Quest for Glory Omnipedia
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Quest for Glory is a series of hybrid Fantasy RPG/Adventure games created and designed by the Coles (Lori Ann Cole and Corey Cole) from 1989 to 1998. Originally called Hero's Quest, this five part series features inventory-based puzzles, RPG elements, close combat, and a sense of humor. They also include themes and characters borrowed from various legends and mythologies from all over the world. The first four games were developed and produced by Sierra On-Line while the fifth game was made by Yosemite Entertainment. The franchise is currently owned by Activision.

The Quest for Glory 1-5 pack can be purchased at Good Old Games and Steam Store. The original physical copies of the games are a little harder to obtain, but they can be found at online stores such as Amazon and EBay. Fan games of Quest for Glory and games inspired by it can also be found here in the Fan Main Page.

List of Quest for Glory Games[]

Official Games[]

*Originally released as Hero's Quest: So You Want to Be a Hero.

**A CD-ROM version of the game was released a year later that featured voices among other small changes.

Quest for Glory Compilations[]

Gameplay[]

The gameplay standards established in earlier Sierra adventure games were enhanced by the player's ability to choose his character's career path from among the three traditional role-playing game backgrounds: fighter, magic-user/wizard and thief. Further variation was added by the ability to customize the Hero's abilities, including the option of selecting skills normally reserved for another character class, leading to unique combinations often referred to as "hybrid characters". During the second or third games, a character could be initiated as a Paladin by performing honorable actions, changing his class and abilities and receiving a unique sword. This would apply when the character is exported into later games. Any character that finished any game in the series (except Dragon Fire, the last in the series) could be exported to a more recent game (Shadows of Darkness has a glitch which allows one to import characters from the same game), keeping the stats and parts of the inventory. If the character received the paladin sword, he would keep the magic sword (Soulforge or Piotyr's Sword) and special paladin magic abilities. A character imported into a later game in the series from any other game could be assigned any character class, including Paladin.

Each career path had its own strengths and weaknesses, scenarios unique to those that possess the skills associated with it. Each class also had its own distinct way to solve various in-game puzzles, which encouraged replay: some puzzles had up to four different solutions. For instance, if a door is closed, instead of lockpicking or casting an open spell, the fighter can simply knock down the door. The magic user and the thief are both non-confrontational characters, as they lack the close range ability of the fighter, but are better able to attack from a distance, using daggers or spells. An example of these separate paths can be seen early in the first game. A gold ring belonging to the healer rests in a nest on top of a tree; fighters might make it fall by hurling rocks, thieves may want to climb the tree, while a magic user can simply cast the fetch spell to retrieve the nest, and then, while the fighter and magic user return the ring for a reward, the thief can choose between returning or selling the same ring in the thieves' guild (which is not available for those not possessing the "thieving" skills).

While it possible to build (over the course of several games) a character that has points in (or masters) every skill in the game and can therefore perform nearly every task, doing so would require a lot of effort.

Each character class featured special abilities unique to that class, as well as a shared set of attributes which could be developed by performing tasks and completing quests. In general, for a particular game the maximum value which can be reached for an ability is 100*[the number of that game]. Quest for Glory V allows stat bonuses which can push an attribute over the maximum and lets certain classes raise certain attributes beyond the normal limits. Quest for Glory V also features special kinds of equipment which lower some stats while raising others. At the beginning of each game, the player may assign points to certain attributes, and certain classes only have specific attributes enabled, although skills can be added for an extra cost.

General attributes influence all characters classes and how they interact with objects and other people in the game; high values in strength allows to move heavier objects and communication helps with bargaining goods with sellers. These attributes are changed by performing actions related to the skill; climbing a tree eventually increases the skill value in climb, running increases vitality, and so on. There are also complementing skills which are only of associated with some classes; parry (the ability to block a blow with the sword), for instance, is mainly used by fighters and paladins, lock picking and sneaking thief's hobby, and the ability to cast magic spells is usually associated with magic user.

Vital statistics are depleted by performing some actions. Health (determined by strength and vitality) determines the hit points of the character, which decreases when the player is attacked or harms himself. Stamina (based on agility and vitality) limits the number of actions (exercise, fighting, running, etc...) the character is able to perform before needing rest or risking injury. Mana is only required by characters with skill in magic, and is calculated according to the character's intelligence and magic attributes.

