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KQ7 isn't really a "Roberta" game....

posted by Anakin Skywalker on - last edited - Viewed by 7.5K users
If you read through the credits of KQ7, you'll find Robera was barely involved in the game. The credits are rewritten here in the order they are in the booklet:

Designed by:
Lorelei Shannon
Roberta Williams

Written by:
Lorelei Shannon

Directed by:
Andy Hoyos
Lorelei Shannon
Roberta Williams

Mark Seibert

Voice Director:
Lorelei Shannon
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  • Not complete credits (but more detailed);

    Designed by Lorelei Shannon, Roberta Williams

    Co-designer Lorelei Shannon[5]

    Script[6] Written by Lorelei Shannon

    Story by Lorelei Shannon, Roberta Williams[7]

    Based on original characters created by Roberta Williams[8]

    Directors Andy Hoyos, Lorelei Shannon, Roberta Williams

    Producer Mark Seibert

    Art Director Andy Hoyos

    Director of Animation Marc Hudgins

    Lead Programmers Oliver Brelsford, Tom DeSalvo

    Musicians Neal Grandstaf, Dan Kehler, Mark Seibert, Jay Usher

    Voice Director (Voice Casting and Direction) Lorelei Shannon

    Character Designs Marc Hudgins

    Quality Assurance Lead Dan Woolard

    In-House Animation - Chapter 6 Steven Gregory, Sherry Wheeler, Jason Zayas

    5.↑ KQ7 Hintbook pg 1
    6.↑ in-game credits
    7.↑ in-game credits
    8.↑ in-game credits
  • Right. Barely involved at all. Just lead design, director, and story credits. No biggie. :rolleyes:
  • Lambonius wrote: »
    Right. Barely involved at all. Just lead design, director, and story credits. No biggie. :rolleyes:

    If she was the lead designer, why was she credited lower than Shannon? Why was she credited last on the list of directors?

    Why is Shannon solely listed as writer in the booklet?

    That says to me she was barely involved beyond basic ideas and general direction.

    I mean, George Lucas is credited as writing the story of Empire Strikes Back...But does anyone really say that Empire was Lucas' baby?

    One shouldn't attribute KQ6's greatness to Roberta's lack of involvement, and then damn Roberta for KQ7, if her involvement in both entries was about equal.
  • If she was the lead designer, why was she credited lower than Shannon? Why was she credited last on the list of directors?

    Dude--you're really tempting a facepalm here. All the credits are listed alphabetically by last name.
  • Lorelei really did design the game, though. I remember Josh Mandel talking about it. They were still using Sierra's "star" system, or something as Josh calls it. Josh designed LB2, KQ1SCI, and Freddy Pharkas, but those credits go instead to Roberta, Roberta again, and Al Lowe. Now that doesn't mean they were uninvolved or had no say, but I doubt it was as much as Sierra let on.
  • This is really the only credit that's kinda strange;

    "Based on original characters created by Roberta Williams".

    The rest of the credits more or less follow similar format of all previous KQ (though they are not always in 'alphabetical'), and KQ8.

    From KQ8 (not the whole credits);

    Designer Roberta Williams

    Writer Roberta Williams

    Mark Seibert

    Voice Director Roberta Williams Mark Seibert

    Voice Casting Roberta Williams Mark Seibert

    Documentation Mark Seibert Cheryl Sweeney Roberta Williams
    Lorelei really did design the game, though. I remember Josh Mandel talking about it. They were still using Sierra's "star" system, or something as Josh calls it. Josh designed LB2, KQ1SCI, and Freddy Pharkas, but those credits go instead to Roberta, Roberta again, and Al Lowe. Now that doesn't mean they were uninvolved or had no say, but I doubt it was as much as Sierra let on.

    As I understand it at least with KQ2SCI, Roberta was very busy on KQ5 at the time, and left Josh Mandel to pretty much do what his own will on the KQ1 remake. He did have to go back and show her his changes, and she was given final approval. For instance, he put in a funny death animation for Edward, and was going to have Graham put the mirror up in the slot on the wall, she didn't like it, and had it removed.
    Josh Mandel started at Sierra On-Line in 1990 as an Assistant Producer, his first project being the SCI remake of King's Quest I.
    I worked on King's Quest I -SCI, the remake done in 1990. It was my very first project when I came to Sierra; the game had been languishing for awhile because Roberta was so heavily involved with King's Quest V, which was in progress at the same time. While I was officially titled "Producer," Roberta let me get more hands-on: I rewrote most of the actual game text, added a lot of new responses, and slightly altered some of the puzzles. The original game, groundbreaking as it was, was somewhat terse and brief. I tried to make it more fairytale-ish in its prose, so it would fit in better with the much more detailed King's Quest IV and King's Quest V.

