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Editor's Choice
The Escapist Interview: Jane Jensen

Paul Rice | 25 Sep 2007 12:18
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TE: Does that mean he'll be more fun to play?

JJ: I don't really know. It's going to depend on which types of puzzles you prefer. Just like Gabriel and Grace had different kinds of puzzles they would do, so will David and Sam.

TE: You divide the way you create puzzles based on the character you're writing?

JJ: It's more related to the plot. Gabriel was out there investigating and talking to people, so his puzzles tended to include exploring environments, discovering clues and dialogue, the discovery of the present story, whereas Grace was always a researcher on the back story of the game. All the puzzles are interwoven with what's going on in the story, as opposed to games like Myst, where suddenly there's this box in the middle of the room and it has nothing to do with anything other than it's a puzzle. Ninety-five percent of the people who bought Myst never finished it. Did you ever finish it? I never finished it. It was just too freaking hard. I always wonder if Myst hurt adventure gaming - because it looked so incredible and it hit such a mass market thanks to that. People would play around with it, say, "Oh, that's cool," and then put it away because it was so hard. It probably didn't make them want to play more adventure games.

TE: How do you feel about the multiplayer craze?

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JJ: I don't go to conferences often for this reason. I went to one, a storytelling/game designers conference in Boston, maybe four or five years ago, and at that time it was all about massively multiplayer games (MMOGs). You could divide down a line between the designers working on MMOGs, saying it was the way everything was going to be in the future, and then the rest of us, who were like, "We don't really get it." And now they've had a couple huge projects crash, like The Matrix Online, and lose millions. The problem is, and this is my curmudgeon surfacing, the creative industries in America are fucked. Film, books, TV, games, it's all become about marketing. A committee of marketers will sit there and say, "What's the last thing that did well? Do that." And the MMOG thing was like that for a while, but then you have a $20 million project fail, and the marketers say, "It's dead, it's dead." I never got into the MMOG thing because I even have trouble playing poker online. I don't want to deal with some snotty 12-year old from Iowa. There's only a certain percentage of people I like in the first place. It's not like I'm going to go online to this false-reality world and find intelligent people.

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