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The Black Cloak Society

Started by TheReturnofDMD, July 03, 2010, 08:27:58 PM

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Hmm, ok I think Annette Childs got the story credits in KQ2/3, at least the manuals, I think. Roberta got the "designer" credits.

Hmm, while Roberta is listed as the third billing in the intro credits as designer, director and producer, I just looked at the ending credits for KQV, strangely Roberta Williams isn't even listed (except under a couple of voice credits), William D. Skirvin got the top billing as Creative Consultant. Although she is listed in the "About KQV" tab, "King's Quest V...By Roberta Williams". She isn't listed in the main credits for KQ1 SCI either for whatever odd reason (but shows up in the "About KQ1" credits.).

QuoteIf that sort of arrangement had indeed happened, it would have been potentially disasterous to the franchise, as whoever ended up purchasing the license could do whatever they wanted to do and Sierra would not have had the ability to stop them.  Let's take, for example, if Peter Spears decided to write an entry into the King's Quest Companion a little blip about Daventry being some kind of space pod experiment that Manannon and Mordack cooked up so they could play God.
Well, let's see through all the editions, he pretty much states that Roberta Williams games are just games, and not the real story (his/Derek's version is the "real story"). What about the part in KQ7, 4th edition where Derek Karlavaegen implies that KQ7 didnt' happen, and was all just a hoax? He also took the creative choice to say that the remake of KQ1 was not the real story, but the original version was. Although evidence from later Roberta Williams interviews seem to say she considered the remake to be the story she wanted to tell. It was placed in the classic KQ1 boxes and replaced the older version until the release of the anniversery collections (its also the version Sierra's owners later replaced previous versions with in the most recent collections). This largely has an effect on the order of how the treasures were found. There are also some major differences between items and certain aspects of the KQ6 story (but that was more to do with them working from a prototype version of the KQ6 script, and not all the ideas had been finalized). For example the face on the copper coin was Valanice instead of Graham, the drink me bottle was empty (and Alexander acted his death, and Hakim acted along with him), rather than it being filled with something that would knock you out, and make it look as if your heart had completely stopped (tricking Hakim as well as Shamir), among other things.

There are also a few examples in the first two editions where he actually changed character names, or made them less clear. For example, Jym and Tam Baker, the baker brothers of Serenia, no reference to William Baker. We are made to believe that the guy working on the wagon in town was one of the brothers (this example is in the Second Edition. An Encyclopedia of Daventry, a section left out in the later editions). He also made Manannan's cat female, when he was clearly male in the game (or alexander isn't able to tell the sex of cats very well, :p). Although it may have been a previous cat of Manannan's (since it was from an article, "Fragments of the Sorcerery of Old" by an Unknown Author).

Its worse in the Space Quest Companion, where he changed the names of a number of the minor characters or organizations to give them names that followed his sense of humor. For example the Gippezoid Novelty Company was replaced with the Patrician Broadcasting Company, or PBC (a play PBS, Public Broadcasting System). The merchant of Venus, Nelo Jones was given the name Ronko ProPeeler a pun on Ron Popeil, of Ronco fame. The Employee of the Week, is female, when in the game he is male (and gets mad if you assume he is female, this may be part of the joke, since its from Roger's perspective). Fester Blatz's race and heritage is a bit different. He's a 'Hermanoid' rather than a Phleebhutinski, and is apparently not the last of his species. There are apparently plenty of Hermanoids around the galaxy.

If we looked at the novels, King Graham, has blond hair in Kingdom of Sorrow, hah hah (not counting the cover artwork, where its black). The kingdom was pretty peaceful, about 2 years before KQ3, with no sign of the Kingdom's impending doom from the dragon heh heh. The timing of The Floating Castle which covers a time frame of about a year, may not easily fit between KQ4 and KQ5 (since official timelines don't leave much room in that timeframe, less than a year at the most), and certainly not after KQ5. We are also told that Alexander was 18 when he escaped Mannan, rather than 17. We are also told that the kingdom was in possession of the magic mirror for about 200 years (rather than the 500 in KQ1 manual). There is a sentence in Kingdom of Sorrow that would seem to imply that Alexander and Rosella aren't twins. He muses that his son would be about the same age as William if he were around (who had just turned 10), his daughter was seven at the time. Granted 7 is about 10, but its not the best way to word things.

