Jane Jensen – An Interview about favorite adventures, the remake and Gabriel Knight 4
Good storys are quite rare among the videogames business nowadays. So much the better, if you finally find a game with a moving story. People who know me know that i’m a big fan of good storys – not related to a special genre. Of course I especially do love the good storys among the adventure genre. The first game I ever played was Gabriel Knight: Sins of the fathers, which got a remake recently. That wouldn’t have been possible without Jane Jensen – so it was time to ask one of the icons of the adventure genre out. Enjoy our interview!
Interview with Jane Jensen, Designer & Creative Director of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition, author and game designer of the old Gabriel Knight trilogy. Also involved in writing, designing and directing the famous Sierra adventure-classics of your childhood. For example: Police Quest III and King’s Quest VI. Nowadays working at Pinkerton Road to keep the good adventures with beautiful storys coming. Recently working as a story consultant on Phoenix Online Studios‚ Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]Hi Jane, nice to „meet“ you! And welcome to our interview!
Thank you for having me!
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]The first part of Gabriel Knight was the cause, why our editor in chief started playing videogames. Which facts would in your opinion convince her and other veterans of the series to play the remake?
A lot of fans have told us it’s like “playing the first one the way it was supposed to be”. It’s a beautiful game, there are new surprises in each day, and it brings back wonderful memories to play it.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]Reproductions of old videogame series are often made for casual gamers. Should we expect a softer version of Gabriel Knight? Or does death once again lurk around every corner?
All of the original deaths are still present in this one, but we have added things like a retry that will take you back to just before you died. I think it’s a good update to have—you still have the death, and it’s still smart to save your game. But you won’t die and have to replay a large portion of the game, either.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]What’s your game’s main target group?
There’s the obvious group of fans and players of the original GK games, and adventure game fans in general. I think the game and story appeal a lot to that more casual audience as well.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]How do you want to introduce players to the game, who are not familiar with it at the time being?
We’ve added a few things to make the game friendly to new players. There are tutorial tips when you encounter anything for the first time, like the inventory or the dialogue system. There’s a First Time User Experience that tells you what everything on the screen does. We’ve added some in-game hints and the journal that recaps all of the important information you learn as you go. The essential dialogue topics have been highlighted in most cases, as well. We’ve spread the information more evenly throughout the game as well, so players aren’t overwhelmed with too much on Day 1.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]How do modern times influence your game? Are there any concessions to the convenience of the players?
In addition to the changes described already, the interface is simplified and context-sensitive. That’s a more modern approach to games, rather than having 8 icons that can be used everywhere whether they work or not. Some changes to the interface had to be made given the modern audience and how games have changed. Making an 1-to-1 remake wouldn’t have worked as well.
[dropcap]?[/dropcap]As charming as those pixel backgrounds were, we are really looking forward to seeing some more details. How much work is such a remake? Are you involved yourself?
It’s a lot of work, and yes, I’ve been involved in the process from the beginning. While it’s great to have those references of the original screens, there are so many more pixels to fill in now. Which is great, because we got to add a lot of detail, but the flipside of that is that the resolution is much less forgiving. When you can see every detail, they all need to be very specific. But I love how the updated screens look and how they came out.