Article concerning development of King's Quest I: Quest for the Crown


Josh Mandel started at Sierra On-Line in 1990 as an Assistant Producer, his first project being the SCI remake of King's Quest I.

I worked on King's Quest I -SCI, the remake done in 1990. It was my very first project when I came to Sierra; the game had been languishing for awhile because Roberta was so heavily involved with King's Quest V, which was in progress at the same time. While I was officially titled "Producer," Roberta let me get more hands-on: I rewrote most of the actual game text, added a lot of new responses, and slightly altered some of the puzzles. The original game, groundbreaking as it was, was somewhat terse and brief. I tried to make it more fairytale-ish in its prose, so it would fit in better with the much more detailed King's Quest IV and King's Quest V.

-Josh Mandel.

The 1990 project to revamp the original King's Quest was widely viewed as a critical failure because many reviewers and gamers took offense at what they perceived as an attempt to "destroy the classics." In fact, the project was compared to the controversial practice of "colorizing" classic black-and-white movies. Valid or not, these reactions essentially stopped work on future attempts to modernize later King's Quest installments.

Cut contentEdit

Material relating to taking the magic shield up to the giant, and a death from dragon melting the shield, appear in the games files. This was part of the original version of the game, in which the shield could be picked up early on. These can still be encountered but not in the normal fashion, one can either cheat or return to the dragon after obtaining all three treasures (that is if the dragon wasn't defeated the first time by using the magic ring) or returning to the giant.

Towards the end of the making of King's Quest I -SCI, we had re-orchestrated the final scene in which King Edward dies and King Graham assumes the throne. (The original was a little crude in this area: King Edward would fall over and King Graham would step on him as he walked up to the throne.) We used the same throne room as in King's Quest IV, but the Magic Mirror (one of the three treasures you find during the game) was sitting by the throne rather than in its usual place on the wall, where it figured prominently in King's Quest IV. So I wrote this bit where, as King Edward dies, he says, "I think the Magic Mirror would look best over on that wall" and then points to the wall, sighs, and dies. After Roberta played it, she gently asked if we could change that scene, since she didn't think King Edward would be giving interior decorating tips with his dying breath. I was bummed to have to take it out, but the way Roberta asked was pretty funny. Maybe you had to be there.

-Josh Mandel

Early versions of KQ1 SCI had entirely different screens for the exterior of Castle Daventry. There were no guards present outside the castle gate. As well, the design of the castle walls and the bridges over the moat was different. The castle looked more aged and time-worn than in the final game.

There is also some slightly extended material for Rumplestiltskin, involving blocking him from entering his hut after receiving a gift from him. As the game autoplays this sequence (Graham walks over to Rumplestiltskin to get the gifts, and stands aside as the gnome returns to his hut), this doesn't appear to be accessible in the game normally. It's interesting bit that expands on the gnome's motives for helping the young knight;

"Er, pardon me, Sir Graham, but you're blocking my home. I have other adventurers to help and other puzzles to solve."



SCI Version

Executive Producer Ken Williams

Game Designer Roberta Williams

Producer Josh Mandel

Art Designer William D. Skirvin

Illustrated by Jeff Crowe Cindy Walker Jennifer Shontz

Lead Programmer Jerry Shaw

Programmed by Gary Kamigawachi, Randy MacNeill, Raoul Said, Chad Bye, Oliver Brelsford, Mark Wilden

Development System Jeff Stephenson, Robert E. Heitman, Pablo Ghenis, John Hartin, Dan Foy, Larry Scott, John Rettig, Corinna Abdul Corey Cole, Mark Hood, Eric Hart

Composer Ken Allen

Quality Assurance Chris Carr and the rest of the gang

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