Gamers released the following news: "Two reliable sources
have shared with us that an independent studio is working on a Space
Quest game for Sierra, possibly a remake. Recent changes to Sierra's
website already seemed to hint at this, but it wasn't until now
that we've gotten confirmation that a new Space Quest game is indeed
going to happen."
with the following news on their website that very same day: "Sierra
may soon announce a seventh game in its humorous sci-fi adventure
series. GameSpot has learned from sources working on the project
that Sierra is developing a new game in its classic Space Quest
sci-fi adventure game series. Although no further information about
the game is available at this point, the publisher may be gearing
up to announce the game, as it recently launched a new Space Quest
website, which contains descriptions of the previous Space Quest
games along with a large Space Quest logo. All of the previous Space
Quest games are listed as "temporarily out of stock,"
which suggests that the new website isn't simply intended to boost
sales of the older games, but perhaps to serve as home for a new
one. The Space Quest series began in 1987, and the sixth game in
the series was released in 1995. Sierra announced in 1998 that it
was putting development of the seventh Space Quest game on hold
indefinitely, but now there are indications that the project has
been revived. A Sierra representative declined comment when asked
about the upcoming game. We'll post more information about the game
as it becomes available."
changes to Sierra's website as mentioned in both articles is about
a new Space Quest page
(192 KB) which is no longer accessible
on the internet. The page indicates Sierra might have had plans
to sell the games again.
Jouke Koning forwarded me this interesting mail:
To: Jouke Koning
Date: Thursday, February 14, 2002 5:38 PM
Subject: RE: Important question
did have lunch with the new head guy at Sierra and he confirmed
that his intention is to "bring back" the old Sierra.
He has several of the old games back in development, and is meeting
with several of the old designers to explore their possible involvement.
I think it's great! My only concern is that I hope that they are
able to find something new and exciting to do with the old series,
and don't just continue them as they were. I like things that use
the old characters, and the worlds that we created, but that somehow
move entertainment forward in some way. I can't say exactly which
series are in development, because he wouldn't want me to.
Jess Morrissette, webmaster of the
Virtual Broomcloset, received an e-mail from a reliable source
at Sierra saying that fans of the Space Quest series "will
want to keep an eye open for upcoming announcements later this year."
The source was definitely someone who's "in the know".
Needless to say, this information was a very encouraging development
for Space Quest fans - and straight from Sierra, no less.
webmaster of the
Virtual Broomcloset, received a forwarded e-mail that was written
by Al Lowe: "I had a meeting with Sierra's president about
2 months ago. He said we should meet again soon to complete discussions.
I told him any time. (I only live about 10 minutes away)... I've
heard nothing. He did tell PCGamer that "a new game was in
development". I don't know what that means, as I'm not working
on it. Perhaps he found someone "better" for the job (i.e.,
cheaper?). Actually, I'm having a great time with retirement. You
know how fun it is to go on vacation, and how the last day you'll
all bummed out because you have to go back to school or work? Well,
retirement is like summer vacation... without that last day! He
did tell me that a totally different group of developers were working
on a SQ sequel. It will be interesting to see how that turns out,
Not much later, Al Lowe sent an e-mail to me with additional information
about his Space Quest comment: "There is a group in Seattle
working on a SQ sequel. They are not an internal Sierra team, but
an outside development house. I don't remember the name. Sorry."
Quest fan e-mailed me an article called "Sierra: Two secret
projects based on adventure franchises" which appeared on MCV
- 06:00 - (mcv) Sierra's daughter Vivendi seems to try reviving
the well known adventure brand names and is currently working on
two secret projects that are based on introduced titles. "It
is really amazing how often German PC gamers tell us they want a
new Leisure Suite Larry, King's Quest, Space Quest and Police Quest.
The adventure genre which we knew back then may not be viable in
this form, but you can transport these game themes with other genres
like action or strategy." Says Sierra's Mike Ryder. Both projects
are planned to be released in 2003 or 2004 and will probably be
unveiled at the E3 in Los Angeles. One of these two project may
be an action oriented multi-platform console title and the other
a PC strategy game."
