After seven years out of the mainstream gaming market, the creator of the Gabriel Knight series catches up with the Escapist News Room.
After Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned shipped in 1999, writer and game developer Jane Jensen took a break from the flagging adventure genre. Jane recently announced the revival of Grey Matter, nearly three years after it was put on hold at DreamCatcher. The Escapist News Room recently caught up with Jane to see what she's been up to in the new millennium.
"I spent over two years working on Dante's Equation. That novel was a huge undertaking both in size and depth," she said, referring to her fourth book. "I also spent about a year working with the guys who became my business partners in Oberon Media before the company surfaced. When they did, I acted as Creative Director in that company for two years."
The adventure genre would seem to be on the verge of a resurgence, with Sam & Max experiencing an episodic revival, and now Gray Matter joining the ranks of adventure games. "I'm feeling positive about it," Jensen said. "There is renewed interest in the genre in Europe in particular, and I think the North American market is tired of seeing the same-old-same-old on the shelf. The emergence of the online market is very promising, too, because it's a new demographic of gamers, and all indications are that they will embrace story-based games in a big way."
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey built on the classic adventure style of the original, turning the sequel into a mix of action and adventure for broader mass-market appeal. When asked about publisher pressure to create hybrid adventure games, Jensen wasn't interested. "It was never something I pursued or had any interest in," she claimed. "If I had been determined to get a job in game design a few years ago I might have had to compromise, but I was happy to spend that time writing novels instead. Now the time is right to get back into gaming and try to create something special once again the way I believe we did with Gabriel Knight."
Little is known about Gray Matter, a traditional adventure game using a point and click interface to interact with the game world. With a release date over a year away, expect more details in the coming months.