Puzzle and Experience points only show the development of the player and his progress in the game, though in the first game also affected the kind of random encounters a player faces, as some monsters only appear after a certain level of experience is reached.

Storyline[]

Quest for Glory tells the story of a young blonde man (Devon Aidendale in the Quest for Glory Authorized Strategy Guide) who wishes to become a Hero. Seeking fame, fortune, honor and glory, the Hero must traverse and conquer the many dangers that trouble the fantasy world of Gloriana. The world is filled with a variety of countries to visit and many cultures to explore. This includes the Germanic region of Spielburg Valley, the Arabian sands of the Shapeirian Desert, the African jungles of East Fricana, the Slavic Land of Mordavia, and the ancient Greek Kingdom of Silmaria.

Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero[]

The ogress spellcaster Baba Yaga has placed a curse upon the valley Barony of Spielburg and its ruler Baron Stefan von Spielburg. The land has been ravaged by monsters, the people lives are threatened by the ruthless brigands, and the Baron's two children have vanished. A graduate of the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School, an unknown adventurer must step forth to lift curse that plagues the Valley of Spielburg and become a Hero.

The original EGA game was released in 1989 while a VGA remake, Quest for Glory I: So You Want to Be a Hero, was published in 1992.

Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire[]

Abdulla Doo, Shameen and Shema brings the Hero of Spieburg on a magic carpet to the deserts of Shapeir. The twin cities of Shapeir and Raseir are in turmoil; Raseir has fallen under tyranny rule after the disappearance of Emir Arus Al-din and Shapeir faces the threat of four magical elementals who were conjured by a wicked wizard. The Hero has but 30 days to defeat the elementals, free the city Raseir, and save the land from uncertain doom.

Quest for Glory III: Wages of War[]

Entering a portal, the Hero (now Prince of Shapeir) joins Rakeesh and Uhura to their respective homelands of Tarna and the Simbani Village in East Fricana. Tarna is stuck in the middle as the Simbani and the Leopardmen are on the brink of war, with a peace mission going completely awry and both tribes stealing a sacred relic from one other. The Hero must prevent the war and stop an evil demon who may be on the loose.

Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness[]

After his victory in the Lost City, the Hero is suddenly teleported into a dark cave without explanation. He soon discovers that he is in the distant land of Mordavia, an eastern valley that's plagued by dangerous monsters, shambling undead and dark magic. Well traveled and experienced from all of his adventures, the Hero is ready to face a dark power who wishes to bring eternal darkness into the world.

Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire[]

Erasmus brings the Hero to the Kingdom of Silmaria, where King Justinian was recently assassinated. The Council are hosting the Rites of Rulership, in which five heroes compete by completing seven challenges in order to earn their place on the throne. With the assistance of many old friends and returning allies, will the Hero triumph over the seven rites to win the crown and uncover the conspiracy behind the previous king's death?

History[]

1988-1990[]

Lori and Corey were always advent players of Dungeons & Dragons. 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. While the Coles both applied for the job as freelancers, Ken Williams was not interested in hiring Corey at first. However, he would be hired as a programmer after showing his expertise in programming for the Atari ST.

"Hero's Quest" was first proposed to Sierra in August 1988, and it was to be a tetralogy (consisting of four games) that followed the themes and cycles. This consisted of the four cardinal directions, the four classical elements, the four seasons and four different mythologies.

It was green lit at around December of that year. Using the SCI0 Interpreter engine, the original EGA game had 16 colors only for the graphics and used a parser interface in which players had to type in their commands to perform actions, talk to NPCs, and search around the area. Lori directed and wrote for the project while Corey was the lead programmer for the team. Guruka Singh Khalsa acted as producer while the music was written by Mark Seibert, who composed several well known tracks such as "Main Theme," "The Hero's March," and "Erana's Peace". The soundtrack was made using the Roland MT-32.

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 second game had the Coles and Guruka maintain their roles, with Kenn Nishiuye acting as art director and Chris Braymen as a composer. It was the last Sierra game to use the SCI0 Interpreter before moving on to the SCI1 Interpreter for future installments. Quest for Glory II: Trail by Fire was released in November of 1990, selling over 100,000 copies, and earning SPA Certified Gold.

