Author Topic: Re-inventing the Wheel  (Read 60063 times)

TheReturnofDMD

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Re-inventing the Wheel
« on: August 17, 2010, 01:21:46 AM »
From what I've seen and heard about what the next episodes of TSL have in store (including quotes from Cesar and the rest of the team, about taking TSL in the ''teen fantasy'' direction and exploring the traumas left on Alexander and Rosella, making the characters more like ''real life'') the team's goal is to put a new spin on the KQ series, giving it a darker, more mature quality to appeal to older audiences.
 
But does the KQ series really NEED reinventing (aside from the addition of updated graphics, sound, etc.)? After all, MOE was an attempt to revitalize the series as well, and a lot of KQ fans didn't like it. This wasn't just because of the action-adventure element, but because of how much of a departure from the typically light-hearted tone of the previous games it was.

The first seven KQ games were certainly dark at times, but never as dark as they were in MOE. They were also family-oriented games, so that everyone of all ages could enjoy them. However, members of the TSL team argue that "the story should mature along with the audience", and so have written a story targeted towards older audiences.  However, there are many here who entered King's Quest at a young age--Some even younger than the teenage years--And that was always the intent of King's Quest, to be a family series which people ages 5 to 95 could enjoy.

Wouldn't it be a much safer course of action to follow in the footsteps of the official games and appeal to a much broader range of gamers instead of risking putting off younger ones who might have otherwise become interested in the series as a whole (and even possible future sequels)?

The intended audience was always said to be ''the fans'', yet I've seen quite a few interviews where the team talks about updating the tone of the game and getting rid of some stuff (such as dead ends) to sate modern audiences. So it's also a question of who is the team attempting to please?  You can't please everyone--That's what MoE tried to do and failed (Not enough adventure for adventure game fans; not enough action for action gamers; not enough RPG elements for RPGers--all because of attempt to try and please everyone).

If the project's intended audience is ''the fans''--Those who enjoyed the series, were dissapointed with Mask and wanted something ''closer to home'', than why any need for re-invention, or updating the tone of the game? If anything, the whole reason for this project's existence was the fans' desire for ''more of the same'', rather than a bold new re-invention--Something more traditional as a result of the shock of Mask of Eternity.

The point being: Re-invention is still re-invention. Roberta attempted to re-invent King's Quest by changing the game-play mechanics; TSL seems to be trying re-invent the wheel by changing the tone. Sure, there'll be some light spots as we've been told, but overall, as we've also been told the goal is to create a darker, more mature King's Quest--Both re-inventions of the wheel, albeit with different new designs in mind.

The question is: Why re-invent the wheel?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 02:23:54 AM by TheReturnofDMD »

Offline Baggins

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2010, 01:34:19 AM »
Actually it can be said that each of the games in the KQ series were innovated in some way, and reinvented some aspect of the Adventure game genre as a whole. There were usually a vocal group of "KQ fans" that complained each time in some way (accusing the games of not being "King's Quest" enough).

Point of note MOE wasn't a "failure" as such. It was the best selling KQ game ever actually. Sold more than each previous game in the series. It sold more than Grim Fandango as well. It also had mostly decent ratings at the time. Most were over 70%. Like previous game in the series there were "KQ fans" that loved it, other "KQ fans" that criticized it.

If it had remained like the original games it probably still would have sold well, but still wouldn't have been enough for the bean counters at Sierra though (who weren't looking for a successful adventure game, but something that could compete with more popular genres of the time).

The truth is that adventure games in general just weren't successful anymore, compared to other games out there.

Speaking of 'KQ fans' they are a varied group, there are those that are purists, hate remakes (the reason why Sierra stopped making remakes). Those that dislike the originals for being "too simplistic". Those that prefer the purity of the parser interface over the icon based systems, those that prefer the multi-icon based system over the parser system, those who dislike the single cursor in latter games. Those that only like one or two games out of the series (not the entire series as a whole), etc. Roberta could never please 100% of the people, 100% of the time... KQ6 is probably the only one that came close...
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 01:59:21 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

TheReturnofDMD

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 01:58:58 AM »
Actually it can be said that each of the games in the KQ series were innovated in some way, and reinvented some aspect of the Adventure game genre as a whole. There were usually a vocal group of "KQ fans" that complained each time in some way (accusing the games of not being "King's Quest" enough).

