Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers

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Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Gabriel Knight - Sins of the Fathers cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
Director(s)Jane Jensen[1]
Bill Crow
Producer(s)Robert Holmes[1]
John E. Grayson
Designer(s)Jane Jensen
Programmer(s)Tom DeSalvo[1]
Artist(s)Terrence C. Falls
Darlou Gams
Gloria Garland
Writer(s)Jane Jensen
Bridget McKenna
Composer(s)Robert Holmes
SeriesGabriel Knight
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
Genre(s)Point-and-click adventure
Mode(s)Single player

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game written, designed, and directed by Jane Jensen. She developed the game with veteran game designer Roberta Williams and her husband Robert Holmes, who worked as a producer and composed the music. The game was published by Sierra On-Line and was the first game of the Gabriel Knight series. The story follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, struggling novelist and owner of a rare book store, as he investigates a series of murders in New Orleans. While learning about the history of New Orleans and voodoo, he also discovers he is descended from a German family line of Schattenjägers or "Shadow Hunters" who hunt and fight people who use supernatural forces to cause harm.

The CD-ROM version of the game was praised for its voice actor cast that included Tim Curry, Mark Hamill, Michael Dorn, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., and Leah Remini among others. Stuart M. Rosen worked as Voice Director. A remake titled Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition, co-developed by Jane Jensen's Pinkerton Road and Phoenix Online Studios, was released for Windows, Mac, iPad, and Android on October 15, 2014. It featured remastered graphics, music, and a new voice cast.


The icon bar gameplay screenshot

Sins of the Fathers is a point-and-click adventure game, played from a third-person perspective. Its story unfolds, mostly linearly, over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions which must be performed before proceeding to the next day. However, within each day, play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game, a running score is kept as new challenges, both required and optional, are completed.[3]

Unlike newer graphical adventure games using context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the Fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" so that the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on- screen object.[4] The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: "WALK", "LOOK", "ASK", "TALK", "PICKUP", "OPEN/CLOSE", "OPERATE", and "MOVE". Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle.[5] Also located on the "icon bar" are the "INVENTORY" and "RECORDER" buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the "CONTROLS" and "HELP" buttons. Clicking on the "INVENTORY" button will open the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use "READ", "OPEN", and "LOOK" commands with any inventory item.

The "ASK" and "TALK" cursors differ in their functions. The "TALK" cursor functions as a short, general, interaction with most characters. The "ASK" cursor is available in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the displayed list. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists, while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the "RECORDER" button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.

At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code.

The game has two endings stemming from a moment where the player is faced with a person in danger. If the player takes action with the person, one ending automatically occurs. If they do nothing, the game will wait several seconds then automatically start a different ending.


The game begins with Gabriel Knight having a recurring nightmare. He wakes up in his own, an apartment attached to his store, St. George's Books, in the French Quarter of New Orleans. In the morning, Gabriel reviews the newspaper and speaks with his assistant Grace Nakimura. Gabriel hopes to write a new novel based on a recent series of killings across New Orleans dubbed the "Voodoo Murders." Though the scenes have Louisiana Voodoo overtones, the police and media believe they are actually mob-related killings as all the victims belong to the criminal underworld. His childhood friend Detective Frank Mosely has promised to help Gabriel's research. A visit to his grandmother leads Gabriel to review his family history and learn new information about it. His German-immigrant grandfather Harrison Knight was born Heinz Ritter and was obsessed with providing a "normal life" for his son Philip, while wishing to avoid talk about his "crazy" family and their "curse." From an early age, Philip was compelled to draw and paint strange, dark imagery, sometimes going into a trance while he did so. The financially struggling Harrison died in a car accident when Philip was eight. Years later, the financially struggling Philip married Margaret Templeton and had Gabriel. The parents died in a car crash when Gabriel was eight, leaving him to be raised by his grandmother. The remainder of Margaret Templeton's trust fund was used by Gabriel to open his store. Gabriel also learns his grandfather as connected to something called a Schattenjäger.

