Jane Jensen Talks About New Project

The creator of the Gabriel Knight series is working with The Adventure Company on a new game.

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One of the surprising announcements at E3 2003 was that Jane Jensen, the creative force behind a decade's worth of Sierra adventure games, including the Gabriel Knight series, has signed a deal with The Adventure Company to produce a new series of adventure games. Although the first upcoming game does not yet have an official name--the planned title had to be dropped due to a copyright conflict--Jensen is well into preproduction and could tell us what's she's planning for the series.

Project Jane-J, as The Adventure Company refers to it, will have a mystery premise filled with paranormal events and an investigative style of gameplay, which won't be a surprise to Gabriel Knight fans. However, following up on the popularity of The X-Files and The Matrix, the new game will move in a metaphysical direction and deal with questions of human potential, the power of the mind, and the nature of reality. Jensen expects that these heady topics could easily provide enough material for a decade-long series of games, if the first one is a hit.

Jensen considers the next game to be the pilot episode for the series, and it will introduce two main characters, have them meet, and establish the long-term themes she's developing. The first central character is a neurobiologist tentatively named Levin. He's a sort of the Sherlock Holmes of neurobiology, investigating phantom limbs, people who were born blind but use a kind of radar vision, and other examples of extraordinary human potential. Three years ago he was involved in a car accident, in which he lost his wife and was badly burned. He's reclusive and will have to come out of his shell to deal with the challenges of that first game presents him with.

The other character is a talented graduate student named Sam, short for Samantha. She has something of a problem with authority that stems from growing up in foster care. Sam also happens to be a closet magician--she's quite talented at sleight of hand and performs at a local magic club in disguise. This will play a part in the game, as some puzzles will require Sam to use her magic tricks.

Jensen is finishing up the story planning for the game and will work with The Adventure Company to put a team together this summer. Many of the technical decisions--such as those about the game's graphics engine, game mechanics, and the platforms it will be released for--will be made between now and September, when full production will start. The game is scheduled for release at the end of 2004.

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