Pictured: Ken and Roberta Williams at The Game Awards 2014
Sierra On-Line founders Ken and Roberta Williams announced today that they will be releasing a new game this year.
Their new title, The Secret is said to be "Sierra flavored" and will be their first new game in over 20 years.
The Secret will also be a collaboration between the Williams and 3D artist Marcus Maximus Mera.
"Roberta and I have been asked for decades whether we would ever produce another game, and we have always firmly said 'no'," explained Ken.
"This changed when Roberta had a clever idea for a game, at the same time I am having fun learning the Unity 3D development environment, and I happened to be chatting with a talented 3D artist."
The Williams founded Sierra On-Line in 1979, and built the company into a prolific producer of adventure games, including Space Quest, Police Quest, and Roberta's own King's Quest.
Both the Williams retired from game development in the late '90s.
The 3D artist Ken refers to is Marcus Maximus Mera, who has a non-conventional background for game development. Marcus has designed pieces for Harry Winston, Van Cleef Arpels and Loreal USA. He has also collaborated on a jewelry collection with celebrated tattoo artist Paul Booth.
“I was always a huge fan of Sierra On-Line, especially the Space Quest games,” said Mr. Mera. “As 3D design became more and more ubiquitous in the jewelry business, I immersed myself in the technology to make custom pieces for clients and that experience has led me here today.”
The Williams’ and Mr. Mera are collaborating on the game, with additional details, demos and screenshots to be released at a later date. The Secret – the Williams’ first game in over two decades, has been in development for the past six months. Updates on the current status of the game can be found at: www.KensGame.com.
What are you working on?
It is indeed a game, and it’s one that Sierra fans should love. Roberta talked me out of the educational game and into something more people would enjoy. I’ll say what it is about six weeks from now. In the meantime I just want to be head-down focused.
When will it be done?
Our goal is November, but that probably isn’t realistic. We’re pushing hard though.
What platforms will it be available on?
I don’t know. Certainly Mac and Windows. I hope eventually it will be on most platforms and in most languages. A lot will depend on how people like it.
Can you give me a hint?
I hope not!
Can I beta test?
Possibly. Send me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org. I won’t respond but I will put your name on a list of possible beta testers. I don’t know yet how many we’ll want or how we’ll choose them, or even what we’ll be looking for. I’m inclined towards fewer people who have the time to take it more seriously and put in more time. I’m guessing beta testing can start in August (or, at least hoping!).
Can I do the music? the box cover? character voices? the foreign translation? the porting to Apple?
Probably not. We will need help with foreign translation and porting to other platforms, but the box art, voices and music are already handled.
Is the game any good?
I have said that I do not think a small team can produce a product that is competitive in today’s world. I still believe that. The major studios have nothing to fear from this game. It’s an incredible accomplishment for a small team, and those who play it will find much to love. But, I am not kidding myself that this will sell millions of copies. That said, I do think traditional Sierra fans will be very happy.
What's Roberta's involvement?
So far, her involvement has been important, but minimal. She was the original inspiration for the game, and has been consulted almost daily. But, in terms of hours spent in front of a computer it is 99% Marcus and myself. We’ve been filling all spare time 7 days a week. Roberta will get more and more involved as we get closer.
What's the game's exact current status?
The whole game is there, but with scratch graphics. That’s one reason for no screen shots. We wanted to rough out the whole game and then make a second (and, third and fourth) pass to replace the placeholder graphics and animation and start polishing things. If you saw the game today I doubt you’d be impressed. You would need a LOT of imagination. That’s how we planned it and that’s how it is.
Is this the beginning of a new company?
I have no idea. Marcus (my partner in this effort) is in this for the long haul. He’s young and has the ambition and talent to do something great. Whereas, I am happily retired and more excited about having an excuse to create and write code than I am about building a company. I do think people will like this game and that it will be the start of something. But, what that is, and whether Roberta and I will hang in there, or if this was just a fun one-off I do not know. At this point I don’t want to think much beyond solving bugs and polishing the game. All of that said, I do have more ideas for things to do and have surprised myself (and, hopefully you) by what we have accomplished. I would have thought it impossible to do what we have done, but with a good set of tools and a lot of focus and hard work, big things appear to be possible. I can’t imagine ever not waking up and going to my computer. So, we shall see!
Do you need Beta Testers?
We already have over 100 beta testers signed up and will probably only use 10-20 total.
Founders of Sierra On-Line working on single-player project The Secret with 3D artist Marcus Maximus Mera