Discovering Mosely is at a new murder scene at Lake Pontchartrain, Gabriel visits him there. Malia Gedde, a local socialite, pulls up to the crime scene and Gabriel is instantly infatuated with her. Gabriel investigates snake scales found at the murder scene and the voodoo angle of the killings. During his investigations, he masquerades as Mosely so he may speak with Malia Gedde. He also meets a number of individuals, including voodoo museum curator, Dr. John, and Professor Hartridge at Tulane University. Hartridge identifies a pattern Gabriel has found as a vévé used in voodoo and agrees to research its origins. Gabriel concludes that the killer is someone who actually practices voodoo and not someone simply using it to cover their tracks. Gabriel is contacted by his great-uncle Wolfgang Ritter who invites Gabriel to come to Germany and learn about his heritage at Schloss Ritter, their ancestral castle in Rittersberg, Germany. Gabriel declines but agrees to accept a family journal from Wolfgang regarding an ancestor Gunter Ritter who fought Tetelo, a voodoo practitioner who turned to murder and was burned at the stake for her crimes.

Mosely interrogates known crook and drug addict Crash about the murders, but learns nothing. Gabriel approaches Crash after spying him in Jackson Square and learns the murders are connected to a local cult, a "voodoo cartel." Crash dies, possibly poisoned, in front of Gabriel and he later finds Hartridge dead as well. Another visit to Dr. John's museum results in the man's python attacking Gabriel. Gabriel shows his collected evidence to Mosely that the murders are done by a voodoo cult and not gangsters covering their tracks, including a newspaper article from 1810 describing a similar murder, Hartridge's information on the reconstructed vévé, and that snake scales at the murder scene match those from Dr. John's python. Mosely believes the proof but then disappears.

Gabriel infiltrates a ceremony conducted by the voodoo cartel. He discovers Malia is the head priestess but not entirely acting of her own accord. At times, she is possessed by the Loa spirit that was once Tetelo, who recognizes Gabriel as a "witch-hunter." Dr. John acts as Malia/Tetelo's right hand man. Gabriel is in danger but then rescued from the cult gathering by Grace, who now believes it is his destiny to stop the cartel. Gabriel discusses the case with Wolfgang Ritter and learns the Ritters are Schattenjägers which translates to "Shadow Hunters," tasked to fight those who threaten others through supernatural means. Wolfgang explains that spirits, vampires, witches, demons, and other forces of darkness are real and their family fights them. Tetelo stole the Ritter Talisman, a protective amulet of immense power, from Gabriel's ancestor Gunter, the Schattenjäger of the time. The amulet was hidden with her remains. Gabriel travels to Bavaria, Germany to meet Ritter and research the possible location of Tetelo's remains.

Arriving at Schloss Ritter, the family home, Gabriel meets Wolfang's assistant Gerde who tells him his great-uncle disappeared after visiting his library that can only be accessed by Schattenjägers. In the castle's chapel, decorated by the image of St. George fighting a dragon, Gabriel undergoes the initiation ritual to become a Schattenjäger. He then dreams of a dragon who initiates him, burning away his sin and putting him on the path of a Shadow Hunter. The dragon warns "you will not be a Schattenjäger until you have earned it." In the morning, Gabriel finds a key has materialized and uses it to access the library. Learning Tetelo's remains are hidden in Benin in a snake mound, he travels to Africa. Inside the snake mound, he meets Wolfgang at last, who is injured. Wolfgang explains he has had few adventures in his life and believes his true purpose is to help Gabriel, who will become a greater Schattenjäger and has a natural talent for it. The two find the sacrificial table that has the Ritter Talisman locked inside. Believing Gabriel needs this to defeat Tetelo, Wolfgang sacrifices his own life to open the sacrificial table. Gabriel swears vengeance on Tetelo for his great-uncle's death.

Returning to New Orleans, Gabriel finds terrible storms are causing deaths, crime has suddenly risen, and food poisoning is widespread. A letter form Malia warns she is not in control of Tetelo and urges Gabriel to leave behind the Ritter Talisman and flee New Orleans for his safety. The letter says that Grace has been kidnapped by the voodoo cartel. Mosely arrives at the book store, revealing he has been hiding and does not believe he can trust everyone in the police department and local government due to influence from the Gedde family and voodoo cartel. The pair determine to rescue Grace and then shut down the Gedde cartel by bringing evidence directly to the FBI. Gabriel tracks down the cartel's hidden hounfour, a voodoo temple, is hidden, and finds Grace. He overhears Malia asking for freedom from Tetelo, who refuses. As Mosely leads Grace out of the temple, Gabriel confronts Tetelo and destroys the stone idol that empowers the Gedde tribe. This causes fissures in the ground to break open. Malia falls and is holding onto the edge for her life. During this moment, Gabriel is torn between fulfilling his duty as a Schattenjäger by allowing Malia to die so Tetelo can be defeated or showing mercy by saving Malia's life.

