Depending on your age and allegiances, you’ll know Sierra either as a) the true kings of ‘80s adventure games, b) the great enemy of Guybrushes everywhere, or c) the publishers Valve spent half of the last decade suing over Half-Life.
Activision have taken advantage of those divergent identities by relaunching Sierra as a catch-all label for all their indie-ish ventures.
“The indie movement is happening,” said Sierra’s MacLean Marshall. “And for Activision not to be involved in that… it has the big brands sure, but I think it would be a miss if we didn’t look at the indie movement as well.”
Activision announced at GamesCom last week that the Sierra label would host projects by independent studios – beginning with Lucid Games’ Geometry Wars 3 and a new King’s Quest from The Odd Gentlemen.
“For us, it is about finding the right devs with the right ideas,” Marshall told MCV. “Whether that is bringing back an old Sierra IP or something entirely new.”
The Sierra relaunch follows half a decade Activision has spent narrowing its remit to just a handful of heavy-hitters: namely CoD, Skylanders and WoW. It seemed studios that were merely solvent didn’t have a future with the publisher.
But senior director of external development Bob Loya’s comments suggest that approach has left gaps in Activision’s catalogue.
“We wanted to do this stuff for a long time, and unfortunately there wasn’t a path in Activision to do it because we were focused on the big blockbusters,” he said.
“With digitally distributed games becoming bigger every year, we were able to make a compelling business argument that we could be financially successful doing this, while working with really cool indie talent on great IP.”
So that’s why Sierra’s back. Do you think indies will benefit from an extra avenue to get their work into idle hands?