QuoteAs for the whole licensing thing, I am quite sure that Sierra didn't just sell the licensing rights to Peter Spears (or whoever) for them to do as they pleased.  Not when dealing with their flagship franchise.  Business does not and has never worked in that fashion... ever.  I would really like to see those quotes you mention from Ken Williams saying that Sierra sold the licensing rights to King's Quest novellas and the like and didn't maintain creative control over the whole thing.

Here is that quote you wanted to see;
QuoteSierra had nothing to do with the Kings Quest novels, beyond licensing a company the permission to write them. I asked Roberta if she read them, and she says she thinks she did, and that she thought they were ok, not great.
-Ken W, Sierra Gamers 12/8/2003
Ok lets look at other licensed products, Quest for Glory Authorized Guide, and one of the designer's thoughts on the book;
QuoteAnd by the way, mentions of "Devon Aidendale" and Willowsby (or Willowdale or whatever the name was) drive me crazy. Devon was just the name Paula Spiese chose for her QG hero, and she used him in the strategy guide she co-wrote with Lori. Those names have no "official place in the canon", except of course they've been enshrined on Wikipedia because they're part of a published book." "We did not name the hero, nor his starting village, for a reason. We wanted every player to imagine their own hero's background so that the player would really become a part of the story. So it's frustrating when I see other people adopt Paula's fantasy as their own. Still, if that makes the game more fun for you, go with it!"-Corey Cole

So ya, Sierra did offer its licensing out without retaining complete control in some cases. Even some of the material published in-house was not necessarily completely under Roberta or other designers control. For example all evidence points to the King's Questions being put together by another team other than Roberta Williams from what I've been able to dig up. I don't think she had anything to do with Hoyle Book of Games  series (and Graham's Board Game Challenge) either. She always maintained aspects of her story that were alternative to aspects of the King's Quest Companion that were published as well in other published sources. Such as the cosmology of Daventry (in our world vs. another?). I once even asked her during a fan chat back for the release of MOE, about the world, and she even said it happend along time ago in our past (parroting what we have been told in the manuals for most of the series, the KQ6 introduction, and most of the articles she has written).

Seriously instead of speculating who and what was behind the King's Quest Companions and how much "licensing" deal was going on, read the Acknowledgement pages, he spells it out pretty clearly, and what went on with the designer process for his books. Peter Spear wrote as I recall (this was third edition version) mostly acknowledges having talked to Ken Williams (not Roberta Directly) and Jane Jensen, and other assorted Sierra employees. He does thank Roberta for creating the universe though. About the only quote we have on Roberta's opinion of the books (concerning the his version of the universe) is on the cover of the Third Edition (though there was a different review from her on a later reprint of the first edition).

QuoteThe King's Quest Companion is an interesting blend of fiction and helpful information for playing my games. Anyone interested in reading the story behind King's Quest or who just needs to be 'unstuck' while playing the game will find this book invaluable."-1st edition."

"...wonderful blend of fact and fiction that brings my games to life in an exciting, new way. It adds another fascinating dimension to the entire King's Quest experience. It truly is a pleasure to read and a must have for anyone hoping to explore the series in greater depth and detail.-Roberta Williams, 3rd and 4th edition cover

The explanations for Hagatha/Mordack/Manannan primarily appears in the second edition in the An Encyclopedia of Daventry, and a single refrence in the KQV novel that isn't really explained within the story (the latter was reprinted in the 3rd/4th edition). I don't think he ever connected Manannan and Hagatha together in the first edition at all (I think both were treated as separate villains).