The game can end one of two ways. If Gabriel chooses to fulfill his duty, Malia remarks that "Tetelo was right" and he has betrayed her. She then pulls Gabriel with her so they will both die. Later, Mosely reflects on Gabriel's heroism while Grace considers a world without Schattenjägers and wonders whether it could have ended differently. If Gabriel chooses to act with mercy and help Malia, she realizes Tetelo was wrong that he would selfishly betray her and regains control of her body. Knowing Tetelo is a threat and will lead the cartel to do more harm, she lets herself fall to her death to end the Loa's hold. The next night, Gabriel reflects on his new status as a Schattenjäger and Grace wonders if she should postpone returning to school in order to help Gabriel fight evil. She remarks that he seems changed by his experiences and new calling. She also considers that Tetelo seemed to ensure the Gedde family had wealth and influence while the Knight family suffered financially and endured recurring tragedy, but now the reverse may be true, indicating a new beginning.


The game was created by writer Jane Jensen, who also worked on King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow. She developed the product with veteran game designer Roberta Williams. Jensen's husband Robert Holmes was a producer and composed the music. Jensen directed the game as well. The voice cast was directed by

The programmers for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father were Bob Andrews, Tom DeSalvo, Jerry Shaw, Sean Mooney, and Greg Tomko-Pavia. Graphic Designer was Nathan Gams. The artists included Michael Hutchison, Chris Willis, Darlou Gams, Deanna Vhalkee, and John Schroades. Audio Engineers were Kelli Spurgeon and Rick Spurgeon. Stuart M. Rosen worked as Voice Director.

The plot and atmosphere of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was inspired by the film Angel Heart.[6] Game designer/director Jane Jensen recalled that she was given a great deal of freedom in creating the game's concept: "One of the great things about Sierra was that Ken Williams really believed in the artistic vision. If he gave you the chance to do a game, that was your responsibility. Nobody told you what to do with it. If it didn't sell, then you wouldn't do another game for him, but he would let you have that freedom."[7]

During development, Sierra's SCI game engine was upgraded to "SCI 32", and the team struggled to switch Gabriel Knight onto the new engine. Because of this, Jensen later wrote that they "fought bugs and snafus for six months. Despite this, we made our Christmas date – it just made what had been a very smooth project a bear."[8]


Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers was first released in North America by Sierra On-Line cross-format as both a single CD-ROM disc and as a set of eleven 3.5" floppy disks on December 17, 1993. The CD-ROM version, besides voice acting, also included video sequences that, in the floppy version were included as a sequence of still images.[3] The game has been subsequently re-released both individually and as Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition,[9] a compilation with the first sequel, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery.[10]

Release Listings:[9]

MAC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (US) – 1994
PC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of our Fathers (US) – 1993
PC – Best of Sierra No. 1 (UK) – 1997
PC – Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Limited Edition (US) – 1998
PC – Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (Good Old Games) (US) – 2010


Sins of the Fathers
Aggregate score
Review scores
Adventure Gamers5/5[3]
AllGameMac: 4/5[12]
PC (floppy): 3.5/5[13]
PC (CD): 3.5/5[14]
Just AdventureA[15]
Adventure Classic Gaming5/5[16]
Adventure Lantern90/100[17]
Computer Game Review1994 Adventure Game of the Year[19]
Computer Gaming WorldAdventure Game of the Year, June 1994[20]
CES1993 Best of Show[19]

Gabriel Knight was not a major commercial hit. According to Todd Vaughn of PC Gamer US, "Jensen's hope for a King's Quest-sized success fell a little short of the mark."[21] The game and its sequel, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery, sold a total of 300,000 copies by December 1998.[22]

