Online-based development team Phoenix Online Studios has canceled The Silver Lining
, its long-in-production King's Quest
sequel, following a legal threat by franchise owner Activision.
The current incarnation of The Silver Lining
has been in the works since 2002, and was intended to serve unofficially as the ninth entry in Sierra's long-dormant adventure game series. Midway through development, the team adopted an episodic release model. According to a note posted on the game's official site
, the first episode had been completed when the publisher revoked the team's existing freeware license.
Phoenix was granted the fan license by IP owner Vivendi, which owned all assets of the former Sierra Online, in late 2005 after several months of negotiation. In compliance with the license's terms, Phoenix changed the game's title from King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has A Silver Lining
to simply The Silver Lining
Since then, however, as the result of the merger between Vivendi and Activision, Vivendi Games came under Activision management. As the site now explains, Activision "reached the decision that they are not interested in granting a non-commercial license to The Silver Lining
, and have asked that we cease production and take down all related materials on our website."
According to the site, all development has been halted, and all materials related to the game, including the company's web forums, have been taken offline at the request of Activision.
The Silver Lining
had long been one of the most well-known projects in development by the amateur adventure game community -- a surprisingly vibrant scene, perhaps in response to the relative scarcity of modern commercially-developed adventure games.
Roberta and Ken Williams, Sierra's founders and the creators of King's Quest
, supported the project in an unofficial capacity; they had long since ceased to be legally affiliated with the Sierra brand.
"What the future holds for us, as individuals or a team, we cannot say," the team wrote. "We have an amazing development team, however, filled with talented and hard-working individuals, and we hope the teamwork and rapport we’ve developed won’t go to waste. We hope that when we do know what the future holds for us, our fans will be there to enjoy what we can give them still."