Jane Jensen is the designer of the Gabriel Knight [GK] series. Both Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers and The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery [The Beast Within] had won numerous praises from fans and critics. Her latest effort, Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned [Gabriel Knight 3], is near completion and has been followed by the mainstream gaming media with much interest. Despite her success in adventure game design, Jensen considers herself, at heart, a writer and a novelist. The following is an interview where Jensen discussed her work on the GK series:

Alan Chan [A.C.]: When did you join Sierra and what was your first project?

Jane Jensen [J.J.]: I joined them in Feb. of '91. My first project was to do the doc and text of Police Quest 3 and then to co-design EcoQuest: Search for Cetus.

A.C.: What inspired you to write the first GK game?

J.J.: I wanted to do a mystery series because I thought that kind of story translated very well to interactivity. And I wanted to add in supernatural/horror because I'm interested in it. As I worked on it over time it evolved into GK.

A.C.: How did you come up with the dark images such as voodoo murders and werewolves?

J.J.: Usually I pick up a book and get interested in a subject and that makes me want to write about it. It was that way with Voodoo. As far as werewolves go, in that case it was more a result of what I knew I wanted to test about the character -- werewolves fit what I thought was Gabriel's primary struggle.

A.C.: Around the time when The Beast Within was in production, a lot of FMV (Full Motion Video) games were released but received many negative reviews. Were you worry that people would view The Beast Within as another FMV clone and not buy the game?

J.J.: I was very excited about doing FMV and it was great to see live actors, sets, etc. do my material. I knew a lot of FMV games sucked, but I was confident that GK wouldn't. Most FMV games had been done by non-gamers. As for whether or not people would buy it -- I thought they would when they saw how great it looked.

A.C.: I've played The Beast Within and found the story to be very intriguing. How long did you spend on writing the story? I heard that you traveled to Germany to do research on Ludwig?

J.J.: I worked 5 months on the initial plot outline plus another 9 months on the script. Yes, I traveled to Germany for research.

A.C.: What prompted you to make another sequel?

J.J.: I feel the GK series could go on for quite some time and I really enjoy working with it. It's a great vehicle for my interests. I took a year off from GK and did a non-GK book called Millennium Rising, and then I felt I wanted to come back to GK.

A.C.: How did you come up with the idea of using 3D characters in Gabriel Knight 3?

J.J.: It was Sierra's idea.

A.C.: How did people respond to the use of 3D in Gabriel Knight 3? Did they all want to see Dean Erickson and Joanne Takahashi back in this sequel?

J.J.: Yes, there's been a lot of 'oh no!'. I can't say I blame people, because I felt that way too at first. But the world in 3D is *so* much more interactive and explorable it's converted me. I think most people will see the advantages.

A.C.: From what I've heard, GK fans are obviously not pleased with the use of 3D characters. Have you ever thought of moving Gabriel Knight 3 back to FMV?

J.J.: It's just not going to happen. If you look at what products are in development all over the industry (like at E3) there just isn't FMV anymore. It's too expensive and too limiting on interactivity.

A.C.: What do you think that makes GK games different from other adventure games?

J.J.: I think the story and characters have made GK different.

A.C.: I think that GK has the potential to become a blockbuster movie. Have you ever thought of it?

J.J.: Yes, I'd like to see something done with it. There's nibbles from Hollywood from time to time, but Sierra holds the copyright and they're notoriously difficult to deal with for licenses. It may or may not ever happen.

A.C.: Finally, thanks very much for your time?



Jane Jensen is the designer of the Gabriel Knight series.

Jane Jensen is the ultimate story-teller. She breathes life into her newborn plot; invents her characters' ideas and thoughts, creates the time and the place for the adventure, and decides the destiny of her characters. Jensen revels in creating her story, and in watching it come to life.

She considers herself, at heart, a writer -- a novelist. Her main literary influences are Stephen King and Anne Rice. She is also a researcher, putting hundreds of hours into the depth of her stories. For The Beast Within, the second Gabriel Knight mystery, Jensen traveled to Germany, the site of the story, to conduct historical research. She believes this research truly creates the feel for the story, and gives depth to its realism.

Jensen's technical background began with a degree in Computer Science from Anderson University in Indiana. Later, she became an engineer for Hewlett-Packard, and was employed there for six years. Her career in interactive entertainment began at Sierra On-Line in 1991. Since then, she has had the opportunity to work on such hit titles as Police Quest 3; Gabriel Knight- Sins of the Fathers; Ecoquest; King's Quest VI and Pepper's Adventures In Time. As designer of Gabriel Knight - Sins of the Fathers, Jensen was honored when the game won Computer Gaming World's Adventure Game of the Year and also Best of Show at CES. This accolade was actually surpassed with her next Gabriel Knight adventure, The Beast Within, which netted Jane the top honor that Computer Gaming World can bestow: overall Game of the Year! (source: Sierra Studios)

Article is courtesy of Sierra News One.


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