With Roberta and Ken Williams returning to the world of video game development, you might be tempted to wonder if the couple would ever return to making King's Quest, the classic adventure series that helped put them firmly on the map.
Well, as revealed in our recent interview with the industry icons, it seems that Activision (the current rights holders) actually offered the couple the chance to work on a new entry in the series, but Roberta and Ken turned down the opportunity in order to work on their reimagining of Colossal Cave instead.
Speaking about the decision to reimagine Colossal Cave, the game that inspired the pair to start Sierra in the first place, Roberta told us:
"It kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? You could say, ‘Well, you could do King’s Quest 9’, except we don’t own King’s Quest. We sold it. It’s gone and we don’t have the rights. Although, you know, Activision has told us if we ever wanted to do that, we could do that, but it’s not the same.
"That’s not me and Ken doing it. That’s like for them. And what that means is if you did something like that with Activision I would be answering to a very large corporation and they would be telling me, ‘No, you have to do it like this. We want you to do it like that. We want it this way, this way, that way.’ And they would have given me a team of people that worked for Activision, overlooking everything that Ken and I do, and I never work [well] that way, because of my experience."
Looking back at the history of the King's Quest series, it's easy to understand why the couple might be reluctant to throw their feathered cap back into the ring. Roberta's last game prior to leaving the industry in 1998 was King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity, a title that saw the legendary creator lose control of the project and constantly be undermined by Sierra's new leadership (under CUC). Then in 2014, Activision decided to resurrect the Sierra brand and King's Quest, with the help of The Odd Gentlemen. This was an exciting project that started off strong before eventually losing momentum after the giant publisher shifted focus.
It seems smart, therefore, for Ken and Roberta to try something different, at least for now, and not be beholden to the whims of a much larger company. You can watch the trailer for Colossal Cave below: