Bob Loya, director of external development at Sierra, attributes the label's rebirth to the success of digital platforms and the growing popularity of downloadable games.
Speaking with Polygon during Gamescom earlier today, Loya called the Sierra revival a "passion project" within Activision, Sierra's parent company, that has garnered a lot of internal support.
"At Activision we're well known for big franchises, big AAA retail franchises," Loya said. "That's not going to change, but we do have a really core group of gamers within the company that wanted to do different things. And there wasn't ever really a path within Activision to do that.
"With the expansion of digital platforms and the popularity and year over year growth in digital sales, we were able to put together a compelling business argument that we can do digital products, be financially successful and at the same time work with some really talented up and coming indie developers to work on some of our IP and to build some new IP."
As for those indie developers working with Sierra, so far the company has announced Geometry Wars 3 from Lucid Games — a studio made up of Geometry Wars veterans from original series developer Bizarre Creations — and a new King's Quest from The Odd Gentlemen, developers of Xbox Live Arcade puzzle platformer The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom. Loya noted that Sierra began its talks with indie developers three years ago, hoping to drum up interest in bringing them under the Sierra label.
"Sierra is a nostalgic brand and we want to work towards making what Sierra used to be into a modern day high quality digital brand," Loya said. "We're really looking to do unique stuff. High quality games, edgy games, cool mechanics, things that we might not normally be able to do on bigger titles. But at the end of the day, it's just really trying to make games for gamers."
When asked if this initiative towards snapping up "cool" and "edgy" downloadable titles is a move from Activision to diversify its portfolio from its huge AAA franchises like Call of Duty and Skylanders, Loya said that he didn't know if the push was needed. But it's certainly a great opportunity to broaden Activision's audience, he added.
"I think it's an opportunity, and it's an opportunity to reach more gamers and different gamers with different products," he said. "We'll hopefully grow that relationship with our consumers, but also grow our relationship with the developer community, to really get talented devs under our umbrella and help them reach their potential as well."
Loya did note that the move to revive Sierra was influenced by the success other major publishers like Sony, Microsoft and have found by nurturing communities of indies. There is a lot more to come, he said, with more announcements on the way "soon."
"[Looking at what PlayStation and Xbox have done with indies] it makes it an easier case to make when you see how great Adam [Boyes] is doing and how great Chris [Charla] is doing at Microsoft and Sony," he explained. "We look at what Ubisoft and 505 [Games] are doing. These guys are making great games and great product and they're really embracing a lot of consumers and growing an intimate relationship with them, and we hope to do that as well."
Tracey Lien contributed to this report.