When a friend dares me with a design challenge, I can never resist. The proposal of a Jane Austen video game was an especially intriguing concept. I only spent a day on these three rough design mockups, and they are not anywhere near finished. I’m still very excited to share them with all of you! They came out better than I expected, considering that I went from brainstorming rough sketches to creating mockups in Photoshop in only a few hours.
The lovely antique graphics in these mockups are mostly gathered from Ackermann’s Repository, a publication from the British Regency, and historical prints. I had help from EKDuncan’s collection of the fashion plates, Jane Austen Today’s shopping images, and Historical Hussies. For the entire publication, check out my previous blog post on where to download Ackermann’s Repository.
I wanted the user interface to feel very immersive, so I decided to use props instead of icons. The pocket watch might represent a time element in the game. The stack of correspondence would be letters from other characters, the notebook would hold quests, and the reticule purse would open the inventory screen with the player’s worldly possessions.
While a real version of this game concept would probably require some illustration work, there is such a wealth of beautiful prints from the era that it would be a shame not to use them. Especially as they can so accurately evoke the time period. At the very least, I think it would be wonderful if the graphics were all produced in a style similar to these historic prints.
I chose traits for the players inspired by those often featured in Jane Austen’s works. These traits and specific props might improve or hinder conversations with characters. Puzzles that require combining props might also be a great match for this game concept.
I know that there have been Jane Austen games pitched on Kickstarter, but I don’t think any of them are a point-and-click adventure problem solving video game. Monkey Islands meets Jane Austen inspired witty repartee? To me, that seems like one of the best ways to capture the essence of Jane Austen’s regency world in a video game. What do you think? Should I pursue this concept further?