Back in 2011, Telltale Games (the folks behind the excellent Walking Dead episodic game that won pretty much every award last year that Journey didn’t) announced that they had acquired the license for the King’s Quest franchise from Activision, and that they were planning to develop new games. King’s Quest was one of the early parser based adventure games that made then developer and publisher Sierra a household name. Vivendi, Sierra’s parent company, eventually went on to be purchased by Activision, who took ownership of the many Sierra adventure game franchises.
During the recent GDC it was revealed that Telltale has abandoned any attempt at reviving the King’s Quest franchise. That’s largely due to them not having the resourced to cover a second season of The Walking Dead on top of the new Fables series of episodic games. As a result of this, Activision has reacquired ownership of the King’s Quest franchise.
Also revealed at GDC was that Replay Games attempted to license the King’s Quest franchise from Telltale. Replay Games is the company that is currently remaking Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards.
Once Replay found out that the King’s Quest franchise had reverted back to Activision ownership, they approached Activision to license the series for a remake of the franchise. Replay president Paul Trowe received a negative response from Activision and was told: “No, we’re pulling it [the license from Telltale] because we’re going to do it ourselves.”
So, from the sounds of things, Activision has plans for a future King’s Quest game. Those plans are obviously solid enough for them to deny an outside developer licensing rights. This could mean anything from a new King’s Quest adventure game, to a new genre spin-off, to an iOS/Android port of the originals. Who knows? Activision certainly does, but they’re remaining quiet for now.