Point of note MOE wasn't a "failure" as such. It was the best selling KQ game ever actually. Sold more than each previous game in the series. It sold more than Grim Fandango as well. It also had mostly decent ratings at the time. Most were over 70%.

If it had remained like the original games it probably still would have sold well, but still wouldn't have been enough for the bean counters at Sierra though (who weren't looking for a successful adventure game, but something that could compete with more popular genres of the time).

The truth is that adventure games in general just weren't successful anymore, compared to other games out there.

They innovated technologically, yes, but there was a stylistic formula, or tone within the games themselves, within the series, that was kept to until Mask of Eternity. The games all had a pretty well defined sense of style, tone, etc--There were certain things which defined King's Quest. Cesar himself has said he deliberately wants to move the game away from fairy tales to making it a "Teen fantasy" story--More like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings than previous King's Quest games. He has also said he deliberately adopted a style apart from Roberta's.

Look at the latest Indiana Jones movie. It drifted very far away from the previous movies in terms of tone, storyline, etc--Was it successful commercially? Yes. But it's come to be regarded as one of the poorer sequels of all time. When you go in with a brand, or under a brand name, or operate in a world created by others, are there not certain expectations?

The only reason this game still isn't called King's Quest IX like it was from 2001 to 2005 is because Vivendi/Activision said it couldn't be called that; The game proclaimed itself to be so until they told they couldn't.

I'm not talking about commercial success--This isn't even an issue at stake here with TSL. I'm talking about success with the fans.

Was MoE the strongest selling? Yes. Yet from a commercial standpoint it still wasn't enough for the ''bean counters'' at Sierra to warrant another King's Quest. And more importantly, what was it's reaction with the fans? What is it's legacy today? Wasn't the whole reason for this project--amongst the fans anyway--to go back to the roots, so to speak? To have something closer to the original games than Mask?

Offline Baggins

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 02:11:47 AM »
We can't judge the entire KQ fandom from one small niche that inhabit a few forums around the web, such as this one. Phoenix is a small dedicated group with their own personal view of what they think King's Quest is or should be. They aren't necessarily the voice of "every fan out there". Its seriously not a scientific statistical analysis, of all the types of fans out there.

I don't think a scientific poll has ever been taken for MOE. By now it would be colored by hindsight, and not necessarily what people's opinion was back when the game original came out.

While its anecdotal, and therefore not scientific, we have evidence from Roberta herself that said that for every "KQ fan" that criticized MOE, she received just as much or more praise from other "KQ fans". Plus she received new praise from "new players". If you want a better idea how it was accepted at the time you truly can only go by the interviews of the time, and the reviews. If your lucky, with the use of Wayback machine you might be able to get into forums of that time, and read posts by players as well. But there is no way to find out scientifically what the ratio to KQ fan who liked MOE to critics were... You'd only be able to get a rough sense through the research.

What people think of the game in hindsight now adays? There are new KQ players tend to really critical of most of the series of King's Quest games, there are old players that lost there sense of "nostalgia" and no longer like earliest games in the series, etc. How much they are in relation to other "fans" who knows. You come across people that refuse to play KQ7 because they don't like its overly childish style. How much of the fans side with each individual game compared to others that dislike each individual game? There hasn't been a scientific poll on the subject... so who really knows.

As for MOE's "tone" that's going to be a matter of individual opinion, although it created a much more developed "mythological" and attempted to portray an "epic", it did maintain quite a few whimsical & fairy tale elements throughout the game as well, each nods back to the kind of material in previous games in the series. Wizard, King Mudge, the Unicorn, the Swamp Wisps, several of the Gnome characters, the Weirdling Tradesmen to a degree, Queen Freesa to a degree, etc. Connor cracked several puns based on the situation he was in during the story, and there is humor (though perhaps darker than usual, and not to everyone's tastes) in pretty much every area of the game including the DoD. I personally imo don't consider it to be too far off King's Quest themes (but in many cases an extension of those themes), in the same way that KQ6 attempted to take various fairy tale elements and make them more serious.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 02:52:55 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 Cez

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2010, 05:26:45 AM »
And then again, you have many fans who say TSL is very true to the King's Quest series, including its creator Roberta Williams herself. Let me say that I was very nervous of what her comments would be given the bleakness of Ep1. But she, as many others, found it to be very true to King's Quest.