That being said, the internal aspects of the games or the manuals weren't always consistent. Setting alternate dates for many of the events, the age of Alexander in KQ3. Was he 17 turning on 18, or 18 (possibly turning on 19), or even 19/20.
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


All of the examples you cited are good examples of what happens when continuity is not maintained and does indeed show that Roberta was surely looking forward rather than looking back.  On that I stand corrected.  It doesn't make sense why she didn't at least establish some kind of continuity... especially when she started implementing the Dramatica Theory method of storytelling.

As far as the licensing goes, Ken's quote is abstract.  It states that Sierra had nothing to do with the novels aside from selling the licensing rights.  It does not say whether or not Sierra retained some kind of creative control over the exact usage of the license.

However, you bring up some good points in regards to what was written in the 1st and 2nd edition of the KQC... not to mention the other companions.  I have only read the third edition ofthe KQC (as that is the edition that I own).  It certainly does raise some pretty big questions as to who was protecting Sierra's interests with the licensing.  I stand by my assesment that someone at Sierra must have signed off on the text prior to publishing, for pretty much the reasons I mentioned.  However, given what you have cited, it's difficult to say it was Roberta, as there is far too much conflict in the source material.  If Roberta did indeed sign off on the texts.... then that would mean she didn't know her own world.

Of course... that may very well be the case anyway.  Erpry over at AGDI got a chance to visit the Coles and talk with them and I believe they told him that Sierra didn't keep design documents for completed games.  Not having access to those design documents would surely have had an impact on continuity... especially if Roberta wasn't able to keep things straight within her own mind.

Perhaps the person who was signing off on the texts prior to publishing wasn't tied to King's Quest?  That would certainly explain the continuity issues that were allowed to be printed...
Chronicling the history of Sierra through the conversion of it's premiere magazine into an easy-to-use, searchable wiki format.


Well, I think its certain that at least Ken Williams signed off on many of the ideas (or gave input). Its stated that he was involved from day one (at least in the 3rd edition). However, that doesn't mean that Roberta had much direct input (Peter Spear doesn't directly aknowledge her, other than thank her for creating the series). We at least know that Jane Jensen was sending him and eluki bes shahar the design documents. Jane Jensen incorporated Derek into the Companion although some of his characteristics are slightly different, as in what he calls the world (earth vs. Daventry).

We also know Lorelei Shannon was a fan, since she incorporated some of the details like Lake Maylie, Merlin's Mirror, Shield of Achille, Chest of Gold, and Alexander being kidnapped during the summer, into some of her documents for the official KQ5/6 Hintbooks. I think she may have also been the designer behind the King's Questions, but I haven't been able to confirm that. That program made some rather obscure references to Second Edition  (and/or First Edition) material, Hagatha as sister, Pegasus, Monastery of the Blessed Wilbury.

Infact there is another program with the King's Quest anniversery collection, Inside the Chest which contains a transcript of an article from an early Sierra News magazine which printed a portion of one of the chapters from the First edition, The Eye Between the Worlds" (the artwork was definitely Second Edition, but the article itself was originally 1st Edition, as I recall), with an additional review. The review was by Lorelei Shannon, IIRC. So ya, she really must have loved it. It may have also been modified to include elements from Second Edition in that chapter (including a reference Mannanan being last seen in Mordack's castle), but I don't remember exactly.

Other than that, who literally 'signed off on it', it could have been some nerdy desk jocky/accountant in marketing for all we know, LOL (starts imagining the cubicals in SQ3  :suffer: :suffer: :suffer:).

