mit Ian Currie
Gaming Nexus: Ian, thanks for taking this time out to talk to us. When did you first start designing computer games?
Ian Currie: I started around 1986. I became interested in computers when I saw one of the very first flight sims on an XT. After then getting a computer and becoming a gameaholic, I got tired of waiting for games and then being disappointed because they weren't what I'd hoped for so I started to learn to program in hopes that I could make my own. Pretty soon I had a few shareware style games that kept growing and getting more fun to play that I began to realize designing and programming games were very much like playing games, but even more fun.
GN: The original Jagged Alliance was a smash hit. Does that make it harder on you as a designer to make the sequel a success? Or just more of a challenge?
IC: Both. You always want to do more. There's always stuff that you wanted to get in the last version that you didn't have time for and that's usually where you start. I play my own games and every time I do I come up with a modification or idea that I'd like to see, much the same way we receive mail from fans who always have suggestions. The problem always is that implementation of one idea may kill another - whether it's because of time and resources or conflicting ideas; choosing which baskets your finite amount of eggs get tossed into is the hard part - being too ambitious can hurt the product as well. Somehow, though, it all seems to work out in the end.
GN: Is the gameