Sierra Entertainment

From Audiovisual Identity Database


Credits
Descriptions by
EnormousRat and MegaAveron25

Captures by
EnormousRat and MegaAveron25

Editions by
PM pinter and Luigitehplumber

Video captures courtesy of
EnormousRat and Sierra Games


Background

Sierra was a major PC game developer and publisher, most famous for the King's Quest and Leisure Suit Larry series. It was founded in 1979 by Ken and Roberta Williams as On-Line Systems. The company is best known for pioneering the graphic adventure game genre, including their first such game, Mystery House, which was released in 1980 for the Apple II. In 1982, the company moved to Oakhurst, California and was renamed to Sierra On-Line; this name change was inspired by the near Sierra Nevada mountain range, a part of which was incorporated into their iconic logo as well.

In the late 90's, Sierra passed through a series of acquisitions (by CUC International, then Cendant, which was purchased by Havas). In 1998-99, suffering from financial troubles after its founders left the company, Sierra announced an internal restructuring and major layoffs, which included the division of its operations into five separate brands, and some of its sub-studios to be closed. A year later, Havas became a part of Vivendi and was renamed as Vivendi Universal Publishing; Sierra Entertainment (as it was known by then) was formally disestablished as a company afterwards and continued on as a game publishing brand of Vivendi. In 2008, Vivendi Games merged with Activision Publishing to form Activision Blizzard, who then closed Sierra Entertainment. Despite the original studio's closure, the brand itself was revived in 2014 to release some independently developed games and a reboot of the King's Quest series.


On-Line Systems

Contents

(May 5, 1980-1985)  
(May 5, 1980-1985)


Sierra On-Line


Sierra Entertainment


On-Line Systems

(May 5, 1980-1985)

Logo: On a black background, there is a white line going into a circle. Inside the circle is a white/purple outline of a mountain face, with green trees below it. To the right of it is "Sierra" in a small script font and "ON-LINE INC".

Trivia: The mountain seen in this logo is based off Half Dome in the Yosemite National Park, which is located about 14 miles north of Sierra's headquarters in Oakhurst.

Variants:

  • On their first title, the logo is in the middle of the title screen.
  • On the PC port of Wizard and the Princess, the logo draws in on a gray background. Here, the mountain is fully colored and the line and text are pink.
  • The line and mountain may not be seen.
  • On later games, the On-Line Systems logo (which is the same except the mountain is gone and the text reads as "ON-LINE systems") appears in a slash formation with 5 other copies. Each of them have "Presents" below them.

Technique: The shining and the 2 stars, usually.

Music/Sounds: Silent or the opening theme to the game.

Availability: Extremely rare. Seen on their first titles, like Mystery House. It was also used in tandem with the next logo.

Sierra On-Line

1st Logo (1982-1997)

Logo: On a black background, a segmented circle is seen with the same mountain face as before, but represented by contrasting segmented lines. Below it is "SIERRA" in Helvetica.

Variants:

  • Usually, the logo would take up the entire screen, with beveled edges and a shiny look to it. 2 stars ping in time with the music, as well as it occasionally shining. The color differs from game to game, but it's mostly green.
  • On some games, the logo is on a blue background, with each piece sliding in one by one. The name then appears below letter-by-letter, as well as "PRESENTS".
  • Sometimes, the logo starts with the picture of an actual mountain before morphing to the logo, with the name brightening below.
  • Later on, the text was modified to a Times New Roman font, and the logo is smaller and placed to the right sometimes.
  • On other games, a blue furry monster walks in with either the Dynamix logo or byline, before pointing at the logo and saying the name.
  • On the last games, the logo gained a metallic look to it, as well as the Dynamix logo.

Technique: Depends on the game.

Music/Sounds: Starting in 1991, a majestic fanfare with strings which ascend, followed by a 4-note trumpet, and two dings when the stars appear. Other than that, it's silent, or a different fanfare, or the opening music of the game.

Availability: Very common. Can be seen on most of Sierra's games from the time, most notably the King's Quest series.

2nd Logo (1995-1997)

Logo: Starting off with Half Dome at Yosemite National Park with clouds rolling above, they move around as thunder lights them up in the back. The camera then zooms into Half Dome, now with thunder striking it, before it brightens up and a gold circle zooms out slowly to surround it. A duller circle then stops around it, with the second one coming in and with a rainbow coming in from the side. Half Dome becomes gold and the rainbow hits it, turning it into a shining golden Sierra logo. "SIERRA" zooms in from the screen as the light behind it dies down, before popping up again. The logo continues to shine.

