Replay Games Kickstarter / KQ/SQ/LSL Rights

Bit off topic, but someone from Replay Games mentioned trying to get the rights to King's Quest in their Leisure Suit Larry Kickstarter comments. Also SPACE QUEST!

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Replay Games about 1 hour ago
@Perdition - we're way ahead of you!! Scott is ready to jump on board, we already spoke to him. Mark, however, can't since he works for Foundation 9, a developer / publisher and he would have a "conflict of interest" as he put it. Having said that, however, the last game, Space Quest 6, was all Scott & Josh (no Mark Crowe involvement) so we think we can hold pretty true to the SQ franchise with those two geniuses on board. We're in the middle of negotiating the rights for King's Quest as well as Space Quest & Police Quest too. :) It all depends on the success of this first game, though.....everybody wants to see how much demand is out there.
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Doesn't mean much.. Unless Telltale is passing on the franchise? They ought to jump on that before Replay gets the muppets back together!
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Comments

  • edited April 2012
    I guess.. I would rather see how the LSL game is.. I cant really say I am impressed with what Replay games have to offer right now.. all their games look like cheap mobile games that didn't take much to make.... Right now we have not seen much of the LSL game they have been making.. I did pledge $100 mainly because Al Lowe is involved.... I hope it does well so we eventually get a brand new Larry game.
  • edited April 2012
    Agree, Irishmile. I'm quite leery about taking advantage of PC adventure gamers' love for old franchises and using the funds to make games targeted at the mobile device market. I thought I saw another one that just came out with the same kind of issue.

    I'm not sure I'm thrilled with the idea of Kickstarter for remakes, either. Fan remakes, where you can feel the love and dedication put into them and money is not part of the equation, are far more appealing to me. And I thought the DF project was exciting in large part because it's about new IP created for the purpose; the investment is in the creative people who have proven track records (in adventures as well as gaming more generally) and structural resources for producing for PC/console.

    With King's Quest, I'd have to guess they're talking about remakes there, too. At least I can't imagine Telltale wouldn't have gotten exclusivity for new, original titles. But who knows?

    I was never a Larry fan anyway, so I'll pass on this one. I have to wonder whether he'll have the same appeal today as he did 20 years ago. To me, Freddy Pharkas was Al's best work. :D
  • edited April 2012
    Ooooh I really liked Freddy Pharkas as well...
  • edited April 2012
    I agree it'd be nice to see a new game in the series, rather than and old one.. But Sierra did always have a sort of business-like demeanor that might lead one to think "we ought to re-introduce everyone to the franchise" -- that seems to be the thinking here, which does seem wrong, considering it's fans that will make this happen.

    But... Replay Games does have some strong claim to franchise, being made up of a bunch of Sierra people (regardless of the webgame crap they've made in the interim).. Check out their about page.

    The best I can guess is they ran out of money in making the remake (they posted some comment about venture capital people fleeing after they acquired the LSL rights).. And it's also probably a good idea to run with what ideas they can while the Kickstarter thing is hot. Not the perfect DF-level scenario, but overall a good thing.
  • edited April 2012
    Bit off topic, but someone from Replay Games mentioned trying to get the rights to King's Quest in their Leisure Suit Larry Kickstarter comments. Also SPACE QUEST!

    THAT I would totally back. I have no interest in Leisure Suit Larry, however.
    Doesn't mean much.. Unless Telltale is passing on the franchise? They ought to jump on that before Replay gets the muppets back together!

    Telltale doesn't have the rights to King's Quest. They don't need to give them up. They only have a license to use it. ActiVision can give the licenses to whoever they want. At once.
    My biggest issue on the LSL Kickstarter thing is that Replay Games were ALREADY working on the LSL remakes. They had even announced, last Fall, that they were remaking the whole series in HD.

    And now that they see the Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2, and Takedown project succeed, they decide to launch a Kickstarter for LSL???

    Yeah, right.

    Asking people to fund a project you were developing anyway, really, Al?

    That's a really narrow-minded point of view. They mentioned that nobody wanted to back their LSL project so they couldn't continue. Kickstarter was the only viable alternative to get it done.
  • edited April 2012
    Telltale doesn't have the rights to King's Quest. They don't need to give them up. They only have a license to use it. ActiVision can give the licenses to whoever they want. At once.

    That depends on how TTG's licensing contract was written. Licensing very often involves some kind of exclusivity. Game developers generally wouldn't want to pay to license a property if the rightsholder could grant licenses to others who would put out competing products. Unless you have some cold, hard facts about the contract provisions, I have to suspect that Telltale does indeed have exclusive rights to make KQ games, at least new ones; remakes might be excepted.
    That's a really narrow-minded point of view. They mentioned that nobody wanted to back their LSL project so they couldn't continue. Kickstarter was the only viable alternative to get it done.