    Towards the end of the making of King's Quest I -SCI, we had re-orchestrated the final scene in which King Edward dies and King Graham assumes the throne. (The original was a little crude in this area: King Edward would fall over and King Graham would step on him as he walked up to the throne.) We used the same throne room as in King's Quest IV, but the Magic Mirror (one of the three treasures you find during the game) was sitting by the throne rather than in its usual place on the wall, where it figured prominently in King's Quest IV. So I wrote this bit where, as King Edward dies, he says, "I think the Magic Mirror would look best over on that wall" and then points to the wall, sighs, and dies. After Roberta played it, she gently asked if we could change that scene, since she didn't think King Edward would be giving interior decorating tips with his dying breath. I was bummed to have to take it out, but the way Roberta asked was pretty funny. Maybe you had to be there.
    -Josh Mandel.

    As a point of trivia, the death of Edward was a bit more exaggerated in KQ1 for the PCJr, than it was in later AGI versions. Apparently he twirls about before dieing. They toned it down removing the twirling in later versions.
  • One shouldn't attribute KQ6's greatness to Roberta's lack of involvement

    Roberta was pretty involved in KQ6. There was maybe two months where she was gone on a trip to Europe, and didn't do much at all...

    Ya, Jane Jensen can be credited for much of the tone, mood, darkness of KQ6 in Roberta's own words. But Jane Jensen more or less still 'assisted' Roberta Williams according to Sierra in the overall game production.

    It took 14 months to make the game. So Roberta was involved on it about 12 out of 14 months.
    This quest seems to have a darker, more ominous tone than the other King’s Quests; it is also more wordy. Is there a reason?

    I was thinking that same thing the other day, but I don’t believe we made it intentionally ominous. It just turned out that way.

    The reason it’s more wordy is that I didn’t write the text. This is the first time I have had a collaborator. Jane Jensen wrote all the script, and we worked on the story line and character together. We spent a month working together before Ken and I left on a two-month vacation to France.

    Jane has a different style than I do, and maybe she is more text oriented. Even her design documents were four times as thick as mine usually are - her fingers just fly on a word processor.
    Continuing in a long tradition, Jane Jensen, who would go on to design the industry bestselling Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, assisted Roberta Williams in game design of this epic.
  • There is an interview with Roberta Williams from the Lorelei Shannon, the KQ7 co-designer in the KQ7 hintbook;
    So the project was finally winding clown (at least in the design phase). I invited Roberta out to lunch to talk about the seventh King's Quest game. We were relaxing over pasta and iced lattes, talking about dogs and kids, movies, books and games. We caught up on our chatting (which we're wont to do whenever we get together—just ask Ken), and then it was time to get to work. I pulled out my handy-dandy pocket tape recorder and plunked it on the table. Roberta leaned back in her chair, smiling up at the (rarely) blue Seattle sky as I asked her the first question.

    Lorelei: I can't believe the King's Quest series is up to seven! We've come a long way since Quest for the Crown. How would you say this King's Quest is different from the KQs that have come before it?

    Roberta: This King's Quest has very different animation. I would call it feature-film style, which is a different thing for King's Quest. It also features two protagonists, which is different and unique for the series. Both of them happen to be female, winch I think is an interesting twist. I think having female protagonists added a softer, more whimsical approach to the game.

    Lorelei: Less bashing and more thinking?

    Roberta: Yeah. Less of the macho element. But I think players will find the puzzles just as challenging and fun. Let's see, how else is it different? Well, it's written in chapters, which you can play in any order. You can skip around, like a book. Although King's Quest VII has a continuous storyline, each chapter is complete in and of itself. They're almost like little mini-games within the larger game. You also alternate characters with the chapters: You're Valanice, then Rosetta, then Valanice, and so on. Of course, they do come together at the end...

    Lorelei: So it's more conducive to people's active lifestyles. They're not faced with a huge, endless-looking game; they can actually see goals, and gauge their progress tIi rough the chapters.

    Roberta: Yes. Absolutely. But It's still a complete, rich storyline, and a long, satisfying game. The story is more compelling than previous King's Quests, and the art is more like an animated feature film than what people think of as "computer art". I think this one will be a hit in the mass market.

    Lorelei: One thing that people always seem to notice about King's Quest is that you put a lot of yourself into the game; plenty of fun and humor. What is your favorite part of the game design process?

    Roberta: Hmm. I think my favorite part is coining up with the story at the beginning. You know, thinking about what is this story, who is the character, what are they going to do. It's almost like playing a game yourself. Sometimes when you start, you don't know how the design is going to end. It's kind of a weird, vicarious way of playing your own game before anybody else does. (laughs) In fact, after writing these games. I find it anticlimactic to play someone else's adventure game. I'd rather be designing!

    Lorelei: Do you have a favorite part of King's Quest VII?

    Roberta: Give me a minute. I've been so immersed in Phantasmagoria!* (laughs) Oh, gosh. I think the Troll Underground is so much fun. I like all the trolls; they have a lot of personality. I also like Ooga Rooga a lot.

    Lorelei: That's my favorite part.

    Roberta: (laughs) That figures. I don't know. Maybe I just like the more sinister aspects of the game...

    Lorelei: Do I sense a little Phantasmagoria creeping in here?

