Gabriel Knight is a Schattenjäger (shadow hunter) who starred in three paranormal adventure games designed by Jane Jensen and released by Sierra On-Line during the 1990s. Known for their rich, mature storylines, all three Gabriel Knight ® games received a bunch of industry awards including Best of E3, Best Story, Adventure Game of the Year, and Game of the Year from publications such as Computer Gaming World, PC Gamer, Gamespot, and CNET. The rakish rogue became an instant favorite of adventure gamers everywhere.
You can read up on the history of the Gabriel Knight series in this behind-the-scenes article from the February 2011 issue of Games™ magazine.
Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was the first Gabriel Knight adventure game, released in December 1993. Twenty years later, Jane’s indie studio Pinkerton Road has licensed the Gabriel Knight IP from Activision (the current license-holder) to create a new version of Sins of the Fathers for iPad, PC, Mac, and Android. This 20th anniversary remake will release in mid-2014.
Over the years, Jane has never stopped thinking about Gabriel Knight. She even spoke to the license-holders (first Vivendi, then Activision) about reviving the series several times. In the spring of 2012, Jane launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Moebius, the first adventure game being developed by her new indie studio, Pinkerton Road. This, along with many classic adventure game brands coming back into the limelight, caught the attention of some people at Activision, and they reached out to Jane about Gabriel Knight. The end result was a licensing agreement that’s allowing Jane to revive her creation for a new gaming era.
As with the original Gabriel Knight games, Jane Jensen is the lead visionary behind the Sins of the Fathers remake, serving as game designer and creative director. Phoenix Online Studios is programming the game under Jane’s direction. Phoenix is an indie team Jane first met after playing their King’s Quest fan game The Silver Lining. She was been impressed by their love for the adventure genre, and they’ve been collaborating since 2011 on various projects. Phoenix is the dev team for Jane’s upcoming adventure game Moebius and Jane was story consultant on Phoenix’s game Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.
The original Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is available from GOG. But it is well overdue for an up-to-date remake. By updating and rereleasing the game for modern platforms, we hope to engage a new audience and carry the series forward.
Sins of the Fathers is Gabriel Knight’s origin story. As the game opens, he’s a struggling novelist and bookstore owner in New Orleans, a sarcastic charmer who likes the ladies and hates commitment. As he soon learns, he’s also the unwitting descendent of a long line of Schattenjägers, or shadow hunters–his destiny is to be a modern day witch hunter. In Sins of the Fathers Gabriel investigates the Voodoo Murders, a series of ritual murders taking place in the swamps and back alleys of New Orleans, with help from his long-suffering assistant Grace Nakimura and his bumbling pal Detective Mosely.
Let’s start with what hasn’t changed. The 20th anniversary remake has the same engrossing story as the original, with a layered historical mystery, complex characters, a point and click interface, traditional adventure-style puzzles, and a moody soundtrack composed (and now completely remastered) by Robert Holmes.
The biggest differences in the remake are the artwork, the music, and the voices, which have been redone under Jane’s direction. The screenshots on this site will give you a sense of the new art style, which replaces the original 640×480 pixel art with high-res (2048×1536) 3D graphics. While the locations and basic design haven’t changed, these high-res graphics will give the game’s authentic New Orleans environments more detail than ever before. The high-res graphics will look way better on today’s high definition computer monitors, not to mention on retina display iPads! The music is being re-orchestrated and re-mastered by the original composer, Robert Holmes.
Unfortunately the original recordings were lost and stripping the audio from the game did not result in acceptable quality. Because of this, rerecording was a necessity. The original actors are twenty years older—even if they were interested in reprising their roles, they probably wouldn’t sound like they did “back then”—and the cost of getting some of those actors wasn’t practical for the budget of this project. Recasting was our only option. We turned to Bay Area Sound, a studio that does voice recording for a ton of adventure games including Telltale’s The Walking Dead, Sam & Max and Tales of Monkey Island as well as Jane’s game Moebius. (In other words, this isn’t their first time working on a reboot of a classic adventure series!) They helped us cast great actors true to the spirit of the original cast. The voices have already been recorded and Jane’s very happy with the results. We’ll reveal more details about the cast as the mid-2014 release approaches.
We are making some minor tweaks to avoid certain pitfalls that tripped everyone up in the original, like improving the visibility of a certain snake scale. There’s also a small amount of director’s cut content that helps enhance the New Orleans flavor and the spooky vibe of the game, but the original gameplay experience is all there. As for the interface, the remake will have the same point and click icons, with some obvious refinements to make it comfortable on iPad.
We’re using a 3D engine (Unity), but are emulating 2D with the same camera angles and interface as the original. For all intents and purposes, the remake will play like a 2D game.
When it releases in mid-2014, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers will be available for PC and Mac via digital distribution and later for iPad via the App Store. We’ll post more information about where to get it, pricing, etc. closer to launch. In the meantime, use the form below to sign up for email alerts and we’ll share more details with you as they develop.
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