|Corey Cole - Game Designer and Programmer|
As mentioned in last week's "Where are they now?" article, I'm a big fan of the games developed by Lori Ann Cole and Corey Cole, especially the games in the Quest for Glory series which they're undoubtedly most famous for. Last week was Lori's turn and now it's time for Corey's.
Before joining up with Sierra, Corey Cole was an avid Dungeons & Dragons fan, even managing to sell a module. Both him and his wife Lori were quite active with traditional roleplaying games back in the day but it was not until the late 80s that Corey would get his job at Sierra On-Line. Apparently, a friend that both Lori and Corey knew through science-fiction conventions did contract animation work for Sierra and during a meeting with Ken Williams, she overheard his desire for an "expert tournament-level dungeonmaster" to create a new RPG for Sierra. Lori and Corey's friend, Carolly, managed to organise a phone interview with Ken Williams and when Corey was asked what distinguished him from other game designers, Corey responded that he was an experienced programmer and working on an Atari ST project. Ken immediately invited Corey for a face-to-face interview but not for a designer role, but a programmer role. Corey's first roles at Sierra involved the porting of King's Quest IV (1988) and Space Quest III (1989) to the Atari ST. He would also put his programming skills to use for the entire time he was at Sierra, co-programming new iterations of the SCI engine for use in many Sierra games. By MobyGames's count, Corey is credited on 9 Sierra games where he had worked on its "game development system".
It didn't take long for Quest for Glory to become a reality though as it was only six months after Corey started working at Sierra when his wife, Lori was approached to design a game. Lori and Corey would develop the ground-breaking Hero's Quest: So You Want To Be A Hero (1989), which was renamed to Quest for Glory I to avoid potential copyright infringement. The fact the game was an RPG/Adventure hybrid not only meant it won fans from around the world (I was living in Abu Dhabi at the time), but it garnered critical success too receiving an Adventure Game of the Year award from magazine Computer Gaming World.
Corey would continue to be a programmer and designer for the sequel, Quest for Glory II: Trial by Fire (1990), and designer on Quest for Glory III (1992) and Quest for Glory IV (1993). Corey is also credited for being the "RPG System Engineer" for 1998's Quest for Glory V, the final Quest for Glory game. These aren't the only games he worked on at Sierra though; he was also the Lead Programmer on 1991's Mixed Up Fairy Tales, and Designer and Programmer for 1991's Castle of Dr. Brain (which is notable as being the only Sierra property to be licensed for use on television).
It's also worth nothing 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.
Corey's last role with Sierra was as a programmer for the game Hoyle's Casino which was released in 2000. In the years that followed, Corey worked on a couple of projects such as an open world project called Explorati (closed down after the September 11th attack), an online poker website (which was abandoned when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was passed in the US), 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: Corey Cole ]
[ Ham's Quest for Glory Blog: An Interview with Corey Cole (2011) ]