First stop is the King of All Internet Rumors, Fatbabies, who has reported here that “…Sierra was cut virtually in half, with multiple projects being canceled. The Hoyle line will be retained, as all it takes to sell another 400,000 copies is to repackage the thing in a new retail box. Everything else at Sierra was reviewed\’e2\’80\rdblquote no project escaped the microscope.”
They also point out that fan favorite developing house Dynamix has been dismantled and destroyed (Not unlike Red Baron II). Given that fatbabies is prone to exagerration and speculation, lets see what 3D Shoot-Fest Blue’s News has to say about the supposed destruction of Sierra.
“Other reports, including [a] message board post by former Dynamix employee Scott Youngblood, take this a bit further, suggesting that Dynamix, the studio behind TRIBES 2 has actually been shut down. We try not to post things like this until they’re officially confirmed, but we have heard this from multiple sources suggesting that there may be some truth in it.”
Blue’s News reports that after reaching a Sierra representative for comment, they were told that there was in fact, no comment to be made because he/she had personally not been informed of any Dynamix/Sierra layoffs. They cite as their primary source a report on the popular site fuckedcompany.com – famous for its collection and dissemination of corporate expirations. The discussion thread at that site seems less doom-and-gloom, and at least one contributor poses the theory that Havas is simply down-sizing Sierra into just another development studio ala Blizzard North. If this is the case, well nobody should be surprised. Havas doesn’t need a redundant “front office” when all they really wanted was another game producing facility.
WARNING: Editorial Content to follow
When Havas purchased the right to kick Sierra’s ass all around the Upper North West United States, Sierra had a bright future ahead of it. They had an established fan base eager to gobble up the various sporting titles, and they would soon find themselves the owners of such coveted game lisences as Babylon 5 and Lord of the Rings. But then they kicked their sports fans in the nuts by basically lying to them right in the face and running away giddy with their money, and then they futzed around and wound up breaking the bank trying to make a Babylon 5 version of StarFleet Battles (in all fairness, nobody knows what really happened aside from the developers. And even they might not be giving out a balanced perspective of the saga). Finally, they cited vaporous reasons as they dismissed the Middle Earth team, shut down the development, and then secretly began working on a new version – unfortunately, there seems to have been a contract breach in the process (‘seems to have been’ becase we are currently waiting for a federal court case to determine this). The best they could muster was digging up the bones of the long-since-dead Hoyle card game franchise because life just isn’t worth living without yet another 5 thousand ways to play a card game BY MYSELF – and let us not forget the replacement of sporting standards like baseball and football with RODEO BULL RIDING (note: the press release excitedly listed that you could play through an entire career as a bull-rider OR as the bull!!!! KEEN!).
In my opinion, Sierra was terminal about 4 years ago, and Havas was content to keep the life support systems running. I suppose they’re just ready to now say goodbye, and pull the plugs.
And lastly, on a personal note, big shout out to a former Sierra employee who had (has) a great talent for storytelling, for comedy, and for living life like it was a carnival ride. When I was in my early youth, I wrote a moderately successfull BBS based gaming magazine, and Josh Mandel was gracious enough to grant an interview for the inaugural issue. So in a way, he got me started, and if anybody wants to know who to blame for the scourge that is Arcadian Del Sol, you can dig out an old copy of Freddy Pharkas or some of the middle generation King’s Quest games, and look for the name Josh Mandel. If you have the King’s Quest that had all the islands in it (and that embarassingly sappy “Girl in the Tower” pop single), you can even catch of glimpse of Mr. Mandel in the role of “genie in the bottle”.
If not, then accept this subtitute and just pretend that it is Josh.