    I think it begs the question, though, why did they announce a game before they had concrete plans and funding to make it? And now they're talking, speculatively, about other projects for which they don't even have rights! That borders on slimy AFAIC. I'm sorry, but this Replay company has utterly failed to gain my respect or confidence.
  • edited April 2012
    n/m
  • edited April 2012
    I would have thought that the rights for Sierra's games would be with Activision Blizzard given the acquisition history of the company.
  • edited April 2012
    They are...what's your point?
  • edited April 2012
    Actually depend on the series, Activision sold some of them off. But they weren't clear on which ones.

    LSL apparently changed hands, possibly before Activision.

    Gold Rush changed hands. Probably before Activision.

    The Realm changed hands before Activision.

    No one knows the situation for Quest for Glory...
  • edited April 2012
    Quest for Glory? Is that still going?
  • edited April 2012
    Why would it still be going?

    It's another essentially dead IP from the glory days of Sierra...

    I'm not sure if its seen a rerelease in years... Not even under Vivendi... No one knows if the rights were kept or sold off to other parties... Maybe the Coles retain some of the copyrights, as they have used elements from the games on their School for Heroes (including use of some of the characters, races, places, from the games, but sometimes radically reimagined), which is copyrighted to Transolar Entertainment. But apparently do not have rights to the games themselves... School of Heroes website is currently closed for renovation, and there is a promise of a text based adventure/rpg? game version in the future maybe by 2013. Sounds like a MUD type thing... They are also working on a classic adventure apparently, but haven't released any names or information on it yet.

    They were also at one point going to attempt to release a series of novels based on the Quest for Glory series as well, but that fell through.

    This may be an issue of copyright limbo, where two parties share the copyrights, and its unclear who has rights to what.

    See also;
    http://www.destructoid.com/quest-for-glory-developers-only-approached-once-for-a-remake-135372.phtml
  • edited April 2012
    Speaking of resurrecting Sierra IPs and such, Jane Jensen has a new studio and kickstarter as of today as well :)

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005365109/jane-jensens-pinkerton-road-2012-2013-csg

    And she's said she's definitely interested in doing GK4 at some point (albeit it won't be one of the studio's first releases).
  • edited April 2012
    this may be the only chance Sierra gets -- and I'll put my faith in Al Lowe / Josh Mandel / Paul Trowe / Scott Murphy to eventually become the best possible custodians of these games... even if it looks thrown together right now.

    See, this is exactly why I made the criticism I did about the Replay quote in your opening post -- they're leaving people with the implication that this is the resurrection of Sierra. I'm skeptical that there's any truth in the statement that they're "in the middle of negotiations" for KQ etc. and the info on the Kickstarter page now seems to imply otherwise. Even if they have such ambitions, they have no business talking about licenses they don't have.

    I feel really bad for Larry fans that they didn't keep the focus there. The video was good but I think Lowe should get out in front on this, give the impression that his vision and initiative are driving it, and share a little more about what remake/reload/re-imagining of LSL1 really means.
    KatieHal wrote: »
    Speaking of resurrecting Sierra IPs and such, Jane Jensen has a new studio and kickstarter as of today as well :)

    Interesting ideas and well presented. I hope she and the studio are successful.
  • edited April 2012
    BagginsKQ wrote: »
    Why would it still be going?

    It's another essentially dead IP from the glory days of Sierra...

    I'm not sure if its seen a rerelease in years... Not even under Vivendi... No one knows if the rights were kept or sold off to other parties...

    ...

    This may be an issue of copyright limbo, where two parties share the copyrights, and its unclear who has rights to what.
    On the bright side, if absolutely nothing is done with the trademark for a certain amount of time (not the case for KQ, SQ etc. as they have seen releases on Steam + GoG), then I think the trademark lapses and could be reclaimed by the original creators. Then again, I'm not a lawyer so I could be wrong.
  • edited April 2012
    Trademark is not the same thing as copyright. Copyrights are sustained for a long time in most places and then ownership doesn't "revert" to anyone; it goes into the public domain. Original creators as I think you meant it have no legal standing. If they created the work while employed by or under contract to some other entity, that entity owns the IP and the individuals that actually developed it have no claims on it.
  • edited April 2012
    Ya, you have things where the company is doing something with the IP, still earliest manifestations of that IP ultimately go into the public domain... See early 1930's Superman tv shows and cartoons as an example.

