Sierra Entertainment was a computer game developer and publisher active from 1980 to 2004. The brand and many of its IPs are currently owned by Activision Blizzard.
Sierra started modestly as On-Line Systems in 1979, with founders Ken Williams and his wife Roberta programming games and managing the company from their own home. Their first game was Mystery House, the world's first graphic adventure game.
In 1982 the company changed its name to Sierra On-Line and moved to Oakhurst, California. In 1984, Sierra developed King's Quest, initially published by IBM, to show off the advanced technology of the IBM PCjr. The success of that game (subsequently ported to other platforms) set forth one of the most popular series Sierra has ever created, and spurred them into creating numerous adventure game series based on the Quest theme. In the years to come Sierra would remain on the forefront of groundbreaking computer game design, sometimes creating large blockbusters and other times failed experiments. Sierra kept on growing, and in 1986, Sierra went public with stock on Nasdaq, with the name SIER. Starting in 1990, Sierra began to acquire other software companies companies. Dynamix was the first to be bought in 1990; Bright Star Technologies followed in 1992; Coktel Vision in 1993; Impressions Games in 1995
In 1991 Sierra started an online service called The Sierra Network. Pre-WWW, it was comparable to services like CompuServe or Prodigy, except that its interface was completely graphical. Thematically it was a "kingdom" in which you visited different "lands" to post on message boards, exchange emails and play games. It was renamed Imagination Network and sold to AT&T in 1994 who sold it to AOL in 1996.
In 1994, Sierra moved its headquarters to Bellevue, Washington to attract more talent.
In 1996, a company called CUC, a huge travel, mail order and hotel company aggressively fought to become involved in the software industry. In July of that year, CUC offered to buy Sierra at roughly 90% higher than Sierra was trading. Along with Davidson & Associates Inc., Knowledge Adventure, and Blizzard Entertainment, Sierra became a CUC subsidiary. In December 1996, CUC joined with HFS Incorporated to form Cendant, and Sierra became a unit of the Cendant Software group. In 1997, control of Sierra was shifted to Davidson, and Sierra became a division of Davidson who was a division of Cendant Software, itself a division of Cendant Corp. Davidson shut down several groups within Sierra, and also cut the employees at the former Oakhurst headquarters by half in April 1997. In April 1998, it became apparent that the CUC half of Cendant had been engaging in illegal accounting practices for many years. It was later learned that Sierra, and other CUC subsidiaries, were used to cover up the accounting ills, such as inflating income. After some negotiation, Sierra, along with the rest of Cendant Software, was sold once again in November 1998 to French publisher Havas, and Cendant Software became Havas Interactive. Havas was in turn acquired by French entertainment giant Vivendi (Later Vivendi Universal) in 1999. Sierra's former base of operations in Oakhurst was renamed Yosemite Entertainment in 1998, and Sierra reorganized into several divisions that year. In February 1999, a decision was made within Sierra and a number of studios of Sierra were shutdown. These were Synergistic, Pyrotechnix Inc. and Books that Work. Headgate was sold back to it's original owner. Most surprising was the closure of Yosemite Entertainment, who was responsible for all the biggest Sierra games and was the base of operations for the Sierra adventure game department. For many fans, that day, which has been called "Black Monday", was the death of the true Sierra. In 2001, Sierra regained it's old Halfdome logo. That same year, Sierra laid off 245 employees at Bellevue, and Sierra's administrative, legal, and technical support offices were moved to Vivendi's headquarters, making Sierra no longer an independent entity, but instead just a named unit of Vivendi. Dynamix was shutdown, and fans saw this as the last piece of the real Sierra dying.
The company was renamed Sierra Entertainment in 2002.
In June 2004, Vivendi reorganized the Vivendi Universal games group, distributing Sierra's work to other units and finally shutting down Sierra's Bellevue location in August. The Sierra brand lived on in name only.
After those cuts, which brought mixed emotions to many of Sierra's fans, Vivendi announced that the Sierra brand name and logotype would still be used on Vivendi Games products.
However in 2006, Vivendi announced the formation of a new division of the company, Sierra Online, which is focused on the popular online gaming genre. In June 2006, the Sierra website was revamped which listed Massive Entertainment, Swordfish Studios, Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios as being Sierra development groups.
Sierra and its development studios continued to be successful with games such as 50 Cent: Bullet Proof, SWAT 4, and Spyro the Dragon.
Blizzard Activision later dropped the Sierra brand name, and the website now directs to the Blizzard Activision website.
Companies under the Sierra umbrella
Fully-owned subsidiaries of Sierra
- Impressions Software Inc.
- Papyrus Design Group
- Coktel Vision
- Dynamix Inc.
- Pyrotechnix Inc.
- Arion Software
- Books That Work, Inc.
- Headgate Studios
- Berkely Systems Inc.
