King's Quest IX is a hypothetical and unreleased King's Quest sequel set after King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity.
There have been a number of failed attempts making King's Quest IX or at least resurrecting the series for new audiences.
There have been a number of attempts at making a ninth King's Quest game and/or rebooting the series. The only developer to successfully produce a game was The Odd Gentlemen' s reboot.
This article discusses ideas and suggestions made by Roberta Williams, if she had been allowed to work on KQ9, after KQ8. These mostly hinged on the success of KQ8, and if Sierra's owners had chosen to ok development on a new game with her at its helm (1998-1999). While KQ8 did see enough success that Sierra green lighted a follow-up, Roberta was not brought in. The follow-up was later cancelled as Sierra laid off employees and collapsed.
The article also goes into the known history of other attempts to make ninth KQ, and finally the on-going published attempt to reboot the series with the new series King's Quest: Adventures of Graham.
The first was an attempt was by Sierra then owned by Vivendi Games, following the reasonable success of King's Quest VIII, but without Roberta in control, but instead headed by Mark Seibert (who was one of the heads on KQ8). Though Mark Seibert and Roberta discussed a few ideas for the next game while they were discussing the "new" release of then current King's Quest 8.
- A King's Quest game designed for consoles by Mark Seibert and Sierra for Vivendi Games.
- A King's Quest game in development by Silicon Knights, to be produced by Vivendi Studios.
- A King's Quest in development by Telltale Games and published by Activision.
- King's Quest: Adventures of Graham (Developed by The Odd Gentlemen, and produced by Activision under the new Sierra label) Note: Not considered a true KQ9.
From Adventure of Graham's perspective in the alternate reboot universe, there is a hypothetical KQ9 somewhere between the end of King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity and the episodic King's Quest: Adventures of Graham. It would take place when Graham is roughly in his 70s see KQ9 timeline (in the rebooted timeline). In the new timeline, it may roughly coincide with King's Quest Chapter V the final episode of the episodic series. However, it must be noted, that events of the reboot universe occured differently than they did in the original universe (with events of each game having occured much differently than original games).
Despite the new series King's Quest: Adventures of Graham episodic series is the ninth published original King's Quest adventure title (but not considered KQ9).
The official hintbook for KQ8, makes reference to King's Quest IX being the next game to be released in the future, assuming that King's Quest 8 sold well, and that Roberta Williams was still going to be at its helm.
Roberta Williams had her own concept ideas for King's Quest IX made around the release of KQ8 between 1998 and 1999. Though these never went into production.
King's Quest: Mask of Eternity was marginally successful for an an adventure game (though the bestselling adventure that year). While it was successful enough that Sierra green-lighted a follow-up game headed by Mark Seibert (as early as 1999), Roberta was never brought into its development. It was finally cancelled by 2002.
For the most part Roberta Williams brushed away questions about any future sequels in the series. However she did discuss an idea or two about what a future game might hold if she could have produced another game in the series... Some of these thoughts includes;
- How much of a role will the royal family play in Mask of Eternity? Will Connor marry Rosella, or is she still dating Edgar from King's Quest 7?
- The only character from previous King's Quests will be a couple of cameo appearances by King Graham. I felt that it was time to feature a new character to the saga of King's Quest as long as we were updating the whole look and feel of the series. And--who knows? Perhaps in some future King's Quest game, Connor will at least meet Rosella! Don't worry, though. Connor is a very interesting character in his own right, and I'm sure he will win over many of the traditional King's Quest hearts.
- "What if Connor met Rosella? That would be good... We got that problem with Edgar... Love triangles are always interesting." Roberta Williams -Mask of Eternity Talkspot Interview, Part 1.
The idea that Rosella might start dating Connor (then "Brendan"?) appears to very early idea as early as 1995.
