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Activision offers Sierra fan site reprieve

Free Space Quest is go!

A fan-run site offering free access to classic Sierra On-Line adventures like King's Quest and Space Quest is back in business after a "kind" compromise was reached with original party-poopers Activision.

Last week Acti's legal team stamped on Sarien.net, insisting the site was guilty of copyright violation.

However, the publisher, who has owned the rights to Sierra IP since 2008, has since had second thoughts.

After receiving the original cease and desist notices, Sarien creator Martin Kool got in touch with Activision to discuss the possibility of continuing his noble endeavour alive in a different form.

Surprise surprise, Acti got back to him with an offer.

"Activision proposed to officially authorise Sarien.net to publish the first game of any series in its multiplayer HTML5 form," explained Kool on his blog.

"As it may generate interest in also playing the games' successors, Sarien.net will provide a link to Steam and other services that offer the full game collections. To me that sounds beyond 'fair enough', and very reasonable.

There's an additional caveat however. The games will no longer be playable on the iPad.

"Also, as Activision may (or may not) choose to provide official releases of these games through the App Store, they requested that all iPad versions of the games be removed," Kool added.

"Now even though it is based upon the same HTML5 technology I also find this request understandable, as I would probably have done the same if I were Activision.

"Then again, if I co-owned Activision instead of Q42, there might've been a World of Space Quest and worldwide free beers on Fridays, but right now this really is a huge step forward and allows games like Space Quest, Police Quest and King's Quest to be played by many people during work hours - err, I mean, in a browser."

There is still a question mark over Leisure Suit Larry however. It turns out that Activision has offloaded the rights for the racy franchise to Codemasters. Kool is awaiting response from the publisher to find out whether that game can stay on Sarien too.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.


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