1991-1994[]

The series went into a brief hiatus as the Coles worked on other projects. When work finally began on the third game, Corey was working on The Castle of Dr. Brain, was put in charge of the educational games group, and was also assigned to help port some of Sierra's titles onto the Sega CD. Because he was so busy, he is only credited as a co-designer.

Lori once again was writer and director, with Oliver Brelsford filling in as lead programmer, and Tammy Dargan as a producer. Since general midi became the new standard, Rudy Helm wrote the music using the Roland SC-55. Using the SCI1 Interpreter, the VGA engine allowed for more realistic art and animations using 256 colors and it used a "point and click" interface that allowed users to perform actions through a selection of icons (Walk, Talk, Look, Hand, and Inventory). Most of the sprites and animations were done by video capturing various employees within the company, and then the images are rotoscoped pixel by pixel by an artist to improve the quality.

As this was going on, a VGA remake of Quest for Glory: So You Want to Be a Hero was also being worked on, with the game being published on July 1992. A remake of Quest for Glory II: Trail by Fire was considered, but the idea was scrapped for financial reasons.

Quest for Glory III: Shadows of Darkness was teased at the end of Trail 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 it's graphics and soundtrack.

With Shadows of Darkness finally coming along as the fourth installment, this would mark as the only game that Corey worked full time as a designer and writer rather than a programmer. The Coles shares credits as writers, designers, and directors of this game and writers of the manual, "Hero: The Journal of General Job Adjusting." Henry Yu was put in charge as lead programmer while Aubrey Hodges provided the game's music using the Roland SC-55-mkII. Using the SCI2 Interpreter, this slight upgrade allowed for higher resolution for the art and proper scaling when characters moved.

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. While Scorpia magazine criticized the title for these problems in their April 1994 issue, Computer Gaming World still referred to it as "...another award winning adventure."

Shadows of Darkness was later moved onto the CD-ROM 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, with John Rhys-Davies as the narrator and Jennifer Hale in her first voice acting role as Katrina. Rhys-Davies' part took more than three weeks to record, causing him to refer to the game as the "CD-ROM from Hell". Stu Rosen, who was also the voice for the inn keeper Yuri, served as the voice director while Corey helped with the voice recordings.

Lori has often cited Shadows of Darkness as her favorite game in the Quest for Glory series.

Plans for the fifth installment started in 1994 under the title, Quest for Glory V: Hero's Crown. Throughout their years with Sierra, the Coles were a freelance contractors working for royalties. After they were denied a higher budget and a bigger team, Lori and Corey decided to form FAR Productions to make games for other for other publishers. Sierra soon broke their contracts with the Cole as they were included in the series of layoffs that occurred that year.

1995-1998[]

FAR Productions developed a computer game adaptation of Shannara, a fantasy book series by Terry Brooks, and it was published by 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 original creators. Lori was rehired in 1996 as an employee while Corey would rejoin a year later. Because he joined late in the game's creation, his contributions were limited.

Around this time, Sierra released Quest for Glory Anthology that same year.

Yosemite Entertainment were the development team behind Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire. Lori acted as the designer and documentation writer while Corey served a bit as a programmer and a system software engineer. Entering the world of 3D for the first time, the developers originally used a voxel engine. Due to hardware limitations, it was later changed to a 3D engine created by Eric Lengyel. Since they were no longer restricted to a 2D space, the gameplay was changed to an action RPG with elements adventure sprinkled throughout. The music was scored by Emmy-winning composer Chance Thomas, whose soundtrack was included on a CD and also made briefly available on MP3.com. The music CD sold 50,000 copies.

There were plans to implement bow weapons and multiplayer with selectable characters. The game's multiplayer was even shown in the demo that was included in Quest For Glory Collection Series. Because of deadline issues and financial pressures, these features were ultimately cut from the final game. Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire was finally published by Sierra FX in November 30, 1998. The game received mixed reactions from players while critics were a bit more generous, with CNET Gamecenter nominating it for their 1998 "Adventure Game of the Year" award.

Several patches were made that fixed some problems with the early release of Dragon Fire. There were also plans to create a mission pack expansion for the game as well as re-implementing features that were previously removed. However, Yosemite Entertainment was was closed down on February 22, 1999 during the major fallout from CUC's acquisition of Sierra. This marked the end of the Quest for Glory series.