    Sometimes big companies (see 'empires') like Disney fight to retain control (through special case laws and extensions), see Steamboat Willie...

    It takes something like the life of the creator + 70 years for something to go into public domain in general (assuming the creator has rights to his own works)... But companies have gotten around that under certain cases...

    There were times in the past when people didn't properly register their copyrights and things ended up in public domain... See Night of the Living Dead... But thanks to Disney's rabid band of lawyers, changing the laws, and making it easier for creators to protect their works and dispute things (but probably only if they have the money to do it :p)...
  • edited April 2012
    thom-22 wrote: »
    Trademark is not the same thing as copyright. Copyrights are sustained for a long time in most places and then ownership doesn't "revert" to anyone; it goes into the public domain. Original creators as I think you meant it have no legal standing. If they created the work while employed by or under contract to some other entity, that entity owns the IP and the individuals that actually developed it have no claims on it.

    I'm aware of the difference between trademark and copyright. It's a bit complicated. What I'm saying is that the name "Quest for Glory" could be obtained and become usable again even if the copyrights on the games themselves did not expire. See: Why Brian Fargo can make a sequel to Bard's Tale, and now Wasteland via Kickstarter (EA never used the names), but cannot release the original Wasteland as incentive (EA owns it). I'm not saying it's *likely*, but due to the differences between trademark and copyright -- you can't copyright an idea, individual words, a title, etc.; trademarks must be used and defended unlike copyrights -- it is possible to have a spiritual sequel as long as it doesn't use content from previous games (a bit of a bummer I suppose).
  • edited April 2012
    Irishmile wrote: »
    Ooooh I really liked Freddy Pharkas as well...
    I did not.
  • edited April 2012
    KuroShiro wrote: »
    (a bit of a bummer I suppose).

    Only if you intend to mess around with the established continuity or take liberties, voluntarily or not, with the execution. If you can and do imitate the tone, atmosphere, writing and graphical style, type of humor, of gameplay, of puzzles, and in true Sierra fashion, set your game in new locations, with new characters and villains, you don't care what your game is called, with just a bit of targeted promotion your game will find its intended audience, you may even make money out of it.

    The problem is most people cannot resist revisiting old stuff, tweak something they didn't like, leave their mark in their game or miss the subtleties of the originals.

    King's Quest wouldn't be any less fun if it featured a new knight, king, queen, prince or princess every new chapters if the tone and style remained the same. Police Quest needs neither Sonny Bond nor Lytton like Police Quest IV and Blue Force proved. Space Quest and Quest For Glory you could even get away with them being sequels without the title, since the main characters are generic blonde, change uniforms every games and both series allowed the players to enter their names.

    There's really an untapped market for Sierra commercial spiritual sequel for anyone, any team skilled, determined and willing to aim for perfect imitation, perfect faithfulness to the original games and interested in making a living out of it.
  • edited April 2012
    Police Quest IV wasn't very 'police questy' imo... It lost the sense of humor... Felt completely different, much darker and depraved... The characters aren't really rememberable (usually you see them as pixellatede blurry masses). It might as well been a new game series altogether...

    Police Quest 5 and 6 then switched genres even!
    Space Quest and Quest For Glory you could even get away with them being sequels without the title, since the main characters are generic blonde, change uniforms every games and both series allowed the players to enter their names.

    Only in the first two AGI versions of SQ... The remake of SQ took away the character name creation option.

    A good example of spiritual sequel is the comparison between System Shock and Bio Shock series.
  • edited April 2012
    Police Quest IV was visually awful, dark and edgy in a bad kind of way, crazy anal when it came to following procedures and filling in paperworks, and I certainly preferred the traffic/police officer day to day job aspect of the first games over the clues collection and witness interrogation, but it didn't feature Lytton or Sonny. I'm not saying it was a good game, but it was still a Police Quest game. Police Quest is about following police procedure to the letter, it doesn't really matter whether your character's named Sonny Bond, John Carey or Jake Ryan.
    Space Quest and Quest For Glory you could even get away with them being sequels without the title, since the main characters are generic blonde, change uniforms every games and both series allowed the players to enter their names.

    Only in the first two AGI versions of SQ... The remake of SQ took away the character name creation option.

    I know, and the beauty of it is you can play it "we were so faithful we brought back this aspect from the old games", and you know full well what any fans of Space Quest will name their generic blonde haired space janitor after, and you're not infringing on anyone's trademarks and copyrights.

