Jane Jensen is awfully busy. Not only is she working on the rather promising Moebius, as well as other secret Pinkerton Road projects, but she’s just announced a 20th anniversary edition of the classic Gabriel Knight: Sins Of The Father. Indeed, the IP has been wrestled from the mad grip of Activision, and an extraordinarily well-loved game is getting a 21st century makeover.
There’s a decent change you haven’t played Gabriel Knight. These were the adventures of the titular character, a book shop owner who investigated paranormal goingsons. In this first game he’s exploring New Orleans to unravel the mysteries of a string of ritual voodoo murders. It was a classic early ’90s point and click adventure from the masters at Sierra Online, that was perhaps most striking for its mature content in a genre populated by cartoonish characters and fairytales. Knight was to become a “Schattenjäger” – shadow hunter – some sort of psychic connection to the case to add to the mysticism. And fancy his assistant, Grace Nakimura.
This is to be a total remake, it seems, programmed by the fine folk of Phoenix Online. Resolutions are leaping up from 640×480 to 2048×1536, and they’re saying the graphics will be 3D. That’s possibly the part that will concern loyal fans, but they say that’s just because it’s Unity, and it will play as 2D. It concerns me a little too, since Moebius’s significant weakness when I saw it was the 3D models for the characters, which were often dreadful – hopefully these too will be defiantly 2D in here. However, the story will remain the same, and most importantly, it will still be point and click.
All the voices are being redone, as the original recordings have been lost. So yes, that does mean that Gabriel will no longer be voiced by Tim Curry. BUM. It also menas that Mark Hamill, Leah Remini and Michael Dorn are also lost. Even more lost is narrator Virginia Capers, who died in 2004. (Although, in the nicest possible way, that does meant they can hire someone who speaks slightly more quickly so you don’t start putting an electric drill into the side of your head every time you look at something.) Jensen argues that even were it possible to gather that old cast, their voices will have aged 20 years while the characters’ will not. Also, they’d be pretty pricey. So new people it is.
It’s due out mid 2014, and presumably we’ll be seeing some in-game footage before long. Meanwhile, we have some scenery screenshots to show how it’s going to look.