When previewing the game in November 1993, Computer Gaming World's Johnny L. Wilson stated the opening sequence "was the first time I've actually experienced fear when viewing a computer game". He wrote that "Gabriel Knight is an exceptional blend of art, game and understanding. It is mature audiences for all the right reasons".[23] In March 1994, the magazine's Charles Ardai stated that Gabriel Knight justified being called an interactive movie, with "audio and video that outshines any cartoon and a story that could scare the bejeebers out of Stephen King ... one of the rare titles that lives up to the promise of the overhyped tag 'multimedia.'" He praised the "exceptionally well-performed game"'s voice actors, but observed that the large conversation trees reduced the horror and tension. Ardai liked how "Gabriel Knight throws the player convincingly into the world of satanism and live sacrifice, of seedy and lecherous New Orleans", predicting that "Gabriel has the makings of a first-rate series character, albeit a troubled and disturbing one". He concluded that the game "is really a preposterous bit of silliness" but "top-notch Hollywood-quality entertainment".[24] In April 1994 the magazine said that the CD version—"the only one to own"—was "Challenging and thought-provoking, an experience not to be missed, for those mature enough to handle it".[25]

In June 1994 Gabriel Knight and Day of the Tentacle won Computer Gaming World's Adventure Game of the Year award. The editors wrote that the former "introduced elements from graphic novels ... nightmarish dream sequences and a dark human story that reads and plays extremely well". Virginia Capers won the Best Female Voice-Over Acting award. The editors had expected to give the award to someone portraying a specific character but were "totally overwhelmed" by Capers as the narrator, stating that "Her performance alone makes it worthwhile to purchase the CD version".[20] In 1996 the magazine listed a zombie ripping out the player's heart as #7 on its list of "the 15 best ways to die in computer gaming".[26]

In 2011, Adventure Gamers named Gabriel Knight the 16th-best adventure game ever released.[27]


The comic book based on the game, originally included with the physical copy of the video game, was later posted in Sierra Studios's page.[28]

20th Anniversary Edition[edit]

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition
Developer(s)Pinkerton Road Studio
Publisher(s)Phoenix Online Publishing (Phoenix Online Studios LLC)
SeriesGabriel Knight
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.6, iOS 8.0, Android 4.0
Release2014-10-15 (Mac OS, Win)[29]
2015-07-23 (Android, iOS)[30]
Genre(s)Point-and-click adventure
Mode(s)Single player

On October 8, 2013, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition was announced for the PC and Mac.[31][32] It was developed by Jane Jensen's new studio Pinkerton Road Studios and released by Phoenix Online Studios on October 15, 2014. The reimagining[33] includes improved graphics, a remastered soundtrack, and new puzzles and game play. A version of the game for Android and iOS was released on July 23, 2015.[34] A Linux version was said to be coming at the time of the game's announcement but the statement was later retracted.[35][36]

MP3 soundtrack was unlocked for all buyers in 2013-12-13.[37]


The development was announced when Jane Jensen solicited a Kickstarter campaign to fund development of 3 games.[38] The Kickstarter page[39] included a US$16 pledge level listed 'Mystery Game X', which is also included in all the exceeding pledge levels. The campaign's funding level has never reached the $600,000 needed to justify developing Mystery Game X, so the game was developed without crowdfunding campaign.[40]


Series creator Jane Jensen created a 3-part comic based on the 20th Anniversary Edition video game, which took place six months after his last quest, ’The Temptation’. Chapter 1 was released in 17 December 2014.[41] Chapter 2 was later released with Chapter 1 in single file.[42] Chapter 3 was released with Chapters 1 and 2 in single file.[43]

20th Anniversary Voice Cast[edit]

  • Jason Victor - Gabriel Knight
  • Cissy Jones - Grace Nakimura, Madame Lorelei
  • Ned Clarke - Detective Mosely
  • Amy Ingersol - Malia Gedde, Tetelo
  • Amy Kelly - Narrator
  • Dave Fennoy - Dr. John, The Dragon
  • Jeanie Kelsey - Grandma Knight
  • Wolfgang Ritter - Terry McGovern
  • Professor Hartridge - Mark Barbolak
  • Alexandra Matthew - Gerde, Officer Franks
  • Ruby Butterfield - Gunter Ritter
  • Magentia Moonbeam - Leah Russo
  • Adam Harrington - Desk Sgt. Frick, Willy Walker, Markus, Bruno
  • Kid Beyond - Bartender, Watchman
  • Brian Vickers - Sam


