Activision will make Sierra its "indie" label

Activision announced the resurrection of the storied Sierra label last week , bringing it back into action with a new Geometry Wars and a reboot of the old King's Quest series . It was an unexpected move, given the publisher's historic focus on the bottom line and the tiny impact on it that old Sierra adventures are likely to have, but not entirely unpredictable in hindsight. After all, there's gold in them there indie hills.

The very definition of "indie" is hazy, especially these days, but whatever it is, Activision wants a piece of it. "The indie movement is happening," MacLean Marshall of Activision/Sierra told MCV . "And for Activision not to be involved in that... it has the big brands, sure, but I think it would be a miss if we didn't look at the indie movement as well. For us, it is about finding the right devs with the right ideas—whether that is bringing back an old Sierra IP or something entirely new."

There is money to be made, as evidenced by the success of niche publishers— Devolver Digital leaps immediately to mind—and games like Valiant Hearts: The Great War , which practically screams "indie" despite being a Ubisoft release. But what finally convinced Activision to take the plunge, according to Senior Director of External Development Bob Loya, was the advent of digital distribution.

"With digitally distributed games becoming bigger every year, we were able to make a compelling business argument that we could be financially successful doing this, while working with really cool indie talent on great IP," he said.

Bobby Kotick as the next Fork Parker ? Probably not, but given the reach and resources of its parent, Sierra could end up making a very big splash in the indie game game.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.