We did play it safe by placing the story in the Land of the Green Isles. This story hasn't even started and there are a couple of twists down the line that I have no idea how most fans will take, but we are proud of where we took King's Quest. To us, King's Quest needed some reinventing, whether we did or did not do the correct thing, everyone will judge differently, but at the end of the day, we are very happy and pleased with what we put together. And again, if we got Roberta's approval on it, and many fans approval on it, that's more than we could have ever asked for.

I personally consider "Harry Potter" the fairytale of today's audience. I'm not the biggest fans, but I've appreciated its story. I call it "teen fantasy" but the truth is that it has captivated beyond its intended audience, and that's because that's what today audiences like. We basically decided to take the material of King's Quest VI and figured out what would happen if the story played closer to a "real" story. We wanted to develop these characters, to see them going through these trials and to see them affected by then. That was the choice we made. Personally, it's not that I deliberately chose a style other than Roberta's. If I had, TSL would be something else entirely. I took Roberta's world and gave it my touch in the writing style, because otherwise I wouldn't be honest, and I don't believe in things I do without being honest. I must have that thing that makes me push day after day to get it done, and that thing for me lies in the way the center themes are written. The magic/fantastical/whimsical side of King's Quest is in our game, and it plays as an absolute as the dark story does. But to me, the story, the center story, that which carries the game is the most important aspect of the two, and the fantastical side compliments this story, much like, again, Harry Potter, or in another perfect example, Kingdom Hearts.

Did KQ need to be reinvented? Some will think not. We thought that it needed it. And we went ahead and spent these many years holding true to that vision. Even Josh Mandel, who holds your same position congratulated me in staying true to my vision, and going through all the trouble to make it happen. So, I apologize if you don't like the story, you've made that extremely clear once and again, but TSL is here the way it is and it's not going to change its tone. It'll become brighter, the rest of the episodes are not as bleak in nature as the first one, which set the mood for what's to come, but it does hold its whimsical and goofy tone and balances it with the tone we introduced in Ep1. So there's a bit for everyone.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 05:38:26 AM by Cez »


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Offline Baggins

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2010, 05:45:20 AM »
The thing is its a work of fan fiction if you don't like it you can ignore it, you could create your own sequel if that's what you wanted to do... There are several fans that have written what they interpeted what they felt a sequel would be, or wanted in a sequel. Not everyone is going to agree.

Continuously flogging a "dead" horse by bringing up how much you think this game "doesn't fit" king's quest tone isn't going to change what the game actually is, or what these writers view as "king's quet vision". Seriously though I'm not sure how you can judge the the tone of the game from a 30 minute to hour long episode though...
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

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 07:55:36 AM »

But to me, the story, the center story, that which carries the game is the most important aspect of the two, and the fantastical side compliments this story, much like, again, Harry Potter, or in another perfect example, Kingdom Hearts.

I think Kingdom Hearts is a very good example. I for one can say with honesty that I doubted Kingdom Hearts' formula. I couldn't comprehend how Square Enix (Final Fantasy) could meld with Disney. But after playing the first Kingdom Hearts game, I knew I'd be a Kingdom Hearts fan for life (I'm really psyched for Birth by Sleep). Kingdom Hearts had a "teensy fantasy" tone, but it worked, so anything similar (like TSL's new tone) should not be an oversight.  In fact, Kingdom Hearts has been the only series that has successfully tugged at my heartstrings. The emotional overhaul was overwhelming and caught me off-guard, but I don't regret it by any means. Much like my experience with Kingdom Hearts, TSL should be given a fair shot before being knocked.

So, I apologize if you don't like the story, you've made that extremely clear once and again, but TSL is here the way it is and it's not going to change its tone.

Please, don't apologize to anyone who may be disappointed. There has been so much hard work behind this project, not to mention the obstacles the project has overcome. There's no need to apologize for that hard work. If someone can't share in the same experience, then it'd be there loss.
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Offline KQ5Fan

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2010, 08:47:00 AM »
Just gonna say, KQ2 VGA took a much darker approach than the original KQ2, and that was an excellent game.