Variant: On 1995 installers, the logo appears still. This is likely the very first version of this logo. An abridged version of the standard Sierra tune plays.

Technique: Impressive animation, looking beautiful even under the limits of CD-ROM technology.

Music/Sounds: Some dark flutes playing and thunder sounds, ending in a proud orchestral fanfare.

Availability: The still version appears on installers for Sierra games at the time, around circa 1995. The animated version is only known to appear on the Space Quest Collection Series installer.

Final Note: In 1998, Sierra On-Line split its operarions into five different brands and sub-labels - Sierra Attractions, Sierra Home (which was previously used beforehand), Sierra Sports, Sierra FX and Sierra Studios. It wouldn't be until 2001 when all of them (except for Sierra Home) would be under one brand again.

3rd Logo (August 21, 2001-October 4, 2002)

Logo: On a black background, the 1998 Sierra logo ("SIERRA" in a strange font with a wing of spikes on the "S") in a pinkish silver zooms out letter-by-letter, starting with the "A". The logo also shines brightly the entire time.

Variant:

  • On the GOTY Edition of The Operative: No One Lives Forever and the PS2 port of the same game, the logo is cropped to widescreen.
  • On the GOTY Edition of SWAT 3: Tactical, a copyright date appears below.

Technique: The letters flying and shining.

Music/Sounds: Several sharp flying sounds, then a small whoosh sound.

Availability: Rare due to its short lifespan. Seen on Arcanum, Alien vs Predator 2, The Throne of Darkness, Empire Earth, the GOTY Edition of SWAT 3: Tactical and the GOTY Edition (PC)/PS2 versions of The Operative: No One Lives Forever.

Sierra Entertainment

1st Logo (February 14, 2002-November 21, 2008)

Logo: On a white background, we see the bottom of a snowy mountain. As the white clears to reveal a blue sky, it reveals the familiar mountain with snow and mist all around the reddish rock. As it zooms out, the background fades to black and the mountain fades to the logo, which is a modified version of the familiar mountain still moving in it. When it stops moving, a flurry of snow comes from the corner and takes the logo with it. It then clears out, with the logo fading back in, along with a modified version of the "SIERRA" text from before (minus the wing).

Trivia: The logo was originally produced in a full 16:9 widescreen ratio, however, every Sierra title would use a cropped 4:3 version, which itself was sometimes cropped into a matted widescreen ratio on some games. The only time you ever get to see the true widescreen version is through the warp-speed version introduced in 2006, and it is unknown if any Sierra title used a standard full widescreen version of the logo.

Variants:

  • Software released under the Sierra Home label had this logo with the word "Home" in a cursive font. This print variant was used until 2004, when the Sierra Home label was discontinued.
  • On some games, such as Die Hard: Vendetta, the finished logo fades out early.
  • A still version exists, with the mountain and text in gold.
  • A white-background still version is used on Tribes: Vengeance.
  • On the GBA version of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, it's a still logo over an icy blue background.
  • On the NDS version of Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, the still logo is on a royal blue background.
  • Starting in 2006, the logo plays in warp speed and appears in true widescreen.
    • However, in some cases, like on Ceasar IV and on The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (when set to fullscreen), the logo is cropped, like the original slower version of the logo.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: A flute piece, transitioning into a techno beat that grows louder into an orchestral/choir hit, and then a whoosh when the snowflake cloud appears. None or the opening theme of the game for the still variants.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • The 2006 warp-speed variant uses a condensed version of the soundtrack.
  • There was an early version with a tribal-style remixed soundtrack.

Availability: Very common. While the company was merged into Vivendi Universal Games in 2004, this logo was still used until 2008 as a publishing label.

