberta Williams
WRITTEN BY: Lorelei Shannon
Producer: Mark Seirbert

So...in essence it appears that over time, Roberta's role and involvement in the King's Quest series began to diminish, and (given that we know because of Sierra's changes her actual involvement in the finished product of MOE was minimal at best), it's safe to say that eventually the series would've been handed over to other writers and directors, making TSL as official as any game in the King's Quest series can be, because the series would've been handled by other people anyway, and Roberta herself wanted to hand over creative control of the series to other people after KQ5 because she felt her best ideas were used up.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2006, 08:52:07 PM by TheReturnofDMD »

Offline Leopold

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2006, 11:53:37 PM »
What one must remember is that as time passed and games were shipped, Sierra grew in numbers and market. Ken & Roberta had a lot more responsibility and general management to do than just decide on what coffee to make as when they were on their own designing games in the wee early days. I don't think you're right about her best ideas being used up. I think, even though she didn't have all the same roles on each game, that she *was* the leading lady as leading ladies come. On paper it might look different, but she would never entirely hand over the game to someone else. Even on MoE she was struggling to stay in charge, but ultimately failed. I don't think she ever ran out of ideas, and I only think the series got better with the years. And if she would been allowed to finish MoE the way she wanted to, I bet we would all be praising that game as well
« Last Edit: April 14, 2006, 11:55:56 PM by Leopold »
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Offline koko_99_2001

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2006, 05:57:26 AM »
I wish there was some way we could contact the Williams and find out what they had planned for MoE and any sequals she may've had planned.
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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2006, 11:29:37 AM »
What one must remember is that as time passed and games were shipped, Sierra grew in numbers and market. Ken & Roberta had a lot more responsibility and general management to do than just decide on what coffee to make as when they were on their own designing games in the wee early days. I don't think you're right about her best ideas being used up. I think, even though she didn't have all the same roles on each game, that she *was* the leading lady as leading ladies come. On paper it might look different, but she would never entirely hand over the game to someone else. Even on MoE she was struggling to stay in charge, but ultimately failed. I don't think she ever ran out of ideas, and I only think the series got better with the years. And if she would been allowed to finish MoE the way she wanted to, I bet we would all be praising that game as well

I didnt mean she lost her best ideas, because thats not the case, but I read thats the way she felt in one of my KQ Collection bonus features but she loved working on KQ so much that for VI she used the ideas set in that game and worked with Jane Jensen

Offline dark-daventry

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2006, 10:22:21 AM »
We could possibly get in contact with her. Just scour the net for an e-mail or home address. There has to be one somewhere...!  ;)
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KQ7--Largely a Lorelei Shannon Game
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2006, 01:16:48 AM »
Hi

Just an interesting, random fact about KQ7 for fans of it: It was largely a Lorelei Shannon-made game more than a Roberta Williams game. This is an exact listing of the credits in the KQ7 booklet:


Designed by:
Lorelei Shannon
Roberta Williams

Written by:
Lorelei Shannon

Directors:
Andy Hoyos
Lorelei Shannon
Roberta Williams

It seems that starting with KQ6, Roberta's involvement in the KQ series started to decline; She shared plot duties for VI with Jane Jensen and Jense wrote all of the Narration and Dialogue of KQ6. Even in KQ5, A man named Bill Davis was the Creative Director.
I don't know, but to me it's kind of interesting....

Offline Yonkey

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Re: KQ7--Largely a Lorelei Shannon Game
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2006, 05:38:18 AM »
I think it sort of explains the overall change in game design for those games.  KQ1-4 are very consistant design-wise, but KQ5 was a leap forward in many ways.  KQ6 then further improved on each of those leaps, which made it the best game in the series among fans. 

KQ7's design was more a result of the success Disney was having around that time with animated movies.  I personally considered it more as a standalone game than a sequel, but it still did a way better job than MoE. 

MoE originally had the potential to be something amazing, but obviously it evolved into something else, due to Ken & Roberta's diminished creative control over that game.  The final product ended up being too big of a risk, because it tried merging into the action market.  Graphics-wise and plot-wise it was too sub-par in comparison with other successful games released around that same time.

Unlike KQ7 where they gained younger fans and brought out the inner child in all of us, MoE's attempt at gaining a larger audience backfired, resulting in: poor sales, disappointment among KQ fans, disgust among action/adventure fans, and the extinction of the KQ franchise.

Keep in mind that everything said here is based on my interpretation of events and some obvious facts. 8)
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Offline Shades2585

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Re: KQ7--Largely a Lorelei Shannon Game
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2006, 07:39:11 AM »
Keep in mind that everything said here is based on my interpretation of events and some obvious facts. 8)

Maybe so but I think you pegged it down pretty well.
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Re: KQ7--Largely a Lorelei Shannon Game
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2006, 05:42:43 PM »
My view is like this, using a comparison to a few very famous film-makers:

Roberta Williams is like George Lucas; creative, intelligent and generally a visionary. Now leave George Lucas alone, and we get the first Star Wars film; An innovative, spectacular film for it's time and a masterpiece today.
 On the computer end of the spectrum; Leave Roberta Williams alone at the helm of a project and we get KQ's 1-5; Revolutionary for their times and exciting adventures with good stories. Now, pair George Lucas with Steven Spielburg and we get Raiders of the Lost Ark, which combined both film-makers best creative qualities. Leave Spielburg alone and we get Jaws. Same as in pairing Roberta with Jane Jensen. Both were very creative minds in their own right, and both released awesome products; but combine their best qualities together working on a project and you get KQ6, an awesome, epic adventure which is arguably the best KQ game (yet!). Leave Jensen alone and we get Gabriel Knight ;p.
My point being as that sometimes two minds (especially if those minds' are set along the same paths) are much more creative than one and when you combine the talents of two creative geniuses you can look forward to one awesome product. However, that's not always the case, because sometimes two cooks can spoil the broth.

