For years, Jane Jensen worked on a number of remarkable franchises for Sierra, but it’s with the 1993 classic Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers that she really hit her stride, catching a massive audience with its provocative mystery and classic interactive gameplay. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gabriel make the gaming rounds, but he’s back in action on mobile, with the release of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Sins of the Fathers, which features upgrades visuals, a remastered soundtrack and behind-the-scenes content.
We caught up with Jane to get her perspective on the game’s revival, as well as what she’s working on next.
You’ve been writing for video games since the great Sierra Online era. How much do you think the industry has changed since that time?
It’s totally different than those days at Sierra in 1990’s, from the game platforms to the types of games to the funding and royalty schemes. Very different!
It’s hard to believe that Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is well over 20 years old. What inspired you to put together such an elaborate mystery?
At the time I was a big fan of Sierra adventure games and also wanted to write novels. So when I got a chance to work for Sierra and create games, my interest was exploring how far an adventure game could go in telling a complicated, more mature story.
(Image source: Pinkerton Road)
The game was followed by two sequels, The Beast Within and Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned. Did you expect the game to gain the popularity that it did?
Not really. I hoped it would do well, but the first Gabriel Knight game got a lot of attention because it was one of the first darker, more mature supernatural titles in adventure games. It really benefitted from all that attention.
Now Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is available for play on mobile devices. Tell us how an anniversary edition of the game came about.
Activision was looking to reboot some of the old Sierra titles and approached me a few years ago. They decided to develop King’s Quest themselves and the GK reboot was put together at that time as well.
What changes can fans who played the original Gabriel Knight expect with this version? New visuals? Any new features that add on to the story? Or is it more a celebration of the original material?
The look and sound is totally new. The new backgrounds are retina resolution and a huge leap in quality from the original. The music has also been remastered and the voices redone (of course, the original voices were really amazing!). The story is pretty much the same, but we have added in some new locations and puzzles just because we could!
(Image source: PO Studios)
Do you think that mobile can point the way for a return of point-and-click games? We’ve certainly seen several game releases that make an argument for it.
I hope so. I think the audience for tablet is key, because it tends to be older people and a lot of readers. Hopefully there will be some crossover where those people discover these point-and-click adventures.
Would you ever feel a need to return to the Gabriel Knight series for a new game? Or do you think it was more than covered with the games and novelizations that came out?
I’d love to do a new GK game, but that lies with Activision since they own the property. It’s a possibility.
Are there any current games that you’re playing right now?
I haven’t played anything new in a few months—taking a break after getting our games shipped!
Finally, what’s next for you and Pinkerton Studio?
I’m currently working on books. I have a new Jane Jensen mystery called “Kingdom Come” coming out in January 2016 from Penguin. And I also write romance under Eli Easton. As for games, there’s nothing in the pipeline at the moment, but you never know.