KQ5 also dealt with some heavy stuff. Mordack capturing and planning to kill Graham's entire family in revenge for his brother isn't exactly a campy theme. They just dealt with it in a campy sort of spirit, which made it seem less dire than it really was.... which is probably what is being done with this game.

It may not be completely necessary, but it has proven to be an effective method of approaching the series. I know that I would feel a bit childish playing a happy-go-lucky sort of game with no real serious problems. Not to say I wouldn't enjoy it as much (I probably would), but I think the way they're approaching it is just fine.

Even Josh Mandel, who holds your same position congratulated me in staying true to my vision, and going through all the trouble to make it happen.


Josh Mandel played TSL? What'd he think?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 09:02:06 AM by KQ5Fan »

Offline Lambonius

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2010, 09:42:09 AM »

Josh Mandel played TSL? What'd he think?

Anyone, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this was early in the development, and that his commentary didn't stem from actually having played a build of the game.  Actually, though I was not around to experience it personally, I have heard from others that he butted heads a bit with the team over some things--not sure if it was about the directions the story was taking or not, though.  I'm actually really curious to hear what exactly happened with Josh.  Anyone on the team able to fill us in on that?

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2010, 10:00:42 AM »
Also, you really can't judge the story from Episode 1. It's MUCH bigger than that. Yes, it is deeper (and arguably darker), but, having played through the game, I feel that it is very true to the KQ world.

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Offline jackinthebox1138

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2010, 10:39:28 AM »
Ripping off the characters and settings from someone else's IP does not make your game "true" to that world.  If you wanted to do something so original and "true to your vision," you should try creating some original characters, not just riding on the shoulders of someone else's success.  

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2010, 11:02:16 AM »
Ripping off the characters and settings from someone else's IP does not make your game "true" to that world.

Yes, it does.
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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 11:06:54 AM »
But that was never the intent of TSL. The intent is to bring closure to the series - it would be impossible to do that without using the existing characters. Nobody is claiming that this is entirely original. As Cez said, the story is set in the Land of the Green Isles - the setting for what is generally recognized as the favorite KQ game. While the settings and characters come mainly from existing material, the storyline IS original.

There were original characters and locations in the original plan, but unfortunately most of that had to be cut.

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Offline wilco64256

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2010, 11:09:46 AM »
Ripping off the characters and settings from someone else's IP does not make your game "true" to that world.  If you wanted to do something so original and "true to your vision," you should try creating some original characters, not just riding on the shoulders of someone else's success.  

So you should create all new characters and settings in order to remain "true" to an existing series?  That doesn't really make any sense.
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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 11:12:48 AM »
Try not to feed the trolls, folks. :)

"Ripping off", also, is usually used to mean taking someone else's idea, barely covering up what the source material was, and calling it your own. We haven't done that. We've based this game on King's Quest, been quite upfront about it, gotten the permission of the IP holder to do so, are making no money from it, and additionally have worked hard to both maintain what made the old games great while adding something new to it.

Will everyone love it? No. But that's the way of things. We hope people will enjoy it, and we're proud of the work we've done to make it a quality product.

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Offline wilco64256

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 11:14:04 AM »
Try not to feed the trolls, folks.

But they're so CUTE!
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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 11:14:54 AM »
Quote
new...settings in order to remain "true" to an existing series?  That doesn't really make any sense.
The irony of that perspective being that I suppose the official King's Quest games never remained "true" to "existing series" since it always included new settings and new characters in each game. Other than Daventry, and the Royal Family, Cassima, Manannan, and the Old Gnome, the series more or less always created new characters and settings.

I wouldn't even want to try to understand what remaining "true" to the Final Fantasy series happens to be, LOL.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 03:07:41 PM 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

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2010, 11:16:37 AM »
Try not to feed the trolls, folks. :)


But they have to eat eventually.  :P
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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2010, 11:42:51 AM »
Trolls on Parade;
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

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Re: Re-inventing the Wheel
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2010, 12:39:00 PM »
Trolls on Parade;


How did you get the image/outline of the Cave troll? I haven't played KQ4 in a while but all I remember was being able to see the green eyes in the dark and seeing the "GRRRR" text.
 

anything