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Phantasmagoria BoxPhantasmagoria is a point and click adventure game developed and published by Sierra On-Line for the PC that was released in 1995.  The horror themed computer game was designed by Roberta Williams, cofounder of Sierra and creator of the King’s Quest series.

A horror themed game was radically different from any of the other games created by Roberta Williams and for that matter Sierra On-Line.  Williams is one of the most influential video game designers of the 1980s & 1990s and has been credited with creating the graphic adventure genre.   She became best known for designing the King’s Quest fantasy adventure series and did not want to become typecasted to one genre.   She had ambitions to create a game with a lot of substance and deep emotions, something that was never done before.

Williams was a fan of horror movies and wanted to create a horror video game for eight years prior to the development of Phantasmagoria however after creating a few preliminary designs she felt that computer hardware and software technology did not reach the point where it could produce an effective and frightening horror game.  After placing her vision for a horror game on hold several times she began to revisit the idea in 1992 after CD-ROM technology became faster and could better handle full-motion video.  Williams believed that using actors to create a live action game was crucial for a suspenseful horror game.

During the development of King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bridge, Williams started the development of a new game which would become Sierra’s most ambitious project to date. Phantasmagoria tells the story of Adrienne Delaney, a writer who moves into a remote mansion and finds herself terrorized by supernatural forces.  She begins to experience horrifying nightmares shortly after moving into the mansion and the house seems to have a severe effect on her husband, changing his behaviour for the worse.  Adrienne must discover the secret of the house before the unknown force consumes her husband.  The game was developed using full-motion video technology and features extreme violence and rape scenes.

Developer(s)Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
SuccessorPhantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh
Media TypeOptical Disc
ReleaseNA: August 24, 1995
EU: August 1995
Genre(s)Interactive Film
Graphic Adventure
Development Time2.5 Years
Budget$4.5 million
Sales1 Million
RatingESRB: M
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Saturn – 1997
Filming on the set of Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria was by far the largest project ever undertaken by Sierra. More than 200 people were involved in making Phantasmagoria, which was based on Williams’ 550-page script, about four times the length of an average Hollywood screenplay. It took more than two years to develop and four months to film. The scope of the game was much larger than any other video game created at the time and the final game required seven discs to contain all the content included in the game.

The game was originally budgeted for $800,000, but it ultimately cost $4.5 million to develop and was filmed in a $1.5 million studio that Sierra built specifically for the game. Phantasmagoria quickly became the best-selling game in the United States and was Sierra’s best-selling computer game to date. It grossed $12,000,000 and sold 300,000 units during its first week of release and became one of the best-selling games of 1995.

Even though the game was a financial success for Sierra, it did receive mixed reviews upon its release.   Critics praised the game for its graphics and suspenseful tone but criticized the game’s slow pacing and easy puzzles.  Along with the mixed reviews the game also drew a lot of controversy, particularly for the rape scene that was incorporated into the game.  Overall, the game was a commercial success and had a positive financial impact on Sierra On-Line, raising the company’s stock from $3.875 per share in July 1995 to $43.25 per share by September 8, 1995.  Sierra posted a profit of $3.26 million for the 3rd quarter of 1995, compared to a loss of $850,000 in 1994 thanks to the success of Phantasmagoria.

The success of the game led Sierra to create the sequel, Phantasmagoria: A Puzzle of Flesh in 1996 however Williams was not involved in the creation of the sequel.  Instead, Williams returned to work on the King’s Quest series while the story and design of the sequel was created by Lorelei Shannon, Williams’ design partner on King’s Quest VII.  As a result, the sequel featured a very different tone and completely different characters, with no direct connection to the storyline of the first game.