Gamers has released yet another article about the rumoured new
Space Quest game! The following Space Quest related part is copied
informant couldnt say anything about the genre orientation
of the game, but did say that it is being created at a new Seattle-based
independent developer. Our secret operatives (cough-Google-cough)
even uncovered this highly classified clay model (see picture) for
a possible character in the game. Naturally, we blocked his eyes
to ensure his anonymity. At least, I think those are his eyes. (By
the way, his name is Keebo... oops!)"
e-mailed Sierra's big boss and chief in staff (not anymore -ed),
Mike Ryder, to ask him if he could tell me anything about the rumoured
Space Quest game. Mr. Ryder did not have the chance to reply to
my mail himself. Instead, I got a reply from Sierra's "Senior
Public Relations Manager"... This is what she had to say:
Ryder forwarded me your note regarding Space Quest, as I head up
PR for several titles. Although, Sierra has not announced anything
at this time regarding a new Space Quest title, I can tell you to
be on the look out for news. We could have something exciting to
share in the coming year. :-)"
some of you this e-mail might sound a little bit familiar, as the
webmaster of the Virtual
Broomcloset, got a similar reply some weeks ago when he asked
about a possible new Space Quest game. Ooh well, it sure was worth
has updated its Space
Quest page (192 KB) again (which
is no longer accessible on the internet). The page now features
demo's for some of the Space Quest games and an "ORDER NOW"
a page on the Amazon store that offers the Space Quest Collection
(Amazon takes care of Sierra's online sales). The collection is
out of stock, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it becoming available
soon. I'm extremely pleased to see the price has been set for well
under $20 US. Although we haven't heard either good or bad news
about the possible new Space Quest game lately, I think this is
great news indeed. The Space Quest page indicates Sierra is putting
time (and thus money) into the Series again!
Gamers website reports: "Adventure Gamers has learned that
the upcoming new Space Quest game - at this point still unannounced
and entirely hypothetical (ssssh) - will not be a graphic adventure,
but most likely an action game of sorts. Also, it may or may not
(...) be in development at Escape
surfed over to those Escape Factory guys and besides a dirty old
bucket and broom this is what I found:
"07/10/2002 - EF celebrates 2nd birthday
The team celebrates Escape Factory's second birthday with a small
party at a local brewery. In two years we've gone from 2 to 20 employees
and from a crazy dream to a still-crazy-dream, but one backed up
by slightly more reality. Sadly, we still can't talk yet about what
we're working on. But we like it."
Space Quest fan found an art folder on the Escape
Factory website. Possibly, this folder contains the first publicly
available Space Quest art pictures. The images are not linked or
connected to an "Escape Factory Space Quest page" in any
way, though. At first the art folder was available for every one
on the internet, but some days later they've blocked access to it.
Possibly because they found out that the images were discovered
by fans. Not to worry as you can find the images below (click on
them for a close up).
photo here to the left is taken somewhere in May 2002 and was also
uncovered along with the art images. The two guys on the photo (click
on it for a close up) are presumably called Rick (not sure if he's
an Escape Factory employee) and Ed Allard (co-founder and lead designer
of Escape Factory). Notice the Keebo character drawing just behind
Ed. (or Rick, I'm not sure).
Hoeksema is working for a university newspaper called the Western
Herald (reaching an audience of around 35.000 people no less).
He's currently working on an article about old computer games
and in a recent survey he found the Space Quest Series was by
far the most popular old game. He therefore decided to run a small
article about the Series and did a lot of research for it, which
he agreed to share with .
Gertzman, president and co-founder of Escape Factory, replied to
Daniel regarding his questions about the rumoured new Space Quest
game and stated black and white: "I’ve heard the rumors,
but I’m afraid we are not working on a Space Quest game."
This is actually the first negative news we've heard regarding a
possible new Space Quest game. I can't imagine the president of
such a company would lie to a news reporter, so as far as I'm concerned
this settles the matter. The rumors regarding Escape Factory must
be wrong. This also means the design art which was uncovered not
to long ago from the Escape
Factory website DOES NOT belong to the rumored Space Quest project.
also sent an e-mail to Sierra's official press contact and received
the reply: "Sierra does not comment on titles that have not
been announced." This is basically the same reply I got several
times in the past from Sierra. The most recent reply I got from
Sierra (dating back to January 17): "I don't have any information
to share with you at this time. I'm sorry - I wish I did."
These two statements might add extra weight to Mr. Gertzman statement,
but to me Sierra still isn't denying that they aren't working on
a Space Quest game. And that's saying something.
as this all might sound to you, Space Quest fan Nicodemus Caine
has uncovered an interesting advert in a gaming magazine only days
ago. It is taken from "New Age Gaming" (January edition)
and is located somewhere in the back (on page 59 if you care to
know). The original is in colour and the banner reads: "2003
doesn't have to be all doom and gloom". You can click on the
image for a close up. It seems to feature a list of titles which,
Nicodemus presumes, will be due for release somewhere this year.
Between all the usual uninteresting upcoming Sierra and Blizzard
(also a division of Vivendi) shoot'em up titles (I mean RPG titles)
are the two magical words "Space Quest". It is believed
the company responsible for the ad, Comztek, is the only South African
distributor for Vivendi Universal.