- "As far as King Graham, Alexander, Valanice, and Rosella are concerned -- they ARE in the game, but they are the poor victims of the evil sorcerer's spell. YOU -- as a "former" statue-turned-alive-knight -- are the main character of King's Quest 8. You can save the royal family from the evil spell they've been placed under. You -- as the knight -- can save them and then get the chance to become a "real man" in the end (a la Pinocchio). Princess Rosella might be SO grateful that he saved her and her family that...who knows?-1995 interview
While not specifically King's Quest related she has also said that the future of Adventure Gaming may have to rely on the multiplayer, and become something similar to MMORPG, but instead would be a Massively Multiplayer Online Adventure Game. In fact, she said originally there was a discussion for early on for KQ8 to have a multiplayer component, but it was something she had save for KQ9 instead (Talkspot Part I). Ken William had been discussing the idea of a Multiplayer King's Quest long in InterAction Magazine before or during development of KQ8.
She has also said that perhaps fangame community is keeping the plate warm for her return.
Roberta later she would have little involvement in future King's Quests ;
- As to a King's Quest IX: Since I will never design a King;s Quest 9, it would be unfair of me to comment on any one else's endeavors in that area. However, if there were ever to be a King's Quest 9, I wish it luck and hope that it could revive interest in adventure gaming as a whole and in the original King's Quest games in general.
One of the ideas made for KQ8 that Graham was too old to go on adventures, and Alexander was now a king of another land, and less likely to go on Adventures on behalf of Daventry. Thus the need to introduce some new characters into the series. Would Roberta have kept this direction?
Another discussion for future game idea in the King's Quest series (at the time of KQ6 between Roberta and Jane Jensen) was to include Mordack, Manannan, and Abdul Alhazred together as a group, KQ6 planted the hints of this future plot idea through the creation of the Society of the Black Cloak (but the series never went back to it). It is always possible it could have ended up as part of the greater plot line for KQ9 as well. Would Mordack still have been alive, or just mentioned as a past member, with Shadrack filling in the third position.
Mark Seibert takes controlEdit
Following some success with King's Quest 8, a ninth King's Quest game (King's Quest IX) began development in 1999 under Sierra but to be published by Vivendi Games. However due to collapse of Sierra, it ended up being cancelled by 2002.
This was a game roughly started in 1999. It was lead by Mark Seibert who was director on King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity. So it would have involved at least some of the original developers. It was going to be designed as a more console style-action adventure game like Legend of Zelda, based on known information. This one basically died when Sierra Seattle studios finally died under Vivendi Games.
It was one of the three games from prominent adventure franchises in Sierra On-Line's portfolio (King's Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry) that would receive a new version adapted to the gameplay styles that interested the common gamer. It was to be a reinvention of the series. Like Escape Factory's Space Quest update, King's Quest would have been a cartoon-style action title with very little semblance to the previous titles in the series (even compared to KQ8). Unlike SQ and LSL, KQ never made it past prototype.
The prototype models show a wizened Graham (wearing an grey metallic armored variation on the Adventurer's Cap with a white feather) in armor carrying a huge sword. It also shows him having the ability to flip.
Mark Seibert notes
- Yes, we worked on a couple short sprints for a KQ console concept. It got 2 green lights as I recall (Which means we got to the 3rd iteration of design), but never got fully funded. The company pretty much imploded while this project was in the early concept phase. So not much to tell, other than we were looking at a more "console-like" action genre for the title. Sorry there's not more to tell - it would have been interesting to see how this might have developed...
Passed onto Silicon KnightsEdit
With Sierra gone, and Vivendi Studios began to phase out the label, but continued to look for more developers to resurrect the Sierra IPs in new ways.
Silicon Knights was in talks with Vivendi, Capcom, THQ and Namco and was negotiating development plans for King's Quest and Sandman (c. 2007). Silicon Knights began development to a King's Quest sequel apparently using Epic's Unreal Engine (Unreal Engine 3)
It is said that Silicon Knights got as far as a prototype before it was cancelled.
The exact timing of when this game began and ended is not clear, but apparently still in development around the time Vivendi was sold to Activision, and up to the point when they shut down a popular fan game based on the King's Quest series (starting a letter campaign to save it).
Knowledge of this game was discovered in a 2011 lawsuit between Silicon Knights and Epic games over the use of the Unreal engine. During the lawsuit with Epic, Lloyd's methodology for determining the potential value of earlier and cancelled projects was similarly unconvincing to the court.    
