Return to Zork is a 1993 graphic adventure game in the Zork series. It was developed by Activision and was the final Zork game to be published under the Infocom label.
Unlike the previous games in the Zork franchise, which were text adventures, Return to Zork takes place from a first-person perspective and makes use of video-captured actors as well as detailed graphics and a musical score; a point-and-click interface replaced the text parser for the first time in a Zork game. The overall gameplay style was somewhat similar to Myst, although Return to Zork predated Myst by a few months. Unlike Myst, which had no extraspatial dimensions of functionality, Return to Zork features multiple ways of interacting with each object in the game world, as well as with several non-player characters also present in the world via a menu which appears on the left side of the screen. It also offers multiple ways to "complete" the game.
Return to Zork was a key part of Activision's attempt to revive the company, overseen by new president Bobby Kotick. Purchasing the company with his business associates, Kotick "fired all 200 employees and implemented a bankruptcy reorganization plan", according to Jeff Sengstack of NewMedia. The goal was to capitalize on Activision's lucrative back catalog of licenses, chief among them Zork. Kotick noted in 1996 that "Zork on a brick would sell 100,000 copies".
Return to Zork is set in the year 1647 GUE, later than any other game in the fictitious history of Zork, including those made after it. Even the relevant backstory postdates all other games, beginning with the Great Diffusion in 1247 GUE. The events of earlier games and even the Great Diffusion, to a degree, have come to be regarded as archaeology or even mythology by this time. Some locations and items place 1647 - such as a club for viewing stand-up comedy performances - as contemporaneous, or at least similar, to the late 20th century.