|Lori Ann Cole - Game designer|
For today's "Where are they now?" I'd like to talk about Lori Ann Cole, who along with her husband Corey Cole, developed one of my favourite computer games of all time: Quest for Glory. I've raved on quite a bit about them and the game itself in previous articles, so it should come as no shock that I would eventually get around to talking about them with respect to their background and their plans for the future. Today, I'll talk about Lori and next week, Corey :).
Apparently, Lori has quite a diverse background having dabbled in film animation, writing and even elementary education. She started taking an interest in game development once her husband started working for that mecca of graphic adventure games, Sierra On-Line.
Little is known about her pre-Sierra days but what we do know is that she was the writer and designer of the 1989 RPG-adventure Hero's Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero. This was eventually renamed to Quest for Glory due to the original name sounding very similar to the HeroQuest board game published by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop around the same time. The game was a critical success even receiving an Adventure Game of the Year award from magazine Computer Gaming World.
Lori would go on to be a designer on all the Quest for Glory games including 1990's Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire, 1992's Quest for Glory I VGA remake, 1992's Quest for Glory III: Wages of War, 1993's Quest for Glory IV: Shadows of Darkness and 1998's Quest for Glory V: Dragon Fire.
While the Quest for Glory games definitely kept Lori busy, she was also working on other games at Sierra. She designed the 1991 children's game Mixed Up Fairy Tales and even voice acted Queen Isabella for 1990's King's Quest V (and did a really good job of it I might add - sounds totally different to her actual voice)!
It's also worth noting that Lori and Corey Cole didn't only develop games for Sierra but they also developed one for Legend Entertainment called Shannara which was released in 1995. It was around this time that they formed the development studio called FAR Studio which is nowadays used to showcase art, photography and website design by Lori Cole instead.
While I can't find any explicit mention of this, I assume that along with other Sierra adventure game developers, the Coles were most likely laid off in 1999 when Sierra went through a "restructure" (I love it when companies use this term to mean "mass layoffs" - jerks). In the years that followed, Lori continued to work with her photography, art and web design, as well as a website/online community called "The School of Heroes".
Eventually, thanks to the success of other Kickstarter projects by Sierra alumni, Lori and Corey Cole setup their own on 19 October 2012, seeking to raise funds for a new game called Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Yes, you're no doubt aware that I'm a backer of the project and thankfully it managed to slightly exceed its funding goal of $400,000 on 21 November 2012.
Almost two years later and the game isn't quite ready yet, thanks to some earlier issues with development but Lori and Corey Cole are still hard at work on the game and fingers crossed we'll see a release of the game sometime next year (at least that's what I'm hoping :)).
[ Wikipedia: The Coles ]
[ Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Official Website ]
[ Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption Kickstarter Page ]
[ Reddit IAmA dated 31 October 2012 ]
[ MobyGames: Lori Ann Cole ]