This article concerns the development of Gabriel Knight 1 floppy and CD-Rom.
The demo for GK1 offers some fascinating insight into early development of the game, and changes that were made before the final release. Material from all three are discussed here. A behind the scenes journal in the 20th Anniversary edition offers wonderful look into the concept art from the original version of the games created during Sierra's heyday as well as some other details about the making of the game.
There are also video interviews, articles in InterAction magazine, which offer other details about the development put into the original game.
- Opening the files in Sci Viewer shows alot of unused content, interfaces, concept/placeholder animations, etc.
- Different title screen. The text is fully animated starting with Gabriel one letter at a time, followed by Knight across the screen one letter at a time.
- The title menu only has intro, play, an quite. No restore button.
- The arrow cursor on the title screen is blood red (its gold on floppy version, and lavender on the CD-rom).
- Intro cutscene is somewhat longer, and contains some of the full animation that is in the CD-rom but cut from the Floppy version. It does not lead into credits, and ends in a somewhat sped up version of Gabrile waking up.
- There of some screen descriptions which have placeholder messages.
- Gabriel's Studio/Bedroom is not available in the demo.
- While several locations are shown on the map they are unavailable in the day 1 playable demo. Including Grandma Knight's house, Dixieland Drug Store, St. Louis Cathedral, and Napoleon House.
- Includes puzzles up to the crime scene, and end of the day. Then advertises future adventures Gabriel will be able to experience.
- The demo has a cool looking skull for the loading/wait cursor graphic on start up. There is no wait cursor on start up in the later versions but the entire logo splash screen instead.
- The main wait/load cursor in the game is a gold and blue shield with a red "G" in the center of it. In the Released versions the wait cursor is a steel colored shield emblazoned with GK, with a black outline around it.
- The demo does not have the Sierra Logo splash screen at start and instead loads to animated title screen.
- Day 1 starts with different quote, and includes a quote by W. B. Yeats.
- The german-english dictionary is not in the demo.
- The demo has 25 points total to collect, and this is reflected in the menu point list (which starts out as 0 of 25). In the full releases its 0 out of 342.
- There is a different points sound (a sort of drum like clunk sound).
- The menu itself is different, with a snake on left side and female line/jaguar on the right. The released game floppy has a male lion the left side, and a snake on the right (a very different snake image). The CD release has completely new hires art of the lion and the snake. Interesting thing in released games is that the animal eyes can glow red depending on where you hover cursor over the menu. The order and location of the icons is different. The section with the inventory pouch, and tape recorder is located closer to the other icons sets without the brick-like divider in between.
- The right click cycling through the icons is also in different order.
- The walk cursor and menu icon is different.
- The tape recorder button on the menu is different. And does not have the button like appearance of the released game instead just being pouch on a black background like the rest of the menu items.
- The graphic for the pouch looks the same, but is not a 'button' like in the release but just on black background like the rest of the icons.
- Hovering over the menu buttons makes only the main icon itself turn green, while release games =the 'buttons' turn red and gold.
- The menu layout of the settings menu is very different.
- The restart button has a unique message ("You want to relive the NIGHTMARE from the beginning?") and two buttons asks do you want to restart: 'Yes, restart game' or 'No, now that you mention it". The released game has a simple "Restart" and an arrow circling icon for restart, and "Play" button to just continue.
- The 'quit button' is at the bottom (it is moved to the top in release versions). It similarly has message; "Bugging out on me, are you?" with choices "Yup, you're on your own, pal." and "Nah, I'll stay." The release versions has simple "Quit" and options of "Quit" and "Play".
- The Sierra icon in the settings menu has "Demo Info", "How to Play", "Days 2-10", and "GK Team".
- When climbing the ladder there is a joke about looking down Grace's shirt, this appears in the released versions, but the demo has an additional comment from Gabriel which does not appear in the released games: "You're no fun at all."
- There is no music played on the street maps.
- The sign to the "Greater New Orleans" area is not on the map, instead there is simply the message: "Greater New Orleans Area Map".
- There is no Jackson Square Overlook location and no Binoculars icon (and the area is inaccessible anyways).
- There are no police standing around the police station, just two at the desks (in release there are two cops one black and one white standing around, and one walks off, and the other leans against the wall. The random cops walks in and does things like walk up to the female cop's desk, or over to Frick. These include a, white male cop, and black female cop, who comes in and circles the room).
- The police radio is digital speech like in the CD-Rom, rather than text like the floppy.
- No blood trail near the body at the crime scene (as in the release version.)
- As there is no visit to grandmother's house, and no notebook, there is no way to take a sketch of the veve at the crime scene in the demo.
- While you can get permission to speak to Mosely in his office from Frick, you can't actually do it in the day 1 demo.
- Much simpler looking save and load screen interfaces than in the released versions (orange text on black background and grey border). This simple design also appears for help and any other text pop up boxes that appear. Character text still appears at the bottom of the screen however.
- Settings menu as a 'Talk" but pushing it says "*** You are not playing a cd!".
- The icons on the map are the same or similar to the versions on the Floppy, rather than the versions that ended up in the CD-Rom (the latter which were higher res)
- The Recorder is not available for the day 1 demo.
- Artwork for Grandma's house is in the demo, although you can't actually visit there in the day 1 demo.
- Animations for Bruno, Dr. John, hotdog vendor, fortune teller, painter, Crash random police officers (for the PD) is in the game although he does not appear in the demo.
The floppy version has some interesting concept and unused content as well.
- Various unused animations for various people using the confessional, and stills for people sitting in the pews of the cathedral.
- An early title screen with the name Gabriel Knight: Shadow Hunter.
- An alternate version of Gabriel with short hair.
The CD-ROM version featured voice talents of such well-known actors as Tim Curry as Gabriel and Robert the butler, Mark Hamill as his friend Detective Mosely and the Jeep driver in Africa, Leah Remini as Grace, and Michael Dorn as Dr. John, a proprietor of a voodoo museum in central New Orleans.