Ken and Roberta Williams, the founders of pioneering game development studio Sierra Online, are getting back into the game (so to speak) with a graphical remake of the groundbreaking text adventure Colossal Cave.
Colossal Cave 3D is not a reboot of an old Sierra game, which some followers were hoping for after the project was released. caused last year. However, it comes from roughly the same time: the original game was developed by Will Crowther and Don Woods and released in 1976, just a few years before Sierra was founded in 1979. The new version will feature comparable gameplay elements, sending players a quest for treasure through 143 underground locations filled with dwarves, trolls, a giant snake, a dragon and even a bear, but this time it will be fully graphic.
“We’ve completely recreated Colossal Cave for the millions of fans who grew up with it and a new generation of gamers,” said Ken Williams. “It takes place in a fully immersive 3D and VR environment for a realistic cave exploration experience meant for the whole family.”
Colossal Cave 3D will be Williams’ first new game project in over 20 years, and it actually came about mainly because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Ken and I were locked up like everyone else,” Roberta Williams told PC Gamer. “Ken was bored and I suggested he write a book about Sierra. The process of writing the book brought back forgotten memories, resulting in Ken deciding to learn Unity and deciding to make a game.
“We had no interest in starting another company. We were just looking for something fun to build and I came up with the idea to honor the game that inspired our company and changed our lives.”
The more they delved into the original game, the more they recognized its depth and why it was so popular back then. “The game is certainly an adventure game, but it also has elements of action, humor, cute and fun characters, it’s scary in places, it has a point system and it’s incredibly challenging,” explained Roberta. “It’s a much better game than they imagined! There’s a lot more to it than they ever would have believed when they started.”
Why is the shortcut URL to their website kensgame.com while Roberta is easily the most famous “face” from the classic Sierra days, the explanation is pretty simple: “Since Ken is the one running the blog, he quickly came up with the URL, but this is really a joint effort!”
Colossal Cave 3D is being shown at GDC, so hopefully we can get a closer look at it in the near future. In the meantime, you can find out more about what’s going on at colosalcave3d. with and check out some art from the game below – and if you want to experience Colossal Cave Adventure in its original glory, you can do so at rickadams.org.