Fan-Made King's Quest Sequel Halted by Activision

King's Quest IV (1988)
Having already survived one legal scuffle, fan-made King's Quest sequel "The Silver Lining" has again been felled by legalities.

Activision Blizzard--the result of a merger between Activision and King's Quest IP owner Vivendi--has requested that it be halted.

Originally referred to as "King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has A Silver Lining," the unofficial sequel to the long-dormant adventure series was initially halted in 2005 after Vivendi sent the team a cease-and-desist letter. However, the project was revived months later as "The Silver Lining" when Vivendi granted the team a non-commercial fan license to use King's Quest settings.

But this time, "[Activision] have reached the decision that they are not interested in granting a non-commercial license," explained developer Phoenix Online. "We must and will comply with this decision, as much as we may wish we could do otherwise. "

The Silver Lining was initially conceived as a trilogy, but recently transformed into an episodic series. The first of the free five planned episodes was due in spring 2010.

The last commercial King's Quest entry, King's Quest: Mask of Eternity, was released in 1998, with Activision recently re-issuing the first six entries through GOG.

For the sake of posterity, we've archived the development team's letter--dated February 28, 2010--along with the 2005 announcement of the project's resurrection:

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.

Thank You,

The Silver Lining Development Team

In compliance with Activision's request, most of our forums are coming down. However, we are keeping a few new, empty forums open so fans can stay in touch with one another and with us. Please visit: www.tsl-game.com/forum/index.php?topic=8394.0

Fans Convince Vivendi to Allow the Release of the "King's Quest IX" Fan Game

December 12, 2005 - The fan-driven campaign to save King's Quest IX has been successful. On Friday, Vivendi Universal Games announced that they have agreed to allow the fan-made game "King's Quest IX" to be released, under the new title of "The Silver Lining." The group making the game will be granted a fan license.

"We are so thrilled with this news," says Matt Compton, one of the members of the Save King's Quest IX campaign. "We were very hopeful that if we organized the fans of the King's Quest series, we would be able to get Vivendi's attention. It feels so good to know that we were successful in doing that."

The Save King's Quest IX campaign was launched in mid-October, just a few weeks after Vivendi issued a cease and desist order to the fans making the game. The campaign focused on asking fans to send letters and emails to Vivendi, as well as having bloggers write about it.

"There are still many King's Quest fans around the world," says Cat Tyson, another member of the campaign. "We know it means so much to all of them that Vivendi has agreed to allow the game to be released. We've very grateful to Vivendi for this."

King's Quest IX is a fan-created project that has been in development since early 2002, and is based on the King's Quest series of adventure games made by Sierra Online. More than 40 people from around the globe have participated in its creation. Upon completion, the game will be made available as a free download on the game's website, www.kqix.com.

Vivendi issued the following statement on Friday, December 9:

After extensive evaluation, Vivendi Universal Games is pleased to announce that the fan developed trilogy project 'The Silver Lining' (previously known as King's Quest IX: Every Cloak Has A Silver Lining), based on characters from Sierra Entertainment's "King's Quest" series, has been given approval to continue development. We look forward to seeing the first of its three upcoming chapters, 'Shadows', completed soon.