A while back, Ken Williams (of Sierra) announced working on a new game.
While the official website’s timer has one more hour to go, IGN reports it is a 3D remake of Collosal Cave Adventure, with VR support:
The article makes no mention of Will Crowther or Don Woods.
“While locked down by the pandemic I wrote a book about the old Sierra days. Its success surprised me and brought back many memories of our days making games. This led me to investigating how modern games are made and I just started coding using the Unity game engine for fun,” Ken Williams said in a statement.
“I was looking for something interesting to code when Roberta suggested Colossal Cave. Roberta started to work adapting it to 3D, and I assembled a team. As we dug deeper and deeper into the game we discovered layers of complexity that explain why the game became such an industry phenomena. It has action elements, humor, a scoring system, adventure elements, interesting characters, a huge world to explore and more. This is truly a game that will delight a new generation, and 100% different than anything I’ve seen in the market today.”
The press release make it seem as if they haven’t really paid much attention to the game before, if they only discovered its “complexities” once they started working on the project. It’s a bit of an odd “stuck in the past” approach, but for project that started for fun, I can’t fault it.
ADVENT was Roberta’s first adventure game. AFAIK she became obsessed, then played some Scott Adams, then designed Mystery House.
I don’t think Ken caught the bug at the time, so there would be plenty of complexities for him to discover. For that matter, it would likely look different to Roberta after her own experiences with game development.
If the thing makes money, I would hope Woods and Crowther get their share.
It doesn’t sound like my kind of thing, but I will have to follow regardless and I certainly wish the Williams luck.
We think of Colossal Cave as a cave simulation, but so much of its charm is wordplay. The giant clam that turns out to be a misnamed oyster. The maze rooms that are distinguished by sentence structure. The insight that the graffito “FEE FIE FOE FOO” is four typable magic words. The dragon’s yes-and.
In a graphical environment, how do we render the confusing exits of Witt’s End? How do we show that your inventory matters in the Tight Squeeze? Can you really not move around in the dark?
These are interesting questions! You can have fun thinking about them. I hope Roberta and Ken have had fun thinking about them. But I’d say that the best answers are going to point to a free adaptation of the game.