- Green Thumb Software
Companies for which Sierra publishes
- Game Arts
- Breakaway Games
- Relic Entertainment
- Stainless Steel Studios
- Mystery House (1980, produced in 1979, re-released by SierraVenture in 1982)
- Mission Asteroid (1980, re-released by SierraVenture, 1982))
- The Wizard and the Princess / Adventure in Serenia (1980, re-released by SierraVenture in 1982)
- Cranston Manor (1981)
- Ulysses and the Golden Fleece (1981, re-released by SierraVenture in 1982)
- Time Zone (computer game)|Time Zone (1982 (produced in 1981, re-released by SierraVenture in 1982)
- Dark Crystal (1982)
- Gelfling Adventure (1984)
- Mickey's Space Adventure (1984)
- The Black Cauldron (computer game)|The Black Cauldron (1984, re-released in 1986)
- Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood (1986)
- Dragon's Keep (1983)
- Troll's Tale (1983)
- Bop-A-Bet (1983), the cult classic
- Gold Rush! (1988)
- Codename: Iceman (1989)
- The Adventures of Willy Beamish (1991)
- Freddy Pharkas Frontier Pharmacist (1993)
- Betrayal at Krondor (1993)
- Slater & Charlie Go Camping (1993)
- Urban Runner (1995)
- Torin's Passage (1995)
- Rama (1996)
- Lighthouse: The Dark Being (1996)
- Betrayal in Antara (1997)
- King's Quest series
- King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown (1984, produced in 1983, re-released in 1987, improved version 1989)
- King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne (1985)
- King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human (1986)
- King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella (1988)
- King's Quest V: Absence Makes The Heart Go Yonder (1990, CD-ROM version 1991)
- King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992, CD-ROM version 1993)
- King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride (1994)
- King's Quest VIII: Mask of Eternity (1998)
- Space Quest series
- Space Quest I: The Sarien Encounter (1986, improved version 1990)
- Space Quest II: Vohaul's Revenge (1987)
- Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon (1989)
- Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers (1991)
- Space Quest V: Roger Wilco in the Next Mutation (1993)
- Space Quest VI: The Spinal Frontier (1995)
- Leisure Suit Larry series
- Softporn Adventure (1981, precursor to Leisure Suit Larry)
- Leisure Suit Larry In the Land of the Lounge Lizards / Leisure Suit Larry 1 (1987, improved version in 1991)
- Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (In Several Wrong Places) / Leisure Suit Larry 2 (1988)
- Leisure Suit Larry 3: Passionate Patti in Pursuit of the Pulsating Pectorals (1989)
- Leisure Suit Larry 4 (unwritten, unreleased)
- Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work (1991)
- Laffer Utilities (1992)
- Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out! (1993)
- Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail (1995)
- Leisure Suit Larry's Casino (1998)
- Leisure Suit Larry 8: Lust in Space (unreleased)
- Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (2004), not by Al Lowe
- Police Quest series
- Police Quest: In Pursuit of the Death Angel (1987, improved version in 1991)
- Police Quest II: The Vengeance (1988)
- Police Quest III: The Kindred (1990)
- Police Quest IV: Open Season (1993)
- Manhunter series
- Manhunter: New York (1988)
- Manhunter 2: San Francisco (1989)
- Laura Bow series
- The Colonel's Bequest (1989)
- Laura Bow II: The Dagger of Amon Ra (1991)
- Conquests series
- Conquests of Camelot: King Arthur, The Search for the Grail (1989)
- Conquests of the Longbow: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1992)
- Quest for Glory series (formerly Hero's Quest)
- Quest for Glory I (a.k.a. Hero's Quest I): So You Want to be a Hero (1989, enhanced version in 1991)
- Quest for Glory II (a.k.a. Hero's Quest II): Trial by Fire (1990)
- Quest for Glory III: Wages of War (1992)
- Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness (1994)
- Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire (1998)
- EcoQuest series
- EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus (1991)
- EcoQuest 2: Lost Secret of the Rainforest (1993)
- Gabriel Knight series
- Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993)
- Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within (1995)
- Gabriel Knight: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (1999)
- Phantasmagoria series
- Phantasmagoria (1995)
- Phantasmagoria II: A Puzzle of Flesh (1996)
- Shivers series
- Shivers (1996)
- Shivers II: Harvest of Souls (1997)
Other notable games
- Ultima II: Revenge of the Enchantress
- The Incredible Toon Machine (a.k.a. Sid & Al's Incredible Toons)
- No One Lives Forever (series)
