are adventure games officially “back”?


With the Spaceventure Kickstarter getting successfully funded, nearly every major player in the late 80s-early 90s graphic adventure heyday is back in business in one form or another:

* The Two Guys From Andromeda are starting work on Spaceventure

* Al Lowe is working on a Leisure Suit Larry reboot

* King’s Quest is getting a reboot via Telltale Games

* Telltale is also still producing Monkey Island and Sam & Max episodic games

* Much of the old LucasArts SCUMM crew has been Double Fine for the better part of a decade now, but they got Ron Gilbert on board as well, and have two new adventure games in production

* Lori and Corey Cole say on their homepage they are “helping design and write an adventure game” but can’t give details

* Jane Jensen put out Grey Matter about a year ago, and successfully Kickstarted two new projects recently

So what’s the rubric to determine that adventure games are “back”? Is it a return to the glory days, when a new Sierra or LucasArts flagship release was greeted in the PC gaming community the same way a new Mass Effect or Blizzard game is now? Is it an adventure game with “traditional” structure somehow breaking into the mainstream again and selling millions of copies?

I’m of the opinion that neither of those is a realistic expectation, and the most “back” that adventure games are going to get is about what we have right now; they have enough support amongst longtime gamers that they can be expected to provide a reasonable ROI with a modest budget. I’m actually a little worried that all these old-school designers releasing projects at one time could bury this rising tide of goodwill if most of them turn out to be mediocre; if adventure games firmly re-establish themselves it’s probably going to come from some new developer with an innovative twist on the formula. Not to say I’m not happy to see all these childhood favorites reappearing again, though, and hopefully they all rock.

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