GRAY MATTER FAQ (v 2.5)
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
Gray Matter is a point-and-click adventure game with supernatural themes that will have a mystery premise to it. It will be filled with paranormal events and contain an investigative style of gameplay. The game will move in a metaphysical and philosophical direction and deal with questions of human potential, the power of the mind, and the nature of reality. Jensen expects that these heady topics could easily provide enough material for a decade-long series of games, if the first one is a hit.
WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?
Gray Matter will introduce two main characters, have them meet, and establish the long-term themes developing for future series. The first central character is Dr. David Styles, a neurobiologist who has isolated himself from the rest of the world after he was involved in a car accident, in which he lost his wife and was badly burned. Research, being involved in neurobiological experiments (hypnosis, memory recall, investigating phantom limbs, people who were born blind but use a kind of radar vision, and other examples of extraordinary human potential). He will have to come out of his shell to deal with the challenges that the game presents him with. The other character is a talented graduate student named Samantha Everett, who is hired by Dr. Styles as an assistant. Sam has something of a problem with authority though, which stems from growing up in foster care. She also happens to be a street magician--she's quite talented at sleight of hand. This will play a part in the game, as some puzzles will require Sam to use her magic tricks.
WHAT WILL THE STORY BE ABOUT?
Gray Matter tells the story of neurobiologist Dr. David Styles. Since the death of his wife in a horrible accident several years earlier, Styles has adopted a reclusive lifestyle, spending his days inside his English country estate, Dread Hill House. Things take a turn for the interesting when American Samantha Everett, student and part-time street performer, arrives unexpectedly at the estate. Having spend time travelling Europe, performing magic tricks to make ends meet, Everett decides a change of pace is in order, becoming Styles' assistant. As the game's official press release ponders though, "Is the meeting of Sam and Styles really as coincidental as it seems?" Everett starts her role as Styles' lackey by hunting out six test subjects at Oxford University for the doctor's latest dreamexperiment. After an innocent start where subjects are tasked with imaging different forms of physical exercise, inexplicable events start to occur. Following visitations by Styles' dead wife, the quest to uncover the mysteries of Dread Hill House begins. And how is all this related to the Daedalus Club, which leaves traces of its activities in Oxford?
WHERE IS THE GAME SET?
A large part of the game will take place in an English country estate, Dread Hill House, near Oxford, England. One of the key locations in the game is going to be the Oxford University campus.
HOW MANY CHARACTERS WILL WE SEE IN THE GAME?
There will be altogether about 50 characters in the game and among them about 20 important for the plot.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE GAMEPLAY?
Players will control both Dr. David Styles and Samantha Everett throughout the 8 chapters of the game, with Styles' investigations into Dread Hill House concentrating on the workings of the human mind while Everett solves puzzles using street magic; some puzzles will also require the co-operation of both characters in order to be solved. The gameplay style will feature traditional adventure puzzles -- inventory, logical type of puzzles, etc. There will be absolutely no pure action such as jumping or shooting. There are different kinds of puzzles in a conscious attempt to mix up the gameplay a bit. There's sort of a big riddle, but in much smaller chunks. The primary gameplay will however be investigative in nature.The game is said to feature optional sidetracks that provide more things to do, but aren't essential to complete the game; two different endings will be possible.Jane Jensen: "Samantha and David both have a different personality and that reflects itself in their approach to problem solving. The chapters where you play David are more introverted, turning around psychology and science, while Samantha's chapters are more extroverted and focus on the interaction with people and her research in the outside world."
HOW BIG WILL THE GAME BE?
The game will have a playing time of about 40 hours. Future games in the series may be shorter and released on a more regular basis.
HOW DIFFICULT WILL THE GAME BE?
The game will probably have a difficulty level somewhere in between Gabriel Knight 2 and Gabriel Knight 3.
CAN I HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF A PUZZLE I WOULD HAVE TO SOLVE IN THIS GAME?