Offline Baggins

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2006, 10:30:57 PM »
I'd like to point out that Roberta was definitely involved in story ideas for Mask of Eternity, as is discussed in many interviews at the time, and the making of videos.

Unfortunately many ideas she had for the game's story got left on the cutting room floor due to the official company trying to get the game out early, and problems with the game negine. Only the bare minimum of her plot ever made it into the game(some refrences to the original plot can be found in dialogue if you click on certain things). For example the refrence to the Swamp witches "wiles" if you click on the skeletons in her fortress.

The idea of battle was something she wanted to add due to the popularity of LOZ: Ocarina of Time. A game she only read about but had never played, and felt she could top. There is one interview that discusses this fact.

I asked Mark Seibert a bit about some of the stuff that was cut, and this is what he had to say;

Quote
Yes, this was the only KQ game that was not fully developed at one location. The idea was to leverage the 3D engine Dynamic was building in Eugene. We were to use their engine and focus mostly on content. The problem was that the engine work ended up WAY behind schedule and that had disastrous results on our content development. To make a long story short, we finally took what they had and finished it ourselves. Unfortunately, by the time we did this the project was way behind schedule, way over budget, and we still didn't have an engine. We scrambled to complete the project and it unfortunately showed. It saddens me to have had the King's Quest series end with a product that suffered so.

So yes, many things were cut - the leprechaun, the Red Capped goblin, I think two complete levels, and then MANY major cutbacks on what is there. As you point out, a good example is the Swamp Witch. In the original script as it was developing, her part was much larger. But as we had to devote time to technical issues, the esthetic issues and the amount of detail and breadth of content continued to get chopped. Remember, this was also right at the time the industry was saying that "Adventure gaming is dead." It was not easy to convince marketing to invest more to develop an adventure game. The end result was that we shipped what we could, and it was a pretty sad showing for such a great series.

Yes, the castle entered through the passageway behind the waterfall is Castle Daventry. The reason you don't see much of it is that it was damaged in the opening scene. That is why you can only go so far in before you find blocked passageways. We wanted to originally let you explore the entire castle, find the royal family turned to stone, etc, etc, but as you know, things had to be cut and this was one of the many things that was easy to have a story reason why not to do it.
-Mark Seibert, March 11, 2006.

See here for more; Early Concepts

However, because TSL isn't published by the official company that has the rights to King's Quest IP, its a work of Fanfiction, and is therefore unofficial, just like the King's Quest VGA remake, KQ2 Remake and the King's Quest 3 remake.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2006, 02:02:02 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline TheGreatGraham

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2006, 08:10:11 AM »
  THe main reason she wasn't involved was the change in Sierra.  Games back in the day were much simpler, and she did lots of the designing herself.  Later on however, the games bacame much more complicated graphics-wise and program-wise.  There are no more one-man(or woman) teams in companies anymore.  Games get made by lots and lots of people.  It was impossible for her to do everything, so people had to come in and help.  What I think the problem was is that they didn't give her enough room for writing, and started cutting her off from some of that.  THis isn't seen until KQ8, except maybe a bit in KQ7. 
  Now I don't blame anybody6 really for KQ8.  They (Roberta WIlliams included) wanted to try something different, and it didn't just didn't work.  Maybe if they had had a chance to do a KQ9, it would have been different.

Offline Yonkey

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2006, 09:29:32 AM »
THis isn't seen until MoE, except maybe a bit in KQ7.
Actually, it started in KQ6 or possibly earlier.  Most of KQ6's storyline was actually created by Jane Jenson. 8)
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Offline oberonqa

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Re: The Williams' Diminished Involvement in Later KQs
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2006, 11:46:26 PM »
THis isn't seen until MoE, except maybe a bit in KQ7.
Actually, it started in KQ6 or possibly earlier.  Most of KQ6's storyline was actually created by Jane Jenson. 8)

And it's interesting to note that most people consider KQ6 to be the pinnacle of the series (myself included).  This of course is not a slam against Roberta... because she is an extraordinary designer and writer.

I think what ended up happening is the games got too complex as time went on.  And the more complex the games got, the more Roberta's responsibilities had to be delegated out.  Back in the earlier days, you had a very small team and usually team members filled multiple roles (for example, the programmers were also the scripters and the artists were also the programmers). 

I believe Al Lowe has spoken about this in assorted interviews and I believe his website also discusses how on his first couple of games (namely Disney-themed games), he was the programmer, the scripter, the designer, the scenario writer, AND the artist.

Like others have said, the company got bigger and as it got bigger, it's games got bigger.  The same can be said of most game companies of the time period... most notable among them (aside from Sierra) being LucasArts, Origin, and Electronic Arts... who did at one point actually MAKE games rather than just publish games.
 
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