The Gabriel Knight story
Not unlike other FMV games, The Beast Within also gained criticism among gamers for its mixed nature; however, this did not prevent it from instantly becoming a classic and receiving many prestigious awards. The plot was possibly the best ever developed for a game until then, and that made public and reviewers forgive the overall acting standard, which was in more than one point rather poor.
Overall, GK2 was a success: this eventually convinced Sierra to start the development of a next GK instalment, and in the meantime to release a limited edition package featuring the first two games. During the same period, Jane Jensen wrote the novelisations of both of the already published games. All this contributed towards creating an atmosphere of high anticipation for the endlessly-in-development GK3.
Gabriel Knight 3 - Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned confirmed the high technology standards of its predecessors. Extremely ambitious as a project, it aimed to push further the technological edges of adventure gaming as its predecessors did. In this sense, the great innovation brought by GK3 was the full-3D engine which allowed virtually unlimited camera movement in all the game locations, maintaining fixed camera angle only in cut-scenes. Unlike King's Quest VIII, the other 3D Sierra adventure experiment, Gabriel Knight 3 remained faithful to its genre rules, incorporating very little action elements and featuring an overall traditional point-and-click interface.
The GK3 plot was the thickest and most researched story ever featured in a game: the powerful mixture of supernatural and history, real life elements and fiction typical to the GK series reached here a peak which often caused players to confuse fictional elements as reality and vice-versa. On the other hand, many hardcore adventurers were not satisfied with it: among the objects of complaint were some of the puzzles, some aspects of the voice acting, the 3D graphics and the fact that the game was quite heavily plot-based. To do justice to the game, it has to be said that it turned out to be a stand-alone title with unique and groundbreaking features that made it different to traditional adventure games, and this was not always appreciated by hardcore adventurers who expected it to be just another adventure game.
A proof of the rather cold welcome Gabriel Knight 3 received from the public was the fact that although it sold many copies during the first month of its release, sales dropped to much lower levels subsequently. It should not be overlooked, however, the despite the ambitious nature of the game, it was never properly marketed. During the following months, sales remained constant, and if we consider its sales history from 1999 to today, we can see that the game has actually sold a significant number of copies, especially in Europe. However, due to the initial marketing fault, GK3 did not bring Sierra the invested money back and thus played its role in convincing Sierra's owners that adventure gaming was not in fashion any more.