Overseer is the fifth game to star bumbling private investigator Tex Murphy. Created by Access Software the game was mainly funded by Intel who saw the series’ rich 3D environments and extensive use of full motion video as an enticing application to usher in the use of its Pentium III processors for 3D and DVD video on the PC.
Technically the game follows the previous two games with full 3D environments for exploration with cut-scenes and NPC dialogue using FMV. Although the basic methods of storytelling and gameplay remained true to the previous two titles, the bar was raised technically through the use of Windows instead of DOS as the underlying operating system and allowed the game to incorporate 3D sound, MPEG-2 DVD video, and in a post-release patch the early adoption of 3D acceleration using Direct3D. The game shipped with two versions in the same package: a 4-CD version which used the video codec found in the last two Tex Murphy games and required disc swapping, and as a DVD version that included high-quality DVD video for use with appropriate hardware or CPU based MPEG decoding and required no disc swapping. The technical prowess of the game was leveraged by Intel to push forward DVD, 3D and processor technologies and was originally intended to be bundled with Intel hardware, but this plan was eventually scrapped and the game was released through regular retail channels.
Intel’s marking plans are presumably the reason why the schedule for Overseers production was more aggressive than previous entries in the series. The game continued the trend of increasing production values, but the short development meant a shorter game as well as the exclusion of multiple paths and endings pioneered in the series’ previous title: The Pandora Directive.
Chris Jones once again starred as protagonist Tex Murphy. The game saw the return of only a few common characters to the Tex Murphy series, notably romantic interest Chelsee Bando, played by Suzanne Barnes. The game included Hollywood talent including Michael York.
The story in Overseer is both the opening act in what was a planned trilogy of Tex Murphy games as well as a retelling Mean Streets, the first Tex Murphy game. The story involves present-day (2043 A.D.) Tex explaining his relationship hesitations to romantic interest Chelsee through flashback retelling of Mean Streets which serves as the principle back drop for gameplay. Although little of the game takes place in present-day (2043 A.D.) San Francisco, the game does end in the present-day with a shocking cliff-hanger that was intended to be resolved in future Tex Murphy games titled “Chance” and “Polarity.” Due to the declining popularity and commercial viability of adventure games as well as the purchase of Access Studio by Microsoft, presumably for their Links golf franchise and not for Tex, the following two chapters were never produced.
In 2001 Chris Jones and Aaron Conners recorded several radio shows entitled Tex Murphy Radio Theater to tie up the loose ends left in Overseer.