Lori Ann Cole (b. December 10, 1955), one half of the Coles, is the creator, designer and writer for the Quest for Glory series and Hero-U. Lori has designed and written the entire series as well as Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption. She also had a voicing role in the CD-ROM version of King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder! as Queen Isabella, provided additional material for The Castle of Dr. Brain, and was filmed as a variety of characters for Police Quest: SWAT 2. Other works include Mixed-Up Fairy Tales, Shannara, and Bolt Riley: A Reggae Adventure.
She is the one who wrote the lore for the Quest for Glory series, including most of the text in the games and most of the material in the hint books. She's often in cooperation with her husband, professional game programmer Corey Cole. Their team was later named Transolar Games. Lori also maintains a photography and Web design studio known as FAR Studio.
Lori Ann's varied background includes elementary education, film animation, and writing. A fanatic gamer and role-player, Lori was introduced to RPGs during the Phoenix World Sciıence Fiction Convention of 1978. She first met Corey at such a Convention thanks to their love for TTRPGs and together co-published a fanzine devoted to the subject. She coordinated Fantasy Games at various SF Cons.
After years of crafting their own D&D campaigns, they soon became interested in creating computer games. Their opportunity came when their friend and Sierra On-Line artist Carolly Hauksdottir told them that the company was looking for new game designers. The Coles both applied for the job as freelancers, with Lori as a game designer and Corey as a programmer.
Lori decided to turn her tabletop experiences into a hybrid role-playing/adventure game. "Hero's Quest" was first proposed to Sierra in August 1988, and it was green lit in late December. Lori directed and wrote for the project while Corey was the lead programmer for the team. Lori also authored the manuals and the hint guides.
Hero's Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero was first published in October 1989 on 3.5" floppy discs. However, it was soon discovered that Milton Bradley company had already trademarked the name "HeroQuest" for their board game. The series' name was changed to Quest for Glory, and the game was later re-released as Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero. The first game was a success in the end, selling over 250,000 copies and Computer Gaming World declaring it "Adventure Game of the Year".
The series went into a brief hiatus as the Coles worked on other projects. Lori soon returned as writer and director when work finally began on the third game, but Corey was too busy working on The Castle of Dr. Brain and other projects, so he is only credited as co-designer.
Quest for Glory III: Shadows of Darkness was teased at the end of Trial by Fire. As the game was being planned out, it was determined that the Hero wouldn't be ready to face such dark themes. In its place, Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, released in August 1992, was inserted into the canon to prepare the Hero even further. While some fans had mixed reactions to the change in direction as well as the new point and click interface, Computer Gaming World gave the title high praise for its VGA graphics and soundtrack.
With Shadows of Darkness finally coming along as the fourth installment, the Coles got to share credits as writers, designers, and directors. They also wrote of the manual, "HERO: The Journal of General Job Adjusting."
Dropping the roman numeral four, Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness was first published in December 1993 on floppy discs. Unfortunately, late gaming development forced Sierra to ship the game with inadequate testing. The first version of the game was riddled with game breaking bugs, and Sierra had to put out patches to mitigate the issues. However, the game was later moved onto the CD format that vastly improved the original release. Not only did the programmers have time to fix most of the bugs, Shadows of Darkness became the first game in the series to feature professional voice acting. While Scorpia magazine criticized the title for its bugs and puzzle designs in their April 1994 issue, Computer Gaming World referred to it as "...another award winning adventure." Lori has often cited Shadows of Darkness as her favorite game in the Quest for Glory series.
Lori also worked with Paula Spiese on writing the Quest for Glory: The Authorized Strategy Guide, and it was published in February 21, 1994.
During her years with Sierra, the Coles were freelance contractors working for royalties. When the fifth game of the Quest for Glory series was about to be cancelled, Lori and Corey formed FAR Productions and created Shannara for Legend Entertainment on July 1995. Meanwhile, fans of Quest for Glory organized a mail campaign to convince Sierra to make Quest for Glory V with its creators. Lori was rehired in 1996 as an employee while Corey would rejoin a year later.
She served in the development team for Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire as the designer and documentation writer. The game was released in November 30, 1998.
- 1989: Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero - director, writer (Sierra)
- 1990: Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire - co-designer, writer, FACS Manual Writer (Sierra)
- 1990: King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder - voice actor (Queen Isabella) (Sierra)
- 1991: Mixed-Up Fairy Tales - designer, director (Sierra)
- 1991: Castle of Dr. Brain - additional material (Sierra)
- 1992: Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero - director, co-designer (Sierra)
- 1992: Quest for Glory III: Wages of War - co-designer, director, writer, voice actor (Sierra)
- 1993: Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness - co-designer, co-director, co-writer (Sierra)
- 1994: Space Quest (Collector's Edition) - Video (Sierra)
- 1995: Shannara - co-designer, writer, manual, dialogue, voiceover direction (Far Studio)
- 1998: Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire - designer, documentation writer, website design (Sierra)
- 1998: Police Quest: SWAT 2 - photograph model for a character (Sierra)
- 2011: King's Quest III Redux: To Heir is Human - voice actor (Smaude) (AGD Interactive)
- 2016: Bolt Riley: A Reggae Adventure - game designer (Corbomite Games)
- 2018: Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption - creator, co-designer, co-writer, programmer (Transolar Games)
- 2013: Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok (Crystal Shard)
- 2014: Quest for Infamy (Infamous Quests)
- In a 2003 interview, Cole said, "My favorite game is Shadows of Darkness. It had the proper moods of sombre and silly, scary and magical. It brought back Ad Avis to plague the hero, and introduced the tragic villain of Katrina. It even had the tragic sacrifice of the monster Toby that foreshadows the ending. The game had the strongest of the stories, and put the player in the greatest of dangers without friends or allies." For many fans of the series, however, Shadow of Darkness received many criticisms due to large number of bugs in the game, making it nearly unplayable—a fact which she also acknowledged, "If you could make it past the thousands of bugs, it was a great game." (Patches are available for most of the bugs at this point.)
- Lori has a cameo headshot in SWAT 2. She has also worked on a text adventure game featuring the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School, from which the hero in the Quest for Glory games graduated.
- She also wrote a blog with posts such as Women of Glory series.
Lori Ann Cole Interviews
- Adventure Classic Gaming, Interview with Lori Ann Cole 2003
- Adventure Classic Gaming, Interview with Lori Ann Cole 2008
- Dos Game Club, Interview with the Coles 2017
- Youtube, Matt Barton Interviews Lori and Corey Cole 2017
- Adventure Gamers, Lori and Corey Cole, An Excerpt from the Art of Point-and-Click Adventure Games