Ok, I put this in another thread, but since this thread is about BCS, I thought it should go in here as well, basically Roberta's discussions on the Black Cloak, and if Hagatha was connected or not (which turned out to be "not");

Quote"The "Black Cloak Society" was never an actual term that I instigated or thought up. I'm not actually sure where that came from. The closest thought that I have on that subject is that: when I was working with Jane Jensen on King's Quest 6, and we thought up the evil vizier, we talked loosely about the possibility of putting Mannanan, Mordack, and the vizier together as group -- possibly -- in a future King's Quest. There was loose reference to the possibility in King's Quest 6, although nothing was set in stone at that time. I think that it's possible that Jane Jensen might have mentioned the possibility (perhaps) in subsequent interviews on the subject, although, I'm not sure about that. Later on, I heard about the Black Cloak Society and kind of wondered where that phrase came from, but, I never refuted it as I thought it was kind of cool and, probably, would have gone on with the idea in future King's Quests had I had the chance. And, one final thing: Hagatha was never part in any discussion of a Black Cloak Society.
- Roberta Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)

"I asked Roberta [...], and sorry to admit that she said she didn't remember the Black Cloak Society. It sounds cool. Perhaps she should have taken it more seriously and featured it in other games. With respect to Hagatha [being related to Manannan and Mordack]: Roberta's answer was, "Would you like them to be related?" Then she said, "Nope, Hagatha was her own separate person."
- Ken Williams at SierraGamers (6-9-2003)
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


I like to think BCS is a huge organization, and I think that a number of previous villains were probably members... but I don't think all of them are members.

In my mind...
1) Dahlia, potentially.... but almost certainly not the Sorcerer (who wears brown, not black), he's simply not evil enough.
2) Hagatha, almost certainly. (Of course, I really like the KQ2+ story much more than the original KQ2 because that seems like such a disconnected jumble of fairy tales and inventory puzzles with a very, verrrrrry loose storyline tying them together.) Dracula... they do make an awful big deal about his cloak for him NOT to be a member. The Evil Enchanter, however, certainly not. Again, he's not enough of a villain, y'know?
3) Manannan is definitely a member.
4) Lolotte's plots are very centered on Genesta and Edgar and seem highly personal, so I don't believe she's a member.
5) Mordack we know is a member. The Old Witch is definitely not, again, she simply doesn't strike me as being of the same caliber of villain.
6) Alhazred and Shadrack are definitely members.
7) Malicia's plot, again, is very personal against the Etherian fairies who she perceives to have wronged her.
8) Lucreto's not of the world, I don't think he could be a member. And how would he have even encountered the Black Cloak Society with his whole life being spent in the realm of the sun?
"If your translation is correct, that was 'May a sleepy hippopotamus lie down on your house keys,' but you're not sure. Unfortunately, your fluency in griffin-speak is too low."

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Quote1) Dahlia, potentially.... but almost certainly not the Sorcerer (who wears brown, not black), he's simply not evil enough.
To be fair he originally wore black (kq1 original), and he was the one behind stealing the Magic Mirror, and allowing Edward's wife to die (maybe even the one who made her sick in the first place). So pretty darn evil. He's also possibly the same wizard Graham encounters in Kolyma.
If you want a nice drawing of the old guy.
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


To be fair, all he did in game in the original was paralyze you, after which nothing happened. Although, I believe that in the remake (which was the story Roberta wanted to tell) it's possible for the ogre and other dangers to come along while you are paralyzed.
This is Nifty, Royal Heir.

I'm like, an adult now or something? Sounds fake, but okay.


It was random, you could technically die in the original, but it was rare.
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


Really? I thought that each of the enemies had a set location in the original, when the remake just gave them random locations in spots in the dark forest. Though, if it's rare, I suppose that explains it.
This is Nifty, Royal Heir.

I'm like, an adult now or something? Sounds fake, but okay.


Ya, they have a series of set screens for each character, but some of their screens overlap. So you could be one screen that's either enchanter or the ogre, another that was the enchanter and the wolf, and another the was enchanter and the dwarf.

I can't confirm the latter, two, but I've definitely run into the ogre in this method.

Its also the same way it works in the KQ1 SCI as well. Each has a certain set area on the map where they can appear, with some overlap.
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