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Interview: Jane Jensen (english)

del 04 Agosto 2007
Interview: Jane Jensen (english)

A cura di Adriano Bizzoco

Mrs Jensen is really a pleasure to have the possibility to interview you. Well…just to start, let’s talk a little about you. How was born your passion for videogames?

The first game I played was King’s Quest IV and I was completely hooked. I loved being able to BE a character in a story, move around a world and solved puzzles. I finished that game and bought everything else in Sierra’s catalogue at that time.

How was the work at Sierra in that glorious time? It was really so heartfelt the contest with LucasArts?

I loved working for Sierra. I wish those days still existed. There was so much creative freedom there. There was no competition with LucasArts. I liked their products a lot, particularly Monkey Island, but Sierra games were just their own thing.

What do you think about Phantasmagoria, the interactive movie that smooth the way for GK2, made from Roberta Williams? And, about this, do you still have contacts with Roberta? Did you ever talk about others projects together?

No, Roberta is long retired and living in the Mediterranean somewhere! I thought Phantasmagoria was a great leap forward in technology. No one had done anything like that before. But as far as gameplay it probably wasn’t my favourite Roberta title.

What did you do since your your last videogame (GK3)? Did you play recent Adventure Games ? Which (if there’s someone) impressed you more?

I have been working in online casual games and I’ve written several books. My favourite adventure game since the Sierra days has been Syberia. Great, smooth game with fantastic artwork.

Besides you also are a prolific writer, highly appreciated was the book “Dante’s Equation”. Did you ever thought to realize a location in several languages, particurarly in italian? Are you working in some new book right now?

“Dante’s Equation” has been translated to several languages – most recently Portuguese and Hebrew. And yes, that’s very exciting for me. It’s great to know that the story is creeping out there, all around the world! I was working on a new book but it’s currently on hold because I have so many game projects in the works and they take up all my time.

There’s some writer that you appreciate particurarly, and from you bring inspiration?

I have always liked Stephen King, Anne Rice, Michael Crichton, Caleb Carr and Joyce Carol Oats.

Upon the arguments that you dealt some year before the themes of “The da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown , how did you judge and faced the mediatic fenomenon that grow up around that?

Well, it was a little disappointing to see that story get such huge exposure and to have poor little Gabriel Knight 3, which had a very good story on the same subject, only get exposed to so few people! But that is so often the way it is creatively. If one person thinks of an idea then probably a few others are getting that vibe at the same time. Overall I can’t complain about the opportunities my work has received.

Just talking about “Dante’s equation” , we can maybe find some relation with your new work Gray Matter. Infact it seems that in both works we find out a higher level of perception of reality. Do you think that is true?


You are maybe the best scriptwriter ever in Graphic Adventure’s world. Can you reveal us more particulars about the setting and the plot of Gray Matter? Will we find also in this game some historic mistery to reveal?

Thank you! I think you will find Gray Matter very similar in depth and interest to the games I’ve done in the past. There is definitely a mystery to reveal. It is not ‘historical’ in the same way that some of the GK stories were, but it still feels very similar.

You’re working with an emergent hungarian software house: “Tonuzaba Entertainment”. How was born the idea to develop the game with them? Don't you think it isa risk for you to trust a not much known software house?

Well, actually the producer came to me about doing the game and put the project together. It is a very good team.

Graphically your games are very various: we passed, always in an excellent way, from pure 2D (GK1), to FMV (GK2), then to pure 3D (GK3). Gray Matter will be in 2.5D. Why was done this choose? Do you think that system could take some advantages compared with precedent titles?

Anytime you start a new project you want to see what is currently the best choice. In the past, Sierra always pushed to try the latest thing – FMV or 3D. But 3D has been THE stable thing for many years now. I don’t think it’s the right choice for adventures. To me, it’s better for the user to not control the camera and for the art to have the highest degree of atmosphere.

Will the game soundtrack be edited by Mr. Robert Holmes? In general: which role has your husband in writing the scenes? Do you enjoy to imagine some sequence in mind with his music help, or the score is always added after the true narrative writing is complete?