Factory website was updated on January 27th, 2003, which I obviously
missed! The website reports: "The not-yet-announced
project was cancelled after just over a year of development for
a variety of reasons. The team is obviously disappointed, but we
understand the decision. We have terminated the relationship with
our publisher amicably, and have once again begun the process of
talking to other publishers about new projects, this time with a
bigger and more experienced team."
sources have confirmed this "not-yet-announced project"
was indeed the rumored Space Quest game. Whether Sierra has choosen
a new developer for the game is unkown. Let's hope they did. Looking
back at the January 31rst update: This means the images found on
the Escape Factory website DID belong to the secret Space Quest
project after all. James Gertzman statement was obviously not complete.
They WERE working on a Space Quest game...
I think we all agree Escape Factory was working for Sierra on a
Space Quest game. It's
been about two months since Sierra told Escape Factory to stop making
that new Space Quest game we were all dying to see. Recently I e-mailed
James Gwertzman (founder of Escape Factory) who replied on April
1rst 2003 with a simple statement: "I'm afraid we can not talk
about the project at all."
had long ago concluded mailing Sierra or Escape Factory about the
project is completely useless. Though this time I had high hopes
that they might tell me something now that the project is cancelled.
But no dice. I should have known because when I called Escape Factory
myself on February 4 2003, I talked with an employee who told me
they are under strict contract that forbids them to say anything.
It's all up the publisher (supposed to be Sierra) to inform the
public, announce anything and/or release information/material of
the game. This contract that guy was talking about seems to run
parallel with Sierra's policy to not comment on unreleased games.
On the same day, Josh Mandel stepped forward stating:
this news, I believe I'll step forward and tell you what little
I know about the project. This information comes from a Sierra connection.
1. While it used the Space Quest name, it was not an adventure game.
2. While it used the Space Quest name, it would've borne little,
if any, resemblance to the SQ we know and love.
Why? Because the team at Escape Factory was specifically told by
Sierra NOT to even PLAY or LOOK AT the existing Space Quest games
before working on the new game. Now, Escape Factory has some former
Sierra employees, so it's likely that they brought some knowledge
of the series to the table. How much prior information they were
free to incorporate into the project, I don't know. However, it's
clear that Sierra did NOT WANT the project to resemble the existing
SQ games, let alone closely follow the canon."
you, this statement was precisely the complete opposite from what
my sources told me: "All the developers involved have played
the previous Space Quest games before they started designing. They
are working very hard on the story at the moment." It's not
a matter of who you believe though, I'm just trying to point out
the misinformation and secrecy surrounding the project.
some it was hard to believe the game might not have been an adventure
game at all, but an action/strategy kind of thing. Recently, I've
learned the game wasn't going to be a PC game at all, but a PlayStation
2 or Xbox game. This information comes from the FYE
website who have stores all over America selling computer games,
DVD's, CD's and stuff. Sadly, just recently their Space Quest page
has been removed from their catalogue, but it was listed there.
Of course a would-be futile attempt to get more information about
all this was bluntly cut off. In a reply to an e-mail I sent to
FYE: "In reference to your email on the Space Quest game, I
did some research on the title. This is being provided to us from
our content provider only. Our games buyer has no information on
it yet in our store system. I would say this is most likely tentative
at best currently as no other information appears to be available.
Please check back with the site as the content will be updated as
it becomes available to us. Hope this helps." And it sure doesn't.
Quest fan Danny Bloks received an e-mail from Bruce Goodwill, Vivendi's
Product Manager, who told him: "Sierra is looking
at bringing out a Space Quest in Q4 2003 but this will be on the
Console platform and not for PC unfortunately! I will forward you
more information on the title as I receive it." This confirm
the Space Quest game was not going to be released for the pc.
That's the third time a seventh installment gets cancelled. And
as far as I'm concerned, that's three strikes, you're out!
is no more. James Gertzman (founder and CEO) presented a 2 1/2 hour
post-mortem on Escape Factory's rise and fall at the monthly Seattle
Sputnik event. The talk was well received by the standing-room only
crowd. Read the PowerPoint presentation here.
The presentation accidently mentions "SQ".
an updated version of the post-mortem talk at GDC with additional
insights gained from over a year of reflection since the project
was cancelled. You can download the PowerPoint presentation here.
The presentation mentions the main character "Wilger".
This indicates Escape Factory was doing the same as High Voltage
did with the new Leisure Suit Larry. Also mentioned is a two player
network play option. This is highly recommended reading if you truly
want to know the ins and outs of the project.