    Really, the main difficulty is staying away from Monolith Burger, Starcon and Vohaul, away from Erana, Ad Avis, Liontaurs, Kattas, Spielburg, Shapeir and Mordavia, away from Sonny, Lytton, Daventry, the Green Isles... while understanding all the subtleties of the originals and remaining faithful to their style. But if you can do that, and we know just how huge the fanbase for remakes and fangames is, how many download they gather, you could earn a living out of making the games that you like to make and you like to play.

    Remakes would still be a financial dead end for indie adventure games designers, but "non copyright and trademark infringing spiritual sequels" fangames would not. And we know the lack of financial reward tend to be a killer when it comes to these type of games. When you can ask for donation, create kickstarters, quit your day job after a couple of success under your belt and work on these games full time, things are very different.

    Man look at the time, I should have tried to catch some sleep an hour ago.
  • edited April 2012
    We've had remakes already...Why not sequels?
  • edited April 2012
    Well in their kickstarter page it says they would like to do new Larry game but Codemaster ( who own the rights ) wants to first see if there is any interest for Larry and they want replay games to prove themself first with a remake. Also the thing about them being in production of Larry and just jumping in on Kickstarter for more money is a lie.

    Well more info on all this for those interested is here. Also some nice Stories about Sierra days

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=d5zom_UtgRE
  • edited April 2012
    Asking the creator of Leisure Suit Larry to "prove himself" before "granting" him the rights to his own series = EPIC FUCKING FAIL.
  • edited April 2012
    Doesn't sound like they're talking about making Al Lowe prove himself, but the studio Replay Games.
  • edited April 2012
    It's not about asking Al Lowe to prove he can design games. It's about asking Replay whether they can deliver and support a game on multiple platforms and generate a profit from the Larry franchise. It's a legitimate question.
  • edited April 2012
    We've had remakes already...Why not sequels?

    Well for one thing remakes are WAY cheaper to make because pretty much all of the writing and general game design is already done. Unless you add/change lines or add some new locations you're basically starting right off the bat with a complete game design to work on. That saves a TON of work in the development cycle.
  • edited April 2012
    thom-22 wrote: »
    It's not about asking Al Lowe to prove he can design games. It's about asking Replay whether they can deliver and support a game on multiple platforms and generate a profit from the Larry franchise. It's a legitimate question.

    Indeed. While I am a pledger, it's still a valid question to ask: can they really deliver quality product. The game might end up sucking big time and tarnish the rest of the fame Larry had after Lovage trumped it to the ground.

    Only thing I can do is to hope, as Replay has a lot hanging from this. If they fail the company will most likely fail as well.
  • edited April 2012
    its all going to depend on the amount of money they get.. they have all the right elements needed to make a great game.. They have Al and Josh to write, and they have some pretty decent artists and background artists.. But all that will go to waste if they do not have the money to actually make the game.
  • edited April 2012
    wilco64256 wrote: »
    Well for one thing remakes are WAY cheaper to make because pretty much all of the writing and general game design is already done. Unless you add/change lines or add some new locations you're basically starting right off the bat with a complete game design to work on. That saves a TON of work in the development cycle.

    But this is a remake of a game that already got a remake.
  • edited April 2012
    Yeah, and basically its a test to prove that a decent Larry game can be made by this team - if this leads them to making a new Larry game, I'm cool with it. If the donors donate $500,000 and it happens, I'm all for it. Hey, it's the donors money. They can give it if they want to - and hopefully replay does a good job with it. Personally, I think they will.


    Bt
  • edited April 2012
    But this is a remake of a game that already got a remake.

    True.. but the remake itself is already 21 years old, and didn't have voice.
  • edited April 2012
    Irishmile wrote: »
    its all going to depend on the amount of money they get.. they have all the right elements needed to make a great game.. They have Al and Josh to write, and they have some pretty decent artists and background artists.
    Sure they have the right people to make a great Larry game, but do they have all the elements to make a successful product? Management that can stay within time and budget? Programmers and build engineers? Are they investing in a portable engine to benefit from economy of scale for subsequent games? How about support? You know, there's no tech support section on the Replay website...

    In fact it's hard to tell from the site what exactly Replay does. They claim to be a publisher and developer, yet a good number of the games they show under "our games" were developed and released before Replay was even founded. Which of those games did Replay actually design and code? According to the App Store database, they've only published one iOS game but it's not clear that the individual who actually developed it did so under the auspices of Replay; it seems to have been a student project.
    wilco64256 wrote: »
    Well for one thing remakes are WAY cheaper to make because pretty much all of the writing and general game design is already done. Unless you add/change lines or add some new locations you're basically starting right off the bat with a complete game design to work on. That saves a TON of work in the development cycle.