Ultimately the judge ordered that Silicon Knights destroy any code related to any games that had used code from the Unreal 3 engine, so if there was anything related to the prototype its probably been destroyed, and there are no existing photos from this game.
Telltale Gains the Developmental LicenseEdit
Activision continued to look into viability and possibility of using and resurrecting some of the old Sierra IPs, it gained when it bought out Vivendi Studios. Activision's first attempt at this was passing the development rights of Sierra IPs over to Telltale Games. Telltale decided to start with King's Quest as the first game they would resurrect, with the possibility of resurrecting other IPs if it had been successful.
King's Quest was to be an episodic series of games in development by Telltale Games. Thought to be a 'reboot' but may have been intended to fit into the continuity of the original series.
Telltale sat on the IP apparently doing very little with it, while they were working on other successful series such as The Walking Dead. Activision chose to take back the licenses and claimed they would look at the possibility of doing a new series in-house. Though there were at least several other interested parties including Replay Games (Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded) that were turned down.
Activision would ultimately pass development rights over to The Odd Gentlemen, but keep publishing rights in house.
Since Telltale only sat on the developmental licenses of Sierra series, its not clear if any concept or ideas of King's Quest were even discussed in any detail. There are no screen shots or artwork related to this part of King's Quest history, other than Telltale's use of a golden variation of the King's Quest title (similar to the one used in King's Quest VII box), and a small blurb:
- Return to the Kingdom of Daventry as Telltale is working on new adventures based on the classic adventure game series!
King's Quest Reboot: Adventures of GrahamEdit
Although King's Quest: Adventures of Graham is the ninth game developed in the series (or tenth if you count King's Questions or the King's Quest I SCI remake), its not technically King's Quest IX. It is instead a reboot of the series, seen as a 'reimagining' of the entire series (while general ideas of the previous games exist as canon, they occurred very differently in the reboot universe, the classic games themselves exist more as 'fancifical' stories told by parents to their children in this world, but aren't accurate historical events). Initially it was believed the episodic game was neither a sequel nor a reboot, which told a number of stories that take place in between and after the original series. Sierra/Activision confirmed it to be a reboot.
As it was always planned that the new KQ (whoever made it) would be a reimagining they new it couldn't be the true King's Quest IX.
- “It’s going to be hard to make a King’s Quest IX because everyone’s so attached. The directive was to do a reimagining anyway."
- The game is completely reimagined; it’s not King’s Quest IX or anything like that,” Korba explains. “Think about it like when someone reimagines The Wizard of Oz, or Peter Pan. That’s how I see King’s Quest, [as one of] those classic fairy tales that keep being retold and reimagined.”
- That's also part of the reason the game is a brand new story, instead of a continuation called King's Quest 9 — the developers still have the burden of living up to the King's Quest name, but they don't have to follow the exact path laid down by the eight previous titles.
It is worth noting that from the series perspective see KQGS timeline that King's Quest IX must take place when Graham was in his 70s or older. The 'present' in KQAOG, is when Graham is in his 90s and developers have said that its set about 20 years after the previous games (both in development and roughly chronologically) so about 20 years after KQ8.
The series went on to more or less retell aspects of KQ1 (KQC1 prologue), KQ2 (KQC2), KQ3 (KQC4), and hint at or describe details form KQ5 and KQ6 as well. Many of these completely different than their original counter parts. Hence the 'reimagining'. KQ2 is completely retold in a new manner in Chapter 3, and involves two Valanices, and a kinder/misunderstood Hagatha. KQ3 is both partially covered and hinted at in Chapter 4 in as much that it shows Alexander's kidnapping, and his return to Daventry. The three-headed dragon and saving Rosella did not happen in this universe, Alexander's motive for returning home was different. Details of KQ5 include that Graham already knew about "Icebella" before the events of the game (though he only directly met a previous Icebella, but he had met Ice Guardian who would become the new Icebella, and he had previously known Cedric as well), and he while he defeated Mordack he believed he had survived the battle by hiding under the floor boards (in KQ5 Graham believes he killed Mordack, and there was only hard stone where he died). Other things like Cedric's backstory, Graham's backstory, geography of the world is different as well. Etheria is a nearby land to Daventry rather than existing in a separate realm of fairies.
