Jane Jensen's "Mystery Game X" Unmasked
Jane Jensen made her name as a master of adventure game design while working for Sierra back in the '90s. Jane's work as co-designer of King's Quest 5 was very well received, but she is most widely recognized for the Gabriel Knight series: a blend of mystery and suspense, starring a flawed but likeable main character struggling with supernatural forces. Each of the Gabriel Knight adventure games literally had a full-length supernatural mystery novel packed into it as the plot, as demonstrated by the companion novels for the first two games in the series. Series creator Jane Jensen should be remembered, additionally, for Kickstarting her adventure game Moebius with Linux support in 2012, to help kick off her new studio, Pinkerton Road.
Partway through the Moebius kickstarter campaign, Jane was offered another exciting game development opportunity for Pinkerton Road under a condition of secrecy: there was a strict NDA forbidding discussion of the game details and even the identity of the company offering the contract. This game was given the codename "Mystery Game X" to distinguish it from Moebius, the game being funded by the kickstarter campaign, and copies of Mystery Game X were offered to backers as a bonus reward. At that time, there was no guarantee that the Linux stretch goal achieved for Moebius would apply to this anonymous game to be developed independently from kickstarter funds.
One and a half years later, Jane Jensen was finally in a position to reveal that the secret contract was an IP licensing deal with Activision. "Mystery Game X", would in fact be a remake of her seminal work, to be entitled Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition, to coincide with the two decade span since its original 1993 release. Pinkerton Road has partnered with Phoenix Online Studios to update Sins of the Fathers with a high-res modern look, an all new remastered soundtrack, and behind-the-scenes goodies to accompany the great gameplay and story of the original. As implied merely by the existence of this article on GOL, this remake also adds the key feature of Linux support: last week, backers queried Phoenix Online via the official Pinkerton Road forums, and a Linux port was confirmed by Phoenix Online's Technical Director, Weldon Hathaway.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is among the most fondly remembered games developed published by Sierra On-Line, Inc. during the Golden Age of adventure games. It is the first game of the Gabriel Knight series, and (in this writer's opinion) the best. Set in New Orleans, the game follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of St. George's book store, on a mystical thriller across the globe and back. As Gabriel begins his unsanctioned investigation into a local unsolved serial murder case, what began as research for his next novel becomes something darker, more dangerous, and more personal.
Although a 2013 début would have been fitting, the Gabriel Knight remake is currently scheduled for a mid-2014 release. Linux gamers who might enjoy a well-written paranormal thriller but have a hard time tolerating VGA graphics and highly compressed audio should definitely keep an eye on this project.
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