  1. ^ a b c Jensen, Jane (1993). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Technical Manual". Sierra Online, Inc.: 35–36. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Release Information for Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-05-25.
  3. ^ a b c d "Adventure Gamers : Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  4. ^ a b "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Review by Quandary". Archived from the original on 2008-06-23. Retrieved 2008-05-26.
  5. ^ Jensen, Jane (1993). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Technical Manual". Sierra Online, Inc.: 7–8. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "DetectiveMosely comments on "I am Jane Jensen, creator of Gabriel Knight, Gray Matter and Pinkerton Road game studio. Ask me anything."". Archived from the original on 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  7. ^ Kollar, Phil (2012). "Hunting Shadows: The Rise and Fall of Gabriel Knight". Game Informer (229): 98–99.
  8. ^ Jensen, Jane (June 4, 1998). "Designer Diaries; Gabriel Knight 3". GameSpot. Archived from the original on February 24, 1999. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". GameSpot / CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  10. ^ "The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery". Adventure Classic Gaming. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Reviews". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  12. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  13. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  14. ^ "allgame ((( Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers CD-ROM > Overview )))". Retrieved 2008-05-30.
  15. ^ "Review: Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  16. ^ "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers – Review – Adventure Classic Gaming". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  17. ^ "Gabriel Knight Review – Adventure Lantern". Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  18. ^ "Gabriel Knight Review -". Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  19. ^ a b "The Gabriel Knight Mysteries: Overview". Archived from the original on 2001-06-26. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
  20. ^ a b "Announcing The New Premier Awards". Computer Gaming World. June 1994. pp. 51–58.
  21. ^ Vaughn, Todd (November 1995). "The Beast Within". PC Gamer US. 2 (11): 44–46.
  22. ^ Gornstein, Leslie (December 10, 1998). "Violence Not Wanted: Can't We Play Nice?". Orange County Register. p. C01.
  23. ^ Wilson, Johnny L. (November 1993). "Between Dark And Daylight / Gabriel Knight Explores The Shades of Gray". Computer Gaming World. pp. 14–15. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  24. ^ Ardai, Charles (March 1994). "Voices In The Knight". Computer Gaming World. pp. 32–36.
  25. ^ "Invasion Of The Data Stashers". Computer Gaming World. April 1994. pp. 20–42.
  26. ^ "The 15 Best Ways To Die In Computer Gaming". Computer Gaming World. November 1996. p. 107. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  27. ^ AG Staff (December 30, 2011). "Top 100 All-Time Adventure Games". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on June 4, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  28. ^ Graphic Novel
  29. ^ Gabriel Knight Out Now!
  30. ^ Gabriel Knight is Now Available for iPad and Android Tablets!
  31. ^ Jensen, Jane (8 October 2013). "jensen_jane". Twitter. Twitter Inc. Archived from the original on 17 January 2014. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  32. ^ Bittar, Cesar (8 October 2013). "MGX Announced: Phoenix Online developing Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father Remake!". Phoenix Online Studios. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Matulef, Jeffery (July 23, 2015). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers remake now on iOS and Android". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  35. ^ Hathaway, Weldon (8 October 2013). "Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Remake Announced!". Pinkerton Road Studio Official Forum. Pinkerton Road Studio. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  36. ^ Hathaway, Weldon (27 November 2013). "GK *not* releasing on Linux". Pinkerton Road Studio Official Forum. Pinkerton Road Studio. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  37. ^ Gabriel Knight – Bonus Content Update – A Special Unlock for All Schattenjaegers
  38. ^ A few words from Jane Jensen!
  39. ^ Jane Jensen's Moebius and Pinkerton Road Studio
  40. ^ Gabriel Knight and starvation wages at Pinkerton Road
  41. ^ Gabriel Knight: The Temptation Comic (chapter 1)
  42. ^ Gabriel Knight: The Temptation Comic
  43. ^ Gabriel Knight – The Temptation Full Comic

External links[edit]

20th Anniversary Edition[edit]