Behind the scenesEdit
There have been a number of attempts to either make a King's Quest IX or series 'revival' or 'reimagining'. But most were cancelled. The Odd Gentlemen's series is the first to actually make it nearly twenty years (since 1998).
An alternative way of looking at things would be to consider Chapter I: A Knight to Remember as KQ9, ch2 as KQX, ch3, as KQXI, etc. But this might add more confusion. It's also possible to see Chapter I, as "KQ1" of the new series, etc. But to avoid confusion it will be counted as 'KQC1' instead.
King's Quest IX is not The Silver Lining.
Telltale's Announcement historyEdit
- February 17, 2011: Telltale's Steve Allison (SVP of marketing) announces several franchises at a press conference including Walking Dead, and Fables. Telltale announces that they have obtained a Sierra license, King's Quest to be the first game, other series to follow. King's Quest is thought to be a reboot.
- February 18, 2011: Telltale announces King's Quest in a blog post on the Telltale website. It mentions that Walking Dead will be released first, followed by fable (they were projecting for a Winter 2011, and a Q1 2012 release). King's Quest's release is not clear, but implied to be an undertermined point in the horizon, apparently post Fable. Mentions 'reboot'.
- February 19, 2011: Telltale adds King's Quest to the Telltale forum list for people to discuss the game. The first post is by Alan Johnson the Telltale Community Manager.http://www.telltalegames.com/forums/...ad.php?t=22891
- March 14, 2011: Interview with Adventure gamer. Confirmed not to be a true reboot.
- June 7, 2011: E3, very little confirmed. It's not to be reboot, and will probably star Royal Family of Daventry. Roberta Williams was 'consulted'. Hints that future Sierra games would be after King's Quest, possibly Space Quest or others. Telltale games to be pushed back to 2012 release dates (this moves Walking Dead to 2012).
- September 11, 2011: Gaming Examiner interviews Alan Johson, who tells them that Telltale is working on King's Quest, but it won't be out for a long time.
- March 14, 2012: CEO Dan Connors makes a nod to wards King's Quest Briefly in an interview. He picked up King's Quest because he felt it was a classic IP, and would be similar to resurrecting other classic adventures like they did with Monkey Island. He mentions that they aren't focusing on it yet (article discusses that Walking Dead and Fables are the next priority).
- May 16, 2012: Dan Connors confirms, that Dave Grossman, and his group was starting work on King's Quest. It is mentioned that they were trying to put together the staff, and get it into production. They mention that they had talked to alot of people about it. Other than that he said they didn't have much to say about it yet. Still looks like they were looking for a post-Fables release. Walking Dead is their main focus at that point.
- February 6, 2013: Telltale launches beta for new website and forums, that will ultimately replace the old website. There is currently no webpage for King's Quest, and no direct access to a King's Quest forum either. However, the forum still shows up through a hidden link (and is useable).
- February 12, 2013: It is announced that Fables game will be more of a tie-in, and won't be called Fables. It is looking more likely that it will be the next game released. Walking Dead Season 2, will be a future release (how far in the future is unknown). It is also mentioned that Telltale has many other projects they are working on at at the same time (but no specifics as to what these projects are, or when they will be announced). IGN appears to assume that this will include King's Quest. Fables was originally to be released in Q1 2012, got pushed back to Q3 2012, but was not released.
- February 17, 2013: Two year anniversary of when Telltale's King's Quest was first announced (nine months from the previous major announcement).
- March 1, 2013: Dan Connors states that they aren't ready to say anything about the King's Quest project yet, but will say something when they are ready to talk about it. Rock Paper Shotgun asked if there were anything beyond Fables and King's Quest down the pipeline, and Connors mentions that they have a couple of unannounced projects being sorted out.http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013...-to-the-punch/ Fables and Walking Dead Season 2 are projected for 2013 releases.
- April 3, 2013: Steve Allison confirms that Telltale has since cancelled work on the franchise. http://www.joystiq.com/2013/04/03/te...s-quest-plans/
- April 4, 2013: The King's Quest forum at Telltale Games is now closed, but still includes a link on the main forum page, and still readible. It has not bee deleted.
