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Sierra returns as Activision's new indie label
Sierra returns as Activision's new indie label
August 12, 2014 | By Kris Graft

The rumored return of publishing label Sierra is official, as parent Activision Blizzard announced today new games and a new angle for the brand.

Sierra is now relaunching as an indie games label for Activision Blizzard, a publisher whose focus has traditionally been set squarely on big-budget games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft.

The label is tapping into its roots with the announcement of a new King’s Quest, one of Sierra’s most famous franchises. The new entry, due in 2015, is under development by indie studio The Odd Gentlemen, developers of award-winning game The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom.

Also on the way is a new entry in the Geometry Wars arcade shooter series, titled Geometry Wars^3: Dimensions. It’s in development by Lucid Games, a British studio founded by former members of Bizarre Creations, the developer that created the original Geometry Wars games.

Sierra co-founder Ken Williams commented in a statement, "We're very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today's news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging.”

Sierra was founded in 1979 and became best known for games like King’s Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and other mainstays of the adventure game genre. The label has been dormant since 2008.

A statement from Activision said its search for more indies to publish is “well underway.” Sierra is looking to publish other games as early as this year, as well as into next and beyond. Sierra will publish primarily on digital platforms such as PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam.

Bob Loya, sr. direct of external development at Activision, said Sierra is “in talks with a large number of other indie devs.”

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Arthur De Martino
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"Indie Label" by a publisher is an oxymoron.

Connor Fallon
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"Indie" has come to mean smaller projects for a lot of people, and this just continues that conflation.

I do think it's good for big studios to be funding smaller, "Indie"-style projects. It seems to have worked out pretty well for Sony and Ubisoft. That reaction may be influenced by King's Quest nostalgia, though.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Rick Naegele
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They need to use that retro logo, aliasing and all, brings back memories.

Christian Nutt
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Concur! The logo in the new trailer was TERRRRRIBLE however.

Robert Carter
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A studio getting funding (likely full funding in this case) from a 3rd party or parent company cant really be considered independent, unless the funding is from investors who are largely hands off when it comes to the development of the game. I doubt Activision is hands off in any way.

Unless Im mistaken Activision is just trying to gain presence on the Indie scene. This is such a strange phenomenon, it reminds me of the whole "new Coke" disaster (albeit, to have the analogy be perfect Activision would have to shut down all AAA studios in favor of all 'indie' ones). Just call it a small AAA studio fully funded by a publisher. No one cares if youre indie or AAA, they care that your game is fun.

Masaru Wada
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I'd say it's more like OK Soda, where a huge corporation tried to come off as the small underdog appealing to the counter-culture/hipster/however you want to call it crowd.

Wes Jurica
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Had no idea OK existed. I'm off on another Wikipedia adventure

Michael Wenk
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Well, to me Sierra (actually On-Line Systems) was a great label in its day. However, it was the people that really made it that way. Now it will be just a name. I don't see them bringing back Roberta Williams or any of the other Sierra Online people that made the label something.

That being said, it is possible these games may be worth something, but this stinks more like a marketing thing than anything with real substance.

Jeremiah Conlon
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Most of the games I played when my dad first got an IBM in the early 80's were Sierra titles - and I like the fact more studios are supporting (or exploiting if you wanna’ look at it that way) potential cool indie titles.
So I'm all for it!

George Menhal III
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I'm really happy to see Geometry Wars 3!

Cameron Petty
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@Michael: It's definitely a marketing thing. Brand recognition has value, even if it's acquired rather than built.

This very much reminds me of the way Infogrames re-branded themselves as Atari a while back - mainly recycling an old brand for a new purpose in order to mine that brand recognition. That said, reboots and re-releases of the original brand's well loved IPs can sometimes be a bonus for fans of the original imprint.

@Jeremiah: I like the fact that more studios are supporting/exploiting potential cool indie titles, also! Just need someone to come along and support/exploit *my* cool indie title! ;-)
(, if you're curious...)