Find out more about Moebius and the new Gabriel Knight in this exclusive Jane Jensen interview
If you’ve kept up with my blog or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I’m an avid video gamer. I’ve been gaming since Pong has been around (some of you have no idea what that is, do you?), but PC gaming was still new to me when I picked up a copy of Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Fathers, written by Jane Jensen. Until then, I had no idea that games could tell stories and could be so immersive that you forget yourself during the time you play them. In fact, that game changed everything, for me and for other gamers.
Two other games followed Sins Of The Fathers, and I played each a dozen times. To this day, my favorite video game of all time is the second in the series, The Beast Within, but the entire franchise is better than most of what’s available today.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. And in honor of that, a new edition with awesome new graphics (and even a few additional puzzles) is being released. Not only that, but Jensen is also releasing a new adventure game called Moebius, which looks to be just as awesome. I did an interview with Jensen recently and asked her about both.
For the new Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary edition, it was important to Jensen to stay true to the original. But there was also room for improvement, since gaming has come a long way in 20 years. “The story is the same as the original,” Jensen said. “There are a few new full-size puzzles added in and a few new exterior locations so that we could really get across the feeling of being in New Orleans.”
So if things take off for Gabriel Knight again, could we possibly see a return to the series, perhaps in a Gabriel Knight 4? Jensen is open to the idea. She said, “I would love to do a GK game. We currently only have a license with Activision to do the GK1 remake, but I’m hopeful that we will be able to convince them to let us do a GK4 if GK1 goes well.” You hear that, kids? Make sure to buy that 20th anniversary edition, or I might have to hurt you all because we need this series to return.
Jensen also has a new project being released this month, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, titled Moebius: Empire Rising. Did she face any challenges working on a new game with her new studio Pinkerton Road? For Jensen, she had trouble with the business side of things. “I’ve always been on the creative side before,” she said, “so dealing with contracts and payments and the money end – not really my forte or my design. But when you have a small indie studio, you do it all! I think, in the end, we did an amazing job for the budget that we had.”
Jensen has fond memories of her time working on Moebius, particularly being more in touch with fans, thanks to the Kickstarter campaign. “Because of the Kickstarter, we did monthly updates and also beta’d the game while it was in production,” she said. “Before, I only really interacted with players at launch.” But Jensen also praised her studio and development team. She said, “The fact that Moebius was entirely the property of the studio gave a lot of creative freedom, and working with Phoenix Online, the dev team, was also great. They’re super hard-core adventure game fans, so it was wonderful to have a team like that.”
Finally, how has gaming changed in the past 20 years? Being that there’s a lot of discussion recently about the importance of story in gaming, how does Jensen feel about that debate? She answered, “Well, there are various kinds of gamers. I don’t think story and plot are of primary concern to action gamers, but it is certainly important to adventure gamers. But modern adventure games need to flow better and have less roadblocks in terms of ‘pixel hunting’ or super difficult puzzles. People have shorter attention spans and so many entertainment choices these days, you really need to be able to grab them and hold onto them.”
I couldn’t agree more, and a perfect example of that is Cognition, which is a game that Jensen consulted on (and it shows). That point will be made clearer with the release of the Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th anniversary edition, as well as with Moebius (which will be available next week).