I fondly remember a gaming night back in 1993. My parents were going out for the night, leaving me to my own devices- namely my AST Advantage, 486SX/33mhz “beast” of a computer. Don’t laugh, that computer was my first real foray into PC gaming since my Commodore VIC-20 days where I’d spend 3 hours programming code just to watch the screen blink checkerboard colors or play an annoyingly squeaky rendition of Beethoven. My AST sported 4mb of RAM, a 210mb hard drive, and a 2x speed CD-ROM drive. The latter was pretty special, at the time, as CD-ROM drives were just becoming “mainstream” and home computing, rather- gaming, was about to change forever.
Blockbuster used to rent out PC games if you can believe that, and since buying CD games back then wasn’t entirely viable for a 15-year-old gamer who wanted to play everything, like me, this was an awesome and affordable way to ride the tidal wave of cutting edge PC gaming. Earlier that day, I had ridden my BMX down to the local Blockbuster and perused the mighty CD-ROM wall of glory. The 7th Guest…yeah I played it, not really my thing. MYST had always alluded me with its abstract puzzles and massive time (and note-taking) requirements. Dracula Unleashed was an amazing example of FMV gaming done right, but I had rented it several times and I needed something new. That’s when my eyes glimpsed something dark, mysterious, and inviting. The cover showed a silhouette of a man hanging from a tree, noose around his neck, the pale moonlight behind him illuminating an eerie midnight sky. The back cover told a tale of a man who was the last in a long line of “shadow hunters” (or Shattenjagers) who was haunted by dark visions and terrifying nightmares. As aspiring novelist, Gabriel Knight, you would scour the mean streets and back alleys of New Orleans, trying to gather clues about the recent string of serial killings, dubbed “the voodoo murders”. Since this was the CD-ROM version of Gabriel Knight: Sins of The Fathers, a full-on voice cast had been assembled to bring the story to life with the likes of Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, and Leah Remini. Note: there was also a 3.5″ floppy disk version of GK, sans-speech, but since CD-ROM duplicating wasn’t prevalent yet and disk copying was, Blockbuster only offered CD games. Win.
After a brief install and soundcard setup, I was ready to roll, and so were my folks. My parents, who hadn’t quite yet grasped the idea of PC gaming, let alone CD-ROM gaming, said, “have a good night”, and were off. Thus began my first journey into the world of Gabriel Knight, one that would cause me to rent the game 3 more times before finally buying it with my meager savings.
Sins of The Fathers, which was the first in the GK trilogy, has always held a special place in my heart and to this day stands as a gold standard for point-and-click adventure gaming. While I thoroughly enjoyed the following two sequels, Sins of The Fathers still gets regular play on my PC although I have always been left hoping that either a port or a complete HD overhaul would be done for modern-day computers and tablets. Looks like Jane Jensen and company were listening.
Said to be released sometime in mid-2014, Gabriel Knight: Sins of The Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition looks like it’s going to knock GK fans’ socks off, with completely re-drawn graphics and sound. Let’s touch on “sound” really quick, as this dream-come-true release does come with a hitch that might worry hardcore GK veterans.
No Curry, no Hamill, no Dorn, and no Remini. In fact, none of the original voice work will be used in the remake. (Kleenex please)
The decision to use an entirely new voice cast in the Anniversary Edition was said to be due to the original vocal recordings being “lost”. From the official website: “Unfortunately the original recordings were lost and stripping the audio from the game did not result in acceptable quality.” That said, recording has apparently been completed with the new cast and Jensen is said to be pleased with the results, leaving me with a somewhat better feeling about the re-dub. But Jane, if you’re reading this, how about an option to switch to the original audio cut…call it a “director’s cut”?
Even though I consider myself a GK purist, I would rather this remake see the light of day than not at all. I have nothing against the developer’s decision to redesign some of these things in order to bring one of the best adventure games back to life, and I am entirely confident that Jane and company can re-deliver an epic chapter in gaming history to its loyal fans! Below are some screens/art from both the original and the remake, enjoy!
Gabriel Knight: Sins of The Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition is set to release mid-2014 for both PC and OS X. An iPad and Android version is also said to follow. We will bring you more news on the release in the coming months! In the meantime, please visit the official GK site and don’t forget to follow Jane on twitter @jensen_jane to see the other projects she is working on!