For any old-school PC gamer, the King's Quest series represented one of the cornerstone's to the evolution of the adventure genre. Even though it was a franchise that spawned many sequels, it was one that was eventually left behind as one from yesteryear – but not if the passionate bunch at Phoenix Online Studios have anything to do with it.
Phoenix Online Studios, who was working on a free continuation of the King's Quest series called the Silver Lining, had an agreement since 2005 with Vivendi Universal, the owners of the King's Quest IP, to create an episodic game that was set to be released online this Spring.
With the merging of Activision and Vivendi Universal, the ownership of the King's Quest IP changed hands and now fell to the decision makers at Activision Blizzard. That group must be a different personnel than the ones at Vivendi Universal, as Activision is no longer allowing the continuation of this independently-fueled project.
In a letter on the official site, the Silver Lining Development Team wrote:
February 28th, 2010
To Our Fans:
In 2005, Phoenix Online Studios received a Cease & Desist letter from Vivendi Universal, the owners of the King's Quest IP, in regards to our work on The Silver Lining. We complied with the request, and over the months that followed, we were able to work out a non-commercial fan license with Vivendi that allowed us to continue our work on the game.
We have spent a lot of time recently reworking the material of The Silver Lining into episodic releases, with the first out of a planned five episodes completed, and submitted for review, and had hoped we would be able to bring our game to you, the fans, in the Spring of 2010.
Recently, however, ownership of the Sierra IP changed hands and became the property of Activision. After talks and negotiations in the last few months between ourselves and Activision, they have reached the decision that they are not interested in granting a non-commercial license to The Silver Lining, and have asked that we cease production and take down all related materials on our website.
As before, we must and will comply with this decision, as much as we may wish we could do otherwise.
We cannot say enough how much we appreciate the support we have had over these years from our fans. Without you, we would never have gotten this far. There would be no game to develop, and no one to develop it for. You have been amazing and steadfast, and we will always remember that and appreciate it more than we can say.
Sadly, after eight years of dedicated work and even more dedicated fans, The Silver Lining project is closing down.
What the future holds for us, as individuals or a team, we cannot say. We have an amazing development team, however, filled with talented and hard-working individuals, and we hope the teamwork and rapport we’ve developed won’t go to waste. We hope that when we do know what the future holds for us, our fans will be there to enjoy what we can give them still.
Again, thank you all so much for everything. This has been a long and crazy road, full of more twists than we could’ve anticipated, but more triumphs and wonderful memories than we could’ve ever hoped for. And for that, to all of you and to everyone on our team, we will always be grateful.
The Silver Lining Development Team