- Red Baron (game)|Red Baron
- Aces of the Pacific
- SWAT Series|SWAT (series)
- NASCAR Racing
- Tribes: Aerial Assault
- Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
- Jones in the Fast Lane (1991)
- Quarky & Quaysoo's Turbo Science (1992)
- Half-Life and Half-Life 2
- Dr. Brain series
- Castle of Dr. Brain (1991)
- Island of Dr. Brain (1992)
- The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain (1995)
- The Time Warp of Dr. Brain (1996)
- Dr. Brain Thinking Games: Puzzle Madness (1998)
- The Incredible Machine series
- The Incredible Machine (1992)
- The Incredible Machine 2 (1994)
- The Incredible Machine 3.0 (1995)
- The Even More Incredible Machine (1996)
- Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions (2000)
- The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions (2001)
- City Building Series
- Caesar (1993)
- Caesar II (1995)
- Caesar III (1998)
- Pharaoh (1999) and Queen Of The Nile (2000)
- Zeus: Master of Olympus (2001) and Poseidon (2002)
- Emperor: Rise Of The Middle Kingdom (2003)
- Outpost series
- Outpost (1994)
- Outpost 2: Divided Destiny (1997)
- Hoyle's series
- Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 1 (1989)
- Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 2 (1990)
- Hoyle's Official Book of Games: Volume 3 (1991)
- Hoyle Casino
- Hoyle Board Games
- Hoyle Card Games
- Hoyle Kids Games
- Hoyle Puzzle Games
- Hoyle Table Games
- Hoyle Solitaire (1996)
- Hoyle Majestic Chess (2003)
- Hoyle Backgammon and Cribbage (1999)
- Hoyle Casino Empire (2002)
- Sierra Omnipedia - A fandom wiki filled with information on Sierra
- Moby Games, Sierra - Moby Games' information on Sierra games.
- GameFAQs, Sierra Entertainment - An archive of walkthroughs and game hints.
- Museum of Computer Adventure Game History, Sierra - A collector's website that features screenshots, pictures, scans and physical items from computer adventure games.
Sierra Related Websites
- Sierra Chest - A fan site dedicated to preserving and the legacy of Sierra through its many incarnations.
- Sierra Help - Keeping the Sierra classics alive on modern computers with manuals, hints, patches, and other utilities.
- Sierra Gamers - A fan site maintained by Ken Williams, founder of Sierra.
- Sierra Interaction A preservation of InterAction magazine.
Sierra Patches & Sound Drivers
- Wayback Machine, Geocities, belzorash - Script code patches for Sierra SCI games.
- Wayback Machine, Gabriel Knight 2000 - Patches from Enrico Rolfi for the Gabriel Knight series of games.
- Squirt the Cat - Updates to run SCI3 based games on XP/Vista
- Vogons, Sierra/Dynamix sound driver hacking - Community efforts to hack Sierra/Dynamix sound/music drivers to fix issues and add new features.
- Sierra Voyd - Michael C. Maggio's Sierra General MIDI Driver w/ SFX support.
- Rarefied, SCI Sound Drivers - Ravi Iyengar's GM sound drivers for SCI0 and SCI1 Sierra games
Sierra Fansites & Communities
- Sierra Help, Forums - The Official Forums for Sierra Help.
- Benshoof's Blog - A blog that focuses on newly discovered Easter eggs.
- akril15, Sierra Resources - A small site that covers unused Sierra's Resource Files.
- AGI Wiki, Sierra Help - A Wiki for the AGI Programming Community.
- SCI Wiki, Sierra Help - A Wiki for the SCI Programming Community.
- SCIprogramming.com - A community based around creating SCI0 games using the same engine Sierra used.
- Sierra Planet - A fan site containing archives of various Sierra-related websites.
- Sierra Wallpaper - A fan site filled with high quality screenshots to act as wallpaper.
Sierra On-line Facebook Pages
- Facebook, Sierra Chest
- Facebook, The Sierra Help Pages
- Facebook, Sierra On-Line Universe
- Facebook, Sierra On-Line Universe Group
- Facebook, Sierra On-Line alums
- Facebook, Sierra On-Line History
- Facebook, The Sierra Adventure
- Facebook, Sierra On-line (Askmeaboutpuzzles)
- Facebook, The Art of Sierra
- Midi Music Adventures, The QuestStudios Archive - A Quest Studio archive fan site, mainly containing MIDI music (and some MP3/OGG soundtracks too) recorded from Sierra games, as well as other Sierra-related materials.
- Quest Studios Archive Supplement - A Quest Studio archive fan site.
- Sierra Music Central - A fan site, containing MP3/OGG soundtracks recorded from Sierra game.
- Quest Studios - A former fan site that's now a multimedia production service specializing in HD video editing.
The Cutting Room Floor
- The Cutting Room Floor, Games developed by Sierra On-Line - An archive of unused content.
- The Cutting Room Floor, Games published by Sierra On-Line - An archive of unused content.
- The Cutting Room Floor, Games published by Sierra Entertainment - An archive of unused content.