We also know that this year in 2013 that Telltale is expanding in size, to make more games. No idea what they are expanding to make though. http://www.joystiq.com/2012/11/20/te...n-spring-2013/
Paul Trowe/Replay (3rd party)
- April 10, 2012: "The remaining issue, as with King’s Quest, would be licensing the games from owners Activision. Trowe explained that Activision had been a touch unrealistic when he first approached them. Activision told us that they wanted $500,000 up front,” he explained. “And greater than 50% revenue share for those properties. I told them ‘good luck on getting that’, because I don’t think anybody’s going to pay that fee. I can tell you that they changed their tune about six months after that.” But since then Space Quest has been licensed elsewhere, and Replay are currently in negotiations over getting the rights for themselves. “I want to say it’s looking good,” said Trowe, “but right now I’d give us 50/50.”
RPS: So also with King’s Quest, they’ve been uncharacteristically generous in allowing fan projects. Have you seen the project the Silver Lining?
Paul: The Silver Lining wasn’t available for sale…
RPS: That’s right, yes.
Paul:And in addition it wasn’t really a King’s Quest. In my opinion they did an injustice to the King’s Quest franchise.
RPS: That’s interesting, why do you think that?
Paul: I just don’t think it held true to Roberta’s vision, just like I don’t think the Leisure Suit Larrys that have come out after Al wasn’t involved held true to Al’s vision. And that’s why I refuse to work on a Leisure Suit Larry game if Al wasn’t involved. I refuse to work on a King’s Quest game if Roberta’s not involved.
RPS: Would Roberta be willing to be involved, she’s been out of the industry for a while hasn’t she?
Paul: I can’t speak for Roberta, but I can tell you that we’re currently talking to her and Ken.
- April 12, 2012: "I love the Sierra classics!! Can you bring back King's Quest, Space Quest, or Police Quest? Our good friends over at Tell Tale have licensed King's Quest from Activision. If we do our job right then maybe, just MAYBE we'll be able to partner with them and ruinite the Space Quest team, King's Quest team (go Roberta!!!!) and Police Quest team for re-makes or new versions of those (Space Quest 7 anybody?)."
- June 5, 2012: Trowe related Kickstarter sabotage controversy (false claims/smears about several other competing projects, and sockpuppetry). He later apologies. However it is unclear how much the duplicity affected any previous claims made before it was discovered by MixnMojo and others.http://mixnmojo.com/news/Is-Paul-Tro...r-Kickstarters
- April 1, 2013: “They had [the King's Quest rights], and we were going to license it from them to make the remakes. I wouldn’t do a King’s Quest without Roberta. [Telltale senior VP of publishing] Steve Allison told me that they have the rights but they don’t have the bandwidth.” Allison offered to look into sub-licensing King’s Quest out to Replay, but Trowe hit a dead end when he brought the conversation over to Activision. ”I talked to the guys at Activision and they were like, ‘No, we’re pulling it [from Telltale] because we’re going to do it ourselves.’
“Activision’s probably not going to give us the King’s Quest rights,” Trowe told us. “[Telltale] had it, and we were going to license it from them to make the remakes.” Telltale senior VP of publishing Steve Allison told Trowe that it was an issue of bandwidth; the studio behind 2012′s*The Walking Dead simply did not have the resources to handle*King’s Quest, what with a second season and the launch of*Fables both in the works.*
“Then I talked to the guys at Activision and they were like, ‘No, we’re pulling it because we’re going to do it ourselves,’” Trowe revealed. He doesn’t know what the publisher’s plans are for*King’s Quest, but they don’t seem to include either Telltale or Replay. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment and will update this post accordingly when we hear back. Be sure to check out our full interview with Trowe, and to head back here tomorrow for our extensive GDC chat with Telltale CEO Dan Connors."
Josh Mandel comments (3rd party)
- March 8, 2011: "Telltale and I have spoken a bit lately, but there's nothing more I can (or should) say about it! But I would love to be King Graham for Telltale, and I trust them completely with the property."
