Video game opens portal to world of Jane Austen

Have you ever wanted to jump into your favorite novel? Seeing it adapted into a film is a great substitution, but what if you could actually fully immerse yourself in a novel’s fictional world? Thanks to founder of 3 Turn Productions Judy L. Tyrer, Jane Austen fanatics are finally getting that opportunity with the phenomenon Ever, Jane.

It is a little odd to think that Austen’s Victorian novels could be the inspiration for a modern day video game, but Ever, Jane allows English majors and Austen lovers alike to enjoy a virtual world derived from the works of the 18th century author. The game is currently in open-beta format, but it will be fully released in 2017.

Austen’s novels take place in late 18th century England—a time during which a strict social hierarchy ruled and women were financially dependent on men. Austen criticizes this hierarchy in novels such as Sense and Sensibility. This criticism is something that the creators of Ever, Jane attempted to place into their game.

A massively multiplayer online game—MMO—Ever, Jane successfully weaves in elements from Austen’s major works. Quotes from her novels appear on the loading screens and task prompts, and period music plays as you create a character from 18th century England.

Once players create their characters and click play, they enter the fictional town of Tyrehampton—a quaint town full of gossip, balls, churches and small shops. Since the game is role-playing, players interact with other online gamers who speak proper 18th century English.

Despite the game’s lack of completion, it is already fairly developed. The gameplay screen is full of different actions such as chatting, gossiping and various amounts of gestures—in addition to many more unfinished attributes.

Like other MMO games, the creators of Ever, Jane give the players qualities to develop over the course of their gameplay. Unlike other MMO games, which include statistics such as strength or power, players of Ever, Jane strive to improve their “Austen-like” traits, such as status, duty and kindness.

Other fun attributes involve ballroom dancing, writing letters and gossiping about other players. Where other MMO games use weapons, Ever, Jane uses gossip, replacing swords, shields and guns with disparaging comments about other Tyrehampton residents.

In addition, Ever, Jane equates family systems with the alliances in other MMO games. Players can adopt, marry, divorce and disown each other to increase their loyalty or their anger toward other players. But the status of your character determines whom you are allowed to interact with, making it a bit hard to rise up in the ranks, just like in Austen’s famous fictional world.

The game is free to play for now, but after its official release the subscription level will determine a player’s wealth. For example, if you want to play for free, your character will be a servant, but if you pay $25 a month, your character will gain property and a title.

The production company has faced some criticism for the manner in which you can increase your character’s status, but Tyrer is firm in her defense of the game. In any case, if you don’t want to invest money into the game, marriage—much like in 18th century England—is an alternative way to increase your social status.

These small kinks in the game are only a temporary setback. Hopefully in the next couple of months, Ever, Jane will become a place where people can communicate and interact in the 18th century world.

For now, Ever, Jane is a place where Austen fans and booklovers can finally call home.