    Roberta: That's what it is! Maybe I just got saturated with Phautastnagoria and I can't get it out of my head. (laughs) Anyway, those two areas seem to have a little more humor, and they're a little more tongue-in-cheek and quirky than the rest of the game.
    *Footnote: In case you haven't heard, rhautaNmagoria is Roberta's new adult horror game. With a 3-D rendered environment, live videotaped actors, and an ultra-spooky storyline, it's sure to make your hair stand on end and your skin crawl right off your bad!

    Lorelei: What do you think is the hardest part of game design?

    Roberta: Probably coming up with the proper interface. That's the hardest part. The stories aren't that tough to come up with.

    Lorelei: That's the good part.

    Roberta: Yup. I would say the toughest things to deal with are the interface and the technical aspects of how you want the game to work. I'm not a technical person by any means, but I have enough of an understanding to know what I can and can't do on the machine. I put lot of thought into that before I start working on a game. There's a certain visionary aspect to that. If you're thinking about a game to be released two years front now, you have to take into account what the technological advances will be.

    Lorelei: Do you ever have ideas that are just beyond the ability of the computer to execute?

    Roberta: All the time. That's one reason some of my games are ahead of their Hine. I like to push the envelope. My ideas are bigger than reality, for the most part. I always have to take it down a little bit. Of course, I'm in a unique position there. It helps to be a co-founder of Sierra, and to be married to the company's president, Ken Williams.

    Lorelei: So you work with Ken during the design process when you're trying to figure out if you can actually do something on the computer?

    Roberta: Oh yeah. A lot of people don't realize this, but Ken was a programmer before he was a president of a company, and he was actually an extremely good programmer. lie's worked with compiler development, language development, artificial intelligence, lots of things. There are probably very few people in the computer industry that are better than Ken in the areas of programming and technology. It's just that he doesn't get much time to do that any more.

    Lorelei: Do you think he misses it?

    Roberta: I know he does. We talk about "One of those days when we're retired, what will we do?" I talk about maybe writing books, he talks about going back to programming. He really loves it. I'm very lucky I can talk to Ken about these ideas.

    Lorelei: Are you planning on doing King's Quest VIII?

    Roberta: (grins) That's what they tell me.

    Lorelei: That's great. What do you see in the future for King's Quest?

    Roberta: Boy. At this point in time, I already have two games in my head, and I really don't want to think about a third! The possibilities are endless.

    Lorelei: It'll just have to be a surprise.

    Roberta: Sure will! (laughs)

    So what was it like to work with Roberta? Well, it really wasn't bad. other than the occasional severe beatings she gave me, and the cattle prod she keeps in her desk. MADE YOU LOOK! I'm just kidding. It was terrific. Roberta is a delightful, creative and intelligent person. There's no such thing as impossible when you're working with her. She has a wonderfully infectious laugh, just like a little girl. Sometimes when we were jamming on ideas, coming up with every possible solution we could think of for a puzzle, we'd get really silly and just crack each other up. We'd be there with our heads on the table giggling wildly, and Ken would come in and roll his eyes at us and say "Don't you have WORK to do?" That would only make us giggle harder. let me tell you a secret. That's where great ideas come from—fun. The more you laugh and open your eyes and enjoy the world, the more your mind will open and ideas will flow. Don't get me wrong. Designing King's Quest VII was hard work. Sometimes it was stay-up-all-night-and-drink-coffee-til-your-eyes-bug hard work. But it was always fun, because Roberta made it fun. When you play, I think you'll feel it.
  • Oh, a character cut from KQ7 :(... Meet Jack O' Lantern by Andy Hoyos.


    Some other cut material;

    A mushroom house? Village?


    The Woods would have been larger, including a Ash Tree, a Dryad (maybe modified into Ceres?), Bacchus' Grove (grape arbor), it may have been possible to get lost in the woods as well, as they would have apparently repeated.


    The Troll Underground contained an additional area off from the mine shaft, that would have included a place called the Fire Town, and that was inhabited by the Flame Folk. Beyond it lie a fire flower guarded by a Smoke Beast (perhaps inspiration for the Shadow Beast in KQ8).


    After Valanice's arrest, the moon was not taken from her, and shooting the moon back into the sky does nothing at all to advance the plot other than set an extraneous trigger or two. The entire book/crook/moon sequence is left over from KQ7's original design, which was for a somewhat larger game than the final product. The moon-shot helped solve a problem then. But when KQ7's size was edited down and the original problem deleted, this particular series of events had to be left in so that there would be a cliff-hanger ending for Chapter 3.

    Some cool concept art;






  • You can't really trust Sierra literature to be accurate though. If Sierra worked under a "star system" where other designers did "name designers" games, of course the literature would make it appear like said name designer did more than they did. To keep up the "image". KQ was associated with Roberta. They had to keep up the "this is a Roberta Williams game" image...

    Roberta was busy designing and developing Phantasmagoria while KQ7 was in production. Phantas was her baby...I really doubt at best that KQ7 got anything near her full attention. At worst, I feel she probably only was involved in very basic design and story ideas...Nothing further.

    Hell, look at something like InterAction, where Ken Williams wrote his Presidents Corner column acting as "CEO" for about a year after he actually quit as CEO, or the fact that he presented himself in public and in press releases as Sierra's CEO as late as May '97 when he had quit in July '96.
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