    Except this is Larry 1 Reloaded, they talk about additional locations and re-writing and they are going to have additional expenses for a game this old, especially voice work, beyond a straight-up remake. Theoretically a quick remake, being cheaper, is a good way to start generating income to finance more ambitious projects, eg. all-new sequels. I kind of thought that's what was going on when they initially announced this last year. But now it's a project unto itself, probably not the one most Larry fans want, yet they're now being asked to fund it. I'm not real keen on the idea of using Kickstarter to capitalize a company.

    I wonder why they didn't (or couldn't) do a quick remake of Love for Sail, which already has nice graphics and voice, updated for all the modern platforms and start bringing in money and testing the waters that way. Not to mention it was a pretty good game IMO, entertaining and fun to play. My memory is hazy but it doesn't seem like it would be too outdated.
  • edited April 2012
    I think Al Lowe said that most of the art stuff Sierra did for games is lost. Some of it is can be found, but for a complete game you have to do a lot of stuff from scratch.

    I think they chose not to do Love for Sail, as it has a lot of pretty nice cinematics, which could be expensive to reproduce in high resolution. And as it has a lot of talking characters the voice budget could rise high.
  • edited April 2012
    Anyone realize that the closest thing that LSL1 HD remake is similar to is Sierra's only successfull remake franchise...;

    Mixed-Up series, specifically Mixed-Up Mother Goose, which went through four versions, (3 remakes)... AGI, enhanced EGA, VGA (with CD audio), and finally SVGA...

    Mixed-Up Mother Goose (AGI)

    Mixed-Up Mother Goose Enhanced (SCIEGA)

    Mixed-Up Mother Goose Multimedia (SCIVGA)

    Mixed-Up Mother Goose Deluxe (SCISVGA)

    I wouldn't have been surprised if Sierra could have gotten remakes in general to be successful, that they might have taken the same route with many of their most popular series... But alas, history took a different route...
  • edited April 2012
    I had no idea there's Deluxe verison out of Mother Goose. I got the EGA and VGA versions ages ago in Roberta Williams Anthology set.
  • edited April 2012
    Roberta Williams Anthology has the AGI EGA version...

    I'm not sure if the EGA enhanced version was ever released in any collection.

    The Deluxe version was rereleased in the King's Quest Collection II, a bit after the release of teh Roberta Williams collection.
  • edited April 2012
    Anyone else is wondering if the crazy fragmentation of Sierra communities compared to LucasArts communities could be a problem to the success of Sierra related Kickstarters?

    The mood and humor between LucasArts adventure games are so similar, if you like one game, you have good chances of liking them all. There's also Mixnmojo and LucasForums which act like a hub for all things LucasArts and ex-LucasArts employees related things and cultivate a sense of unity among LucasArts fans.

    By contrast, Sierra games and series are vastly different in mood, tones and kind of humor, Leisure Suit Larry is simply not the same as King's Quest or Gabriel Knight, and these differences subsist even when you delve deeper in a subgenre, fans of King's Quest are not automatically fans of Quest For Glory or Conquests.

    And as a result, we don't have a Sierra equivalent of Mixnmojo and LucasForums, although we haven't been lacking new material to cover in the last couple of years, with various releases and announcements of fangames and remakes, to fan made Let's Play, retrospective and interviews with Sierra designers, to Telltale's King's Quest revival and veterans getting out of retirement. Instead all the information is spread across many websites and forums, each dedicated to a specific series, fan project or aspect of Sierra.

    And now we have this situation where any LucasArts related Kickstarter will interest all LucasArts fans, but Sierra Kickstarters will interest only a specific subset of fans among all Sierra fans. And if the future of Sierra depends on crowd funding, we might face a problem one day. I have no doubt Al and Jane will meet their goal, but I don't expect the same kind of overfunding we've witnessed with Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 or Shadowrun Returns. And Kickstarters for lesser known series and designers will have a much harder time meeting their goals.
  • edited April 2012
    blueskirt wrote: »
    And as a result, we don't have a Sierra equivalent of Mixnmojo and LucasForums

    I beg to differ. They may not be well populated (although they have seen an increase in visitation as of late!), but the Sierra Forums Gateway connects a myriad of different Sierra forums together. And various websites act as the main hub for Sierra news for each game series (SpaceQuest.Net, etc). Also, the Mixnmojo forums aren't that well populated either.

    Because there are so many different types of games it doesn't really make sense to have one giant one for all of them anyway. The gateway is the closest thing. The Sierra Help Pages more or less acts as the "hub", though, since it's about all of the series.
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