  • PC-only titles:
    • The first title to use this logo overall was NASCAR Racing 2002 Season, which used the tribal-style track. The first game to use the standard music track was Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza.
    • It has appeared in many PC titles including Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom (matted), No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season (with the tribal track), The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring (with the opening theme), SWAT 4, Empire Earth II, F.E.A.R., Joint Task Force, among others.
      • Contract J.A.C.K., Homeworld 2 and Ground Control II: Operation Exodus all pair this logo with the Vivendi Universal Games logo, where the latter logo appears before the Sierra logo.
    • It was not used on either retail release of Counter-Strike: Condition Zero or Half-Life 2, even though the print logo was present on the packaging. The former game has no opening logos at all, and the latter only has Valve's logo.
    • The Sierra Home variant was seen on Sierra published software from 2002-2004.
    • The last PC game to use the standard version (and overall) was Empire Earth III.
    • The later shorter version was first used on Ceasar IV for PC and is the only PC-only title to use it (the other one, Empire Earth III, uses the full logo), with the other Sierra PC titles also being available on consoles as well.
  • Console/Handheld titles:
    • The first console games to use the logo were Die Hard: Vendetta for the GameCube (the PAL release, which was also on the PS2 and Xbox, uses the NDA Productions logo) and James Cameron's Dark Angel for PS2 and Xbox (which was the logo's console debut in PAL regions). Other console titles that had it were Spyro: A Hero's Tail (PAL PS2 and all Xbox versions, the NTSC PS2 and all GCN versions use the Vivendi Universal Games logo), Cold Winter (PS2), The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (PS2/GameCube/Xbox) Crash Tag Team Racing (PS2/GameCube/Xbox/PSP), Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (PS2/GameCube/Xbox/Wii), and Miami Vice: The Game (PSP). The last console/handheld game to use the standard version was Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem for PSP, which used the matted version.
      • As with some PC titles, the European version of Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death (PS2/GameCube/Xbox/PC), The Hobbit (PS2/GameCube/Xbox/PC, used tribal theme), Metal Arms: Glitch in the System (PS2/GameCube/Xbox) , Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude (PS2/Xbox/PC), Robots (PS2/GameCube/Xbox/PC), and Predator: Concrete Jungle (PS2/Xbox) all pair this logo with the Vivendi Universal Games logo. However they are paired differently. The former three titles pair it with the last VU Games logo, while the latter two titles pair it with the third VU Games logo, and have it appear before rather than after.
    • Many European VU Games titles use Sierra logos on the packaging, but in-game, only the Vivendi Universal Games logo appears.
    • SWAT: Global Strike Team also uses the Sierra logo on the packaging in all regions, but in-game, only Vivendi Universal Games' logo appears.
    • The shorter version appears on Scarface: The World is Yours (PS2/Xbox/PC/Wii), Scarface: Money. Power. Respect. (PSP), the console ports of F.E.A.R. (Xbox 360/PS3), Eragon (PS2/Xbox/Xbox 360/PC), The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning (PS2/GameCube/Xbox), M.A.C.H. Modified Air Combat Heroes (PSP), TimeShift (PS3/Xbox 360/PC), Crash of the Titans (PS2/Wii/Xbox 360/PSP), The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night (PS2/Wii), The Spiderwick Chronicles (PS2/Wii/Xbox 360/PC), Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Conspiracy (PS3/Xbox 360), Crash: Mind Over Mutant (PS2/Wii/Xbox 360/PSP) and The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (PS2/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Wii) (the latter two of which have Activision's logo on US boxes but this logo at the start - PAL copies have the Sierra logo on the boxes).
    • The still version appears on a small selection of titles, such as Tribes: Arial Assault, Tribes: Vengeance Geometry Wars: Galaxies, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
      • This version is more common on GBA and DS titles, appearing on releases such as Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Eragon, and Crash of the Titans, to name a few.

2nd Logo (July 30, 2014-December 20, 2016)

Logo: We see wind blow against a white background as a man clothed in hiking gear, shielding his eyes with his left arm, comes into view. As the wind dies down, we see the Sierra mountain, and the hiker pauses to view it for a moment before running up to it. The camera zooms out, revealing that the hiker animation comes from a series of blue bars. They come together to form a blue, redesigned version of the Sierra mountain emblem as "SIERRA", in a stylized font resembling the one from before, forms underneath it. When the logo is complete, it flashes blue and some frost blows off of it, and the background changes to vignetted black/blue gradient. The small byline "©(year) Activision Publishing, Inc. SIERRA is a trademark of Activision Publishing, Inc." fades in at the bottom of the screen.

Variants:

  • A still version of the finished product appears on the bottom-left corner of the title screen for the iOS version of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions.
  • A shorter version of the logo with only the last part of the animation and no byline appears in trailers for Sierra games. The full version without the byline was used in Shiftlings and the 2015-16 King's Quest reboot series, and on Gasket Studios' Vimeo.

Technique: CGI animation done by Minneapolis-based VFX agency Gasket Studios.

Music/Sounds: Wind blowing sounds are heard throughout the logo. Near the end, there are some whooshes and a deep "boom" (not unlike the 2001 logo) as the logo comes together.

Availability: It was first revealed on Gasket Studios' Vimeo account on July 30, 2014 and debuted on Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions on November 25. Also seen on the PC and Xbox One versions of Velocity 2X, Shiftlings, and the 2015-16 King's Quest reboot series. It is currently unknown if the Sierra brand will be used on further releases.

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