Heard It In The Hallway (Sierra's Rumor Mill) - Fall 1989

NOTICE: Sierra management takes no responsibility for the following column or its content. Johnny Magpie's writings are frequently wrong or wildly exaggerated. His work is only included because our Senior Editor felt the need to have some writer on staff even more obnoxious and outrageous than PC Magazine's John Dvorak.

By Johnny Magpie

RUMOR MILL IS BACK! The corporate censors tried, but they couldn't stop the power of the people. Despite the fiendish cries of some members of the Sierra upper management team when the last "Rumor Mill" hit the press (Sierra Newsletter, Winter 1988) and the resulting attempts to put the column to rest, Rumor Mill, and me - Johnny Magpie - once again are to be seen in the pages of The Sierra News Magazine. Who cares that more than half of the projects I discussed in the last rumor mill have been "temporarily shelved" or "permanently cancelled" since the last rumor mill went to the press. The column was, according to letters we received, "fun to read", "a good peek into what REALLY goes on at the company" and "more interesting than the President's Corner by a country mile." (Sorry Ken - you had to know.) So here we go.

Is Sierra about to go mass media?
Sierra founders Ken and Roberta Williams have been quoted for years about their intentions to one day take on - and ultimately beat - the powerful television and motion picture industries. Recent rumors around the Sierra hallways leak info of some serious plans afoot by the Williams' on this front. Leisure Suit Larry: The Movie? The hottest rumor around the halls is about plans for a full length movie based on none other than Leisure Suit Larry. While all "official sources" chose to throw this writer out of the office whenever the subject was discussed, rumors of the multi-million dollar production budgeted film, possibly in conjunction with a major studio, have been bandied about. No hint as to a deal signing was present in the Sierra anual report which was released in late July, but as they say in the spy movies, "confidence is high."

Want more mass media rumors?
How about the recent appearance in the Sierra Warehouse of a machine that presses CD's? Not just an average machine, one unnamed source suggested that this new equipment cost in the range of $100,000 to acquire. Could it be that Sierra also has its eye on possible audio products in the future? After all, at $1.95 apiece. it would take a lot of "Live at the Sierra Lounge" casettes to make this purchase pay off otherwise. More dirt on this as we find it!

What happened to those "Two Guys from Andromeda?"
It seems like a scenario from their recent hit Space Quest III. **Scott Murphy
and his design partner Mark Crowe (formally known as "The Two Guys From Andromeda") have vanished from the offices of Sierra On-Line, Inc. Although rumors of their occasional appearance has been aluded to, no one here has seen them in months.

The two guys recently managed to set product introduction records with their best-selling Space Quest III, but their absence from the offices seems of minimal concern to top Sierra management. Questions on their whereabouts are met with blank states and an occasional smirk in the administration wing. "I thought I saw Scott last week at the candy machine," said young Robert Lindsley (former Sysop of the Sierra Bulletin Board), "but it turned out it was only Elvis." Others, like musicians that produce Sierra's hit game music, have been playing the soundtrack to Space Quest III backwards to see if they can find any clues. (Kids - Don't try this at home. It'll destroy your disk drive. -Ed). What's the story behind the disappearing Andromedans? We'll let you know when we do — More on this in future issues.

Coming soon - King's Quest I and a half?
On a recent casual walk by this writer through the hollowed halls of the Sierra development building (before my subsequent capture and expulsion), I happened across young Jeff Crowe (brother of the missing Mark) huddled over a devastatingly beautiful, full color SCI rendition of the castle of King Graham. I was certain this wasn't King's Quest V (no news THAT big could escape my attention), but Jeff would tell me little about what it really was. My guess — Sierra has started development (or is at least researching development) on conversions of it's entire AGI catalog to SCI.

This writer and other employees at Sierra who lived through the devastating video game crash of '84 were put into shock with the recent arrival of King's Quest for none other than the Sega Video Game machine. Those of us who remember Sierra's last venture into video game cartridges about a half decade ago (a business venture that was anything but profitable for Sierra) found ourselves worried about the future of our jobs here in Coarsegold. Could it be that the management hadn't learned that Sierra's future was in computers, not toys?

For once, Sierra president Ken Williams was available for comment. "We are in the COMPUTER software business. We haven't seriously considered making cartridges here, and we won't till IBM starts shipping their PS/2's with a cartridge slot and a joystick." Williams added, "We're happy, though, to talk to any Nintendo, Sega, or other potential licensee willing to do a good job of converting our products to fit on those machines." Williams went on to demonstrate the version of King's Quest produced by Sega under license. To this writer's amazement, although the Sega King's Quest doesn't have the text interface, it was both easy and fun to play. Ken also confirmed rumors that other Sierra titles might be found on other game machines in the future, and pointed out that both Thexder/ and Silpheed were big hits in Japan on the Nintendo Game Machine. More on this to follow. Speaking of Thexder, Game Arts (the original producer of the Thexder game) just released new FIREHAWK: THEXDER II in Japan. Is this hot Japanese title in Sierra's future? Watch here for more details.


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