Presto shipped its first game in the series, "The Journeyman Project" (TJP), in January 1993. A few months later, in July/August, they started working on the sequel, "The Journeyman Project II: Buried in Time".
"BIT world would become three times larger than that of Journeyman, and would fill three CD-ROMs. It got ten times as many rendered frames of animation, three times as much video, and an entire on-line data bank of clues, quips, and historical information recorded by professional comedian Matt Weinhold. It also represented an advance over the original in many other ways, including full-motion walking animations, a larger cast of professional actors, seamlessly integrated live-action video, actual historical time zones, and advances in the interface."
Michael Kripalani (Presto's president, project coordinator, lead 3D artist, and programmer), Phil Saunders (creative designer and industrial conceptual designer) and Dave Flanagan (professional writer and programmer) wrote the outline of the new game. It took them about five months, and in the end they had a 30-page document that outlined the basic game. Flanagan fleshed out the story in a script of a few hundred pages (including much dialogue).
The hero of BIT would become "Gage Blackwood", agent 5 of the "Temporal Security Annex/Temperal Security Agency". Gage was represented by actor Todd McCormick.1
The team wished to add a side-kick that could help the hero and the player and would made (funny) comments, so Arthur was born, an artificial inteligence, which was downloaded onto a so-called biochip. The side-kick was one of the changes BIT included after TJP.
With the biochip, a device already implemented in the first game, the team created an exellent way to increase interactivity density.2
The game included 8 biochips (one of the chips was blank), which would be located at an inventory window at the bottom of the screen. One chip was reserved for Arthur, the AI. The player could do diffent things with the chips, such as translate inscriptions, or cloak or jump.
Phil Sauders was the main creative force behind the designs of the game. He sketched the rooms, the objects and props. He was assisted by Victor Navone, a major in Fine Arts from the University of California at Irvine.
In the TJP a large machine was used for time-travelling. A novelty was the design of a so-called biosuit. After Sounders sketches the Holywood company All Effects Co. was contacted for a full scale model.
Fly-by clips were designed to suggest the jumps to the different environments.
The final game would include 7 environments.
For the futuristic environments, pure imagination replaced extensive research. The team designed the Future Apartment as a space where nature and technology had peacefully joined. For example, in the so=called "Environ Room" the main support for the solar paneled roof is large pillar that is tree-shaped.
The team designed the Space Station with long corridors with some meteorite damage. The station would use asteroids for raw materials.
The team also wanted to include a pyramid as environment, and they opted for a Mayan city callen Chichén Itzá.
Initially they imagined as liar for Agent 3 an underground cave. It would not have an entry, except for a teleporter. In stead a Missile Silo was considered to be a more appropriate choice for the agent.
The comprehensive background for the alien species was fleshed out by the planning team of Saunders, Flanagan and Kripalani. Navone did the design of the Alien Environment. He created dozens of sketches, and the result was a culmination of themes from about 40 different prototypes.
The Da Vinci environment was designed by Navone. A hypothetical situation was created in which the Duke of Milan had built a studie for Da Vinci.
To bring the historical worlds back to life, Saunders researched them to excess. For instance, one of the earliest environments was based on the ruins of 13th century stronghold of Richard the Lionheart. The actual French castle "Château Gaillard" was built in 1197 and destroyed. But Saunders found books about the castle and recreated it, brick by brick, through his sketches.
(c) All artwork copyright Presto Studios
(c) Text game-nostalgia.com 2020