Original Concept[]

Originally, the series was supposed to be a tetralogy, consisting of 4 games, with the following themes and cycles: the 4 cardinal directions, the 4 classical elements, the 4 seasons and 4 different mythologies.

This is what the creators originally had in mind:

Game Cardinal
Direction
Central
Element
Season Central
Mythology
Quest for Glory I: So You Want To Be A Hero North Earth Spring Germanic
Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire South Fire Summer Middle Eastern
Quest for Glory III: Shadows of Darkness East Air Fall Slavic
Quest for Glory IV: Dragon Fire West Water Winter Greek

However, when Shadows of Darkness was designed, it was thought that it would be too difficult for the hero to go straight from Shapeir to Mordavia and defeat the Dark One. To solve the problem, a new game, Wages of War, was inserted into the canon, and caused a renumbering of the series. Evidence for this can be found in the end of Trial by Fire: the player is told that the next game will be Shadows of Darkness and a fanged vampyric moon is shown, to hint at the next game's theme.

They talked about it in the Fall 1992 issue of Sierra's InterAction magazine, and an online chat room:

“When we developed the concept for the series,” explained Corey, “we wanted some unifying themes for the story. We worked with the four seasons, the four basic elements - Earth, Air, Fire, and Water - and the four cardinal points of the compass. We planned to create four games to follow these elements.

“The first game - So You Want to be a Hero - is springtime and Earth and set in medieval Germany in the North. The second game - Trial by Fire - was the element of Fire, in the summer, and set in the South, in Arabia."

“The original third chapter,” added Lori, “was to be Shadows of Darkness, set in Transylvania - the East - and in the Fall, using Air as the central element.”

Somewhere between finishing Trial by Fire and cranking up the design process for Shadows of Darkness, the husband-and-wife team realized a fifth chapter would have to be added to bridge the games. That chapter became Wages of War.

The concept of seasons in the games represents the maturation of the Hero as he moves from story to story. It's a critical component in a series that - from the very beginning - was designed to be a defined quartet of stories, representing an overall saga with a distinct beginning, middle, and end.

“One of the unifying themes,” explained Corey, “is the growth of your character, going from being an adolescent Hero in the first game to being a young man in the second. You're strong and confident...”

“The third game,” continued Lory, “was to show you as a master of your profession, with the fourth depicting you at the mature peek of your powers.”

In the first episode, the player is a new graduate of the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School, ready to venture out into the springtime of his career and build a rep. It's a light-hearted, exhilarating journey into the unknown that can be replayed three times with three distinct outlooks at puzzle-solving.

In the second chapter - Trial by Fire - the Hero enters the summer of his experience, facing more difficult challenges with more highly-developed skills.While the episode is more serious and dangerous than its predecessor, it retains the enchanting mixture of fantasy, challenge, and humor that made the first game a hit with so many fans.

If all the reasons Lori and Corey found for creating a bridge between Trial by Fire and Shadows of Darkenss. the most compelling was the feeling that the Hero character simply hadn't matured enough to face the very grim challenges awaiting him in Transylvania.

“In terms of role-playing aspects,” said Corey, “Shadows of Darkness is going to be a very difficult game. You'll have very tough opposition from the very beginning of the game.”

“Also,” said Lori, “you'll be very much alone. In Trial by Fire you had a lot of friends to help you. You always had a place to go back to rest. You always had a place of safety until the very end of the game. Once you get into Shadows of Darkness, you're not going to have any sanctuary. You won't be able to trust anyone, because nobody will trust you.

Wages of War is the bridge,” she continues. “You start with people you know to help you along in the beginning. But when push comes to shove, you're the one who's on his own, who has to solve the ultimate mystery. As you go along, just when you think you're all alone, your allies come back to you, but you have to face the final challenge by yourself.”
[1]

Also:

Blackwine: My question is about the world of Gloriana in general. I knew each game was supposed to correspond to a place on a compass (like North, South, East, West) and a season. For example, Spielburg was North, and the season was Spring. Shapeir-South, Summer. Where was Tarna located? Mordavia was Fall, and Silmaria will be winter, but where are they located?
Lori C: Tarna broke the rules. It was in Fricana, which is Africa. We added Wages of War to the series because the game called for it. So we broke our own metaphor.
[2]

External Links[]

References[]

  1. Fall 1992 issue of Sierra's Interaction magazine
  2. Chat Room (archived)
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