Jane Jensen: "In one of David’s chapters he tries to recall memories of his departed wife, since they are slowly fading. In a short article you can read that memories are saved by sensory information– scent, taste, feeling, etc. The player now has to search the house looking for objects that were present at certain key moments with David’s dead wife. When you have collected all the objects, the memory comes back. This kind of puzzles is uniquely for David, because he is a neurobiologist and reasons as such."
WILL THERE BE ANY HELP OR STATISTIC FEATURES TO MONITOR PROGRESS?
The game will feature a statistic that informs the player on his current progress, helping not to get stuck: if a certain task is solved, a sort of grey energy bar becomes completely filled; if one is still missing some pieces of the puzzle, it might be only half-filled. Each bar is assigned to one puzzle, which will enable the player to know where there's something more to do, sparing fruitless searching in wrong places.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE GRAPHICS/ENGINE?
The visuals in Gray Matter consist of 3D realtime rendered characters against 2D backgrounds. The backgrounds are all pre-rendered, but there are many realtime animations included (moving skybox, trees, light effects/strays, dust particles, etc ) and they are using realtime lighting.
WHO IS DOING THE MUSIC?
The main themes will be provided by Jane Jensen's husband Robert Holmes, who also composed the music for the Gabriel Knight series.
Hamburg based soundstudio Periscope mixed Robert's themes and provided additional music.
WHO IS DOING THE VOICE ACTING?
A couple of actors have already been announced: Steven Pacey brings David Styles to life, Philippa Alexander lends her voice to Samantha Everett.
More names will soon appear at IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1484983).
WHO IS MAKING IT?
Jane Jensen wrote, designed and coordinates the game. It has been worked upon by Hungarian studio Tonuzaba and has later been moved to the French studio Wizarbox. It will be published by dtp entertainment AG.
HOW IS JANE INVOLVED IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME?
Jane Jensen: "I’m just as involved with Gray Matter as I used to be with the Gabriel Knight games: I design and coordinate the development. We communicate daily by phone and e-mail and I travel regularly to Hungary to sit down with the developers."
FOR WHAT AUDIENCE IS THE GAME INTENDED?
Jane Jensen: "We aim it at adventure fans; we hope that it will appeal to people who love books and movies as well (and may have never played an adventure game before)."
WHEN IS THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE GOING ONLINE?
The official Gray Matter Website is already online at www.graymatter-game.com.
WHERE CAN I FIND A TRANSCRIPT OF THE 2006 LEIPZIG PRESS CONFERENCE ON GRAY MATTER?
Press conference transcript .
WHERE DID JANE GET THE IDEAS AND INSPIRATION FOR THIS GAME?
Jane Jensen: "I guess the inspiration for the series came from some of the quantum physics/new age books I've read, particularly while researching Dante's Equation. I've been playing some time with the idea of getting much more realistic about the supernatural. There's a terrific book called The Conscious Universe by Dean Radin which talks about real-life experiments in "psi." And even though the results aren't huge, taken together they are very compelling."
WHAT IS THE RELEASE DATE?
Gray Matter will be released worldwide. 29th of october 2010 on PC and X-BO in Germany, the international release (by UK based Mamba Games) might be a bit later.
WHAT ARE THE SPECS TO RUN THE GAME?
Windows®® XP/Vista/7 with .Net Framework 2.0
1.4 GHz Pentium® 4 or similar processor
512 MB RAM (XP) / 1 GB RAM (Vista/7)
128 MB DirectX® 9 compatible video card (Shader 2.0)
–ab ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, Nvidia Geforce 6200TC and Intel GMA X3200
16 bit DirectX® 9 compatible sound card
6,5 GB space on hard disc
Windows®® XP/Vista with .Net Framework 2.0
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or similar processor
1 GB RAM (XP) / 2GB RAM (Vista/7)
256 MB DirectX® 9 compatible video card (Shader 3.0)
– ab ATI Radeon 2xxx und Nvidia Geforce 8xxx
16 bit DirectX® 9 compatible sound card
6,5 GB space on hard disc