The music comes after the design is completed and the game is fully in development. It is still being decided if Robert will do the music for Gray Matter, but I hope that will be the case. Naturally, since he is my husband, he hears about the story for months when I’m working on it and he would say he has plenty of input into the plot.

Adventure’s Planet realized, a few months ago, the remake of GK2 in italian, earning much interest from italian adventurers, and it proofs how Gabriel is still much loved by community. How do you live your relationship with the fans?

That’s great news. To me it is a real shame that the games of the past get obsolete so quickly because of technology changes. So many great titles are lost forever. I don’t have a lot of exposure to fans. I get emails frequently but that’s about it. I’m a very private person.

Just curiosity: how the ispiration for the character Gabriel Knight is born? Do you miss him or the possibility to project adventures with him again?

It’s hard to say where he came from. Just a mixture of many different influences I had at the time. I would love to do another Gabriel Knight story in one form or another.

Sure you might love the history, in particular the European one. How did you know the misteries of Rennes-le-Chateau and especially of Ludwig II?

I knew about Ludwig because I lived in Munich for a short time and was exposed to him there. I thought he was a fascinating character. As for Rennes-le-Chatuea, I just happened to pick up a copy of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” and read it. I was blown-away and from that came the idea for GK3.

Another good point of your games are the suggestive locations in which they are settled: New Orleans, Bavaria, Rennes-le-Chateau. Sure you travelled very much. Did you ever come to Italy? Have you ever thought to use our country as the settling for one of your games?

I have never been to Italy but it is definitely on my life list of places to visit. I especially want to see Rome and the Vatican. I wrote scenes in the Vatican in Millennium Rising but have never been there.

We all know that you have ready two versions for a possibile GK4 , although we understand that you can’t say very much about this one, could you give us some ideas?

Nope. Sorry! If I tell you, someone may beat me to a great story.

After Gray Matter, what’s in your mind for the future ? Will you work for a sequel or for a totally different game?

The idea for Gray Matter is to have a series. I’m also still working on casual games. And perhaps a GK will be in the future someday. I won’t really know what will the best opportunity until I get there.

Why, in your opinion, the storic software house, Sierra by one side and Lucas by another, disown their origins in creating great adventures, and choose to not invest in what makes them great?

Because the industry has become so marketing driven and it’s all about what sells the most amount of dollars, unfortuantely. And companies won’t take risks. They only want to “me too” the latest hit. It’s a similar situation in music, films, TV, you name it. I think right now the real innovation will be done outside of America because American art has become too much of a conglomerate.

In general, do you prefer the work of game designer, or just the scriptwriting one?

I like to write at home, quietly, and be in my stories. That’s the way I spend most of my time no matter whether I doing a book or a game. But of course on a game, I also have to spend some time looking over the work of others and meeting with the team and that’s a good balance for me.

Did you ever seriously think to enter in the movie world, in which you better can take care of plot without videogames restrictions?

I have thought about writing a screenplay but I’ve never done anything about it. I have my hands rather full most of the time with my current projects.

If you might do the script for a movie about Gabriel Knight you would choose to start from a new story, or you would tell an adventure that would have a continuity with videoludic series? Trying to imagine an illimitate budget, which actors you would like to see in principal roles?

I don’t have any current actors in mind. I would like to see the series done as it was done in the games, with the first story, second story and so on. Because I think there’s some great visual material there to be exploited.

Do you want to add somenthing for your italian fans?

I have received many letters from Italians over the years. To you I say thank you so much for your support and I hope to visit you one day soon.


Info Requisiti
Sviluppatore: Wizarbox
Publisher: DTP - Digital Tainment Pool
Distributore: Koch Media
Data Rilascio: 25/02/2011
Piattaforma: PC, XBOX360
Genere: Avventura/Mistero
Grafica: 2.5D
Visuale: Terza Persona
Controllo: Mouse
Doppiaggio: Inglese
Sottotitoli: Italiano
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