Just the other week, we got some hands-on time with the preview build of Moebius, the upcoming third-person mystery adventure game created by Jane Jensen. Jensen is one of the most well-known names in adventure gaming, responsible for games such as the Gabriel Knight series and Gray Matter. She also served as a consultant for the Cognition series.
Together with her husband, composer Robert Holmes, she founded Pinkerton Road, a studio that will focus on story-driven, third-person adventure games, and Moebius is their first. Moebius began as a Kickstarter in April 2012, raising $435,316 – beating the $300,000 goal – with the help of 5,836 backers.
I couldn’t resist the chance to interview the queen of adventure games, so we chatted about how she got into the industry, her games, and what other folks can do to get where she is!
1.) I see that you majored in Computer Science. When did you first develop an interest in working with computers?
It really wasn’t until college. This was 1980, so there weren’t laptops or even PCs, only mainframes. I took an intro to computer science class my first semester, mainly to cover some BA requirements. I really loved it and I was good at it. I knew it would be a solid-paying career so I decided to major in it.
2.) What is CSG?
Community Supported Gaming. Our CSG members essentially subscribe or become members of our studio. They receive monthly updates on our progress, get to provide feedback on betas of our games, and then get the games for free when they come out.
3.) We LOVED Cognition when we reviewed it. I see that you were a story consultant. How did it feel to have a consultant role on a story?
I really wanted to support Phoenix Online, which was an up-and-coming fan group then, and the project looked interesting. It was a fun story, pretty dark, so right up my alley. It was very low pressure, which was nice for a change—not to have to be responsible for the whole shebang.
4.) What inspired the look of Moebius, and do you prefer 2D or 3D games?
I like 3D, but not necessarily real-time 3D. Moebius has a comic look, but the backgrounds all start out in 3D. Andy Hoyos (a former Sierra artist) was art director on Moebius and he helped us set the visual style. We were inspired by some graphic novels like Jericho Hill.
5.) Was this your first Kickstarter? How was the experience?
It was my first Kickstarter. The actual Kickstarter process was very stressful and busy. But I’m really grateful for the result, being able to fund Moebius. If not for Kickstarter, this game would not have been made.
6.) You are one of the most respected women in game design. How do you feel about the way women are treated in the industry?
I’ve probably been pretty sheltered. I started at Sierra, which had a number of female designers. That was a tradition there thanks to Roberta Williams, who was the biggest designer they had. Later on, I was a co-founder of Oberon, where I did casual games for a number of years. So I was in a strong position there. Now we’ve started Pinkerton Road. So I’ve never really been sort of rank-and-file at a large company that makes shooters, for example. I’ve never experienced any negativity about being a woman in the industry.
7.) Do you have any advice for young ladies aspiring to become game designers?
Well, first, find the kind of game you’re passionate about. I’m a firm believer that you can’t really design a great game unless you love to play that kind of game. That’s why I’ve never tried to design a shooter or RPG or strategy game, because I just don’t play them. As for getting into the role, traditionally, people tend to migrate into design from another discipline, like programming or art, so that’s one way to go. But there are some schools teaching game design now. If I were starting out, that’s what I would look into.
8.) What’s your favorite game of all time and/or of the moment?
I’m very nostalgic about the old games. For example, the King’s Quest series is still probably my overall favorite. More recently, I loved The Walking Dead.
We can’t wait to see the final version of Moebius and to see what else Pinkterton Road has in store for us!
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