- Jan 19, 2013: Josh Mandel comments & Chat Log:
"And Activision would be foolish to say, "Here, we're renting you the license to King's Quest. Do nothing with it in perpetuity...Telltale seems to be going in another direction anyway. Walking Dead was a hugely popular license and a big success for them, I think. King's Quest would be a big step backwards, a far less well-known and far less popular license...I think it's been safely reported that Activision and/or the Sierra licenses (except Larry) are up for sale...they *had* the KQ license and did nothing with it, opting instead to pick up a license of a national television show that certainly didn't need Telltale's help."
First announced on February 17-18, 2011, with very little information.
"Much like we did with Tales of Monkey Island, we're rebooting King's Quest with all new episodic games and multiple series."
This game is not to be a true 'reboot' as in starting the series over with new continuity, but rather it is a direct continuation (as Tales of Monkey Island was for the Monkey Island series). It's a 'revival' of sorts to the series that has (officially) lain dormant since 1997 (though there were at least a couple of previous attempts at making King's Quest IX that were never completed). It is conceptually King's Quest IX as the ninth official continuation of the series.
- "There’s a lot of great history in KQ, and we want to make a game that fits into the established canon, and that fans will actually want to play."
- "...preserve those elements of peril, challenge, and yes, death, but also hopefully do something to address the frustration that unfortunately tended to come along with them all too often and alienate some of the players (maybe if the game just saves and hits “restore” for you automatically that will be enough)."
At E3 2011;
- Grossman said Telltale actually approached Roberta Williams, one of the designers of the original games, to see if she was interested in working on the new one. While she declined by saying she had retired from games, she did offer the development team advice, some of which was "very valuable," according to Grossman. When asked whether the new King's Quest would be a full reboot or more like a sequel, Grossman said there's "a lot of canon and it would be a shame to ignore it."
- ↑ One designer (Cindy Vanous) was working for a time at Sierra on an aborted KQ which was for console, mentioned it was headed by Mark. From a comment on Facebook Sierra Gamers, Jan 24th (now removed)
- ↑ In early 2002, it was announced that the three most prominent adventure franchises in Sierra On-Line's portfolio (King's Quest, Space Quest, and Leisure Suit Larry) would receive new versions that were adapted to the gameplay styles that interested the common gamer, or re-inventions. Like Escape Factory's Space Quest update, King's Quest would have been a cartoon-style action title with very little semblance to the previous titles in the series. Unlike SQ and LSL, KQ thankfully never made it past prototype.) http://web.archive.org/20080205234843/sttnw.blogspot.com/2008/01/kings-quest.html
- ↑ http://www.polygon.com/2015/7/28/9023667/kings-quest-history
- ↑ private corresponsence, February 5, 2016
- ↑ The Silver Lining (and the letter writing campaign began to save it).
- ↑ http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/12/28/the-lawsuit-between-epic-games-and-silicon-knights-reveals-interesting-developer-projects.aspx Game Informer
- ↑ http://www.joystiq.com/2011/12/28/silicon-knights-epic-lawsuit-turns-in-epics-favor-reveals-past/
- ↑ http://www.screwattack.com/news/silicon-knights-almost-had-kings-quest Screw Attack
- ↑ http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114960-Epic-Wins-Advantage-in-Too-Human-Lawsuit Lawsuit
- ↑ http://news.teamxbox.com/xbox/25466/Lawsuit-Reveals-Silicon-Knights-Canned-Kings-Quest-Game/
- ↑ http://www.adventuregamers.com/articles/view/28311/page4
- ↑ https://www.adventure-treff.de/artikel/interviews.php?id=106&lang=eng
- ↑ http://www.keengamer.com/Game/kings-quest/detail
- ↑ http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/6/8160509/kings-quest-remake-2015-gdc-pc-xbox-ps4
- ↑ http://web.archive.org/web/20110222191430/http://www.telltalegames.com/community/blogs/id-764
- ↑ http://i.joystiq.com/2011/02/18/kings-quest-reboot-coming-courtesy-of-telltale
- ↑ http://www.adventuregamers.com/article/id,1286
- ↑ http://pc.ign.com/articles/117/1174593p1.html