Game Screenshots:

Behind the scenes look at Phantasmagoria

Roberta Williams 2Roberta WilliamsLead Designer
Writing / Dialogue / Story
Game Director
Andy HoyosWriting / Dialogue / Story
Art Director
Game Director
3-D Environment Designer
Peter MarisDirector
Video Editing
Casting Director
J. Mark HoodProducer
Game Director
Additional Programming
Stanley LiuProducer
Mark SeibertProducer
Game Director
Movie Sequences Scored By
Casting Director
Profile PlaceholderAlbert CoArt Director
Entity Modeling and Animation
Doug OldfieldLead Programming
Jay D. UsherMusic
Additional Audio
Profile PlaceholderGary UnruhConductor
Victoria MorsellActor (Adrienne Delaney)
Christine ArmondActor (Hortencia)
Steven BaileyActor (Cyrus)
Taylor BernardActor (Marie)
Holley ChantActor (Victoria)
Lilyan ChauvinActor (Ethel)
David HombActor (Don Gordon)
Hoke HowellActor (Harv)
V. Joy LeeActor (Harriet)
Robert MianoActor (Zoltan "Carno" Carnovasch)
Karl NeimiecActor (Mike)
Dana MoodyActor (Leonora)
2-D Adaptations
Art & Video Post Production
Douglas SealeActor (Malcolm)
Wanda SmithActor (Regina)
Stella StevensActor (Lou Ann)
Profile PlaceholderGreg BelemjianActor (voice of Hintkeeper)
Profile PlaceholderDevon MyersActor (Young Malcolm)
Mike BerkowitzMusician
Paul ThaxterMusician
Jacqueline GoodwinLead Vocal
Jeff HallSound Recording
Victor CrewsAdditional Music
Neal GrandstaffAdditional Music
Brian MinAdditional Music
Jon UsherAdditional Music
Robin BradleyQuality Assurance Lead
Additional QA
Bill CrowVideo Production Supervisor
Video Post Production & Visual Effects Supervisor
Additional Video Editing
Video Compositing & Effects
Randy LittlejohnLighting and Camera
Robert BallewAssistant Lighting and Camera
Stage Manager
Craig DennyAssistant Lighting and Camera
Property Master
Robert KoeppelUltimatte and Video Engineer
Assistant Video Editor
Digital Compositing & Effects
Chris S. WilliamsBest Boy
Gerold WolfeCinematographer
Ron LawsonAssistant Video Editors
Linda LubkenAdditional Digital Art and Effects
Brian Judy3-D Environment Modelers
SGI Animation, Renderings & Effects
Brandee Prugh3-D Environment Modelers
SGI Animation, Renderings & Effects
Kim White3-D Environment Modelers
SGI Animation, Renderings & Effects
Kronos3-D Environment Modelers
SGI Animation, Renderings & Effects
Ken Prugh2-D Art Coordinator
Art & Video Post Production
Animation Editing
Francis Co3D Motion Control Composites
Mohammed DavoudianAnimation
Dallas GoodAnimation
Lisa KimAnimation
Andy KooAnimation
Darrek RosenAnimation
James T. TomaskoSupport
Darvin AtkesonArt & Video Post Production
Movie Sequence Post Production
Maria FrueheArt & Video Post Production
Additional Audio
Desie HartmanArt & Video Post Production
Additional Audio
Robin PhancoArt & Video Post Production
Animation Editing
Travis LeonardArt & Video Post Production
Animation Editing
Daryle SmithArt & Video Post Production
Animation Editing
Additional Audio
Frances Anne PowellArt & Video Post Production
Richard PowellArt & Video Post Production
Donald WallerArt & Video Post Production
Tony HernandezArt & Video Post Production
Paul TroweArt & Video Post Production
QA Configuration Testing
Beta Test & Coordination
David ArtisProgramming
Vana BakerProgramming
Adam BentleyProgramming
Chris CarrProgramming
Juan Carlos EscobarProgramming
Bryan WatersProgramming
Steve ConradAdditional Programming
Special Thanks
Michael LyttonAdditional Programming
Sean MooneyAdditional Programming
Special Thanks
Kerry SergentAdditional Programming
Mathieu MarciacqSystems Programmers
Ed CritchlowSystems Programmers
Dan FoySystems Programmers
Ken KochSystems Programmers
Jay LeeSystems Programmers
Terry McHenrySystems Programmers
Larry ScottSystems Programmers
Christopher SmithSystems Programmers
Greg Tomko-PaviaSystems Programmers
Mark WildenSystems Programmers
Nancy HamiltonInstallation / Utilities Programmers
Chris HuntInstallation / Utilities Programmers
David MooreInstallation / Utilities Programmers
Roger ClendenningQA Configuration Testing
John CunneyQA Configuration Testing
Michael D. JonesQA Configuration Testing
Bill Davis Jr.QA Configuration Testing
Additional Audio
Lynne S. DaytonQA Configuration Testing
Steve DeckertQA Configuration Testing
Scott HowellQA Configuration Testing
Jillian LeonardQA Configuration Testing
Marsha McCartyQA Configuration Testing
Mike PickhinkeQA Configuration Testing
John RatcliffeQA Configuration Testing
Cindy RomeroQA Configuration Testing
Matthew RossQA Configuration Testing
Leonard SalasQA Configuration Testing
Additional QA
Sharon SimmonsQA Configuration Testing
John TraugerQA Configuration Testing
Douglas WheelerQA Configuration Testing
Michael BrosiusAdditional QA
Joe CarperAdditional QA
Michael Leo ChongAdditional QA
Scott CoventonAdditional QA
Mark MacKayAdditional QA
Scott MulterAdditional QA
Daniel PetersAdditional QA
Danny A. WoolardAdditional QA
Jon MeekAdditional QA
Susan FrischerAdditional QA
Andrew BinderOff Site QA
Scott GilbertOff Site QA
Daniel HindsOff Site QA
David SteeleOff Site QA
Gary StevensOff Site QA
John WolfOff Site QA
PCTest IncorporatedOff Site QA
Gary BrownBeta Test & Coordination
Beth QuintanaBeta Test & Coordination
Kelli SpurgeonAudio/Foley/SFX
Richard SpurgeonAudio/Foley/SFX
Bruce ThorntonLatin Translations
Tim LoucksAdditional Audio
Julie CollingeDocumentation
Lori LuciaDocumentation
Aimee MacdonaldDocumentation
Cindy JordanMake up Artist
Craig AlexanderSpecial Thanks
Jerry BowermanSpecial Thanks
Christopher BraymenSpecial Thanks
Robin KleemanSpecial Thanks
Sunny MarisSpecial Thanks
Neil MatzSpecial Thanks
Cyndi WhartonSpecial Thanks
Fresno Flats Historical SocietySpecial Thanks
Micrografx Picture PublisherSpecial Thanks
Consumite FuroreOpening and Closing Themes
The EsotericsChoir on Movies
Sierra StudiosVideo Production
Video Post Production
Maximus StudiosAudio DNR
The Character ShopMovie Special Effects
World Wide Movie AnimalsAnimals handled by
McCloud ProductionsMotion Control
MacDonald RecordingMovie Audio
RothfieldCasting Agencies
Ryan and RothCasting Agencies
Bressler and AssociatesCasting Agencies
Antje HinkGerman Localisation

Victoria MorsellActor (Adrienne Delaney)
Christine ArmondActor (Hortencia)
Steven BaileyActor (Cyrus)
Taylor BernardActor (Marie)
Holley ChantActor (Victoria)
Lilyan ChauvinActor (Ethel)
David HombActor (Don Gordon)
Hoke HowellActor (Harv)
V. Joy LeeActor (Harriet)
Robert MianoActor (Zoltan "Carno" Carnovasch)
Karl NeimiecActor (Mike)
Dana MoodyActor (Leonora)
2-D Adaptations
Art & Video Post Production
Douglas SealeActor (Malcolm)
Wanda SmithActor (Regina)
Stella StevensActor (Lou Ann)
Profile PlaceholderGreg BelemjianActor (voice of Hintkeeper)
Profile PlaceholderDevon MyersActor (Young Malcolm)

PC (North American Release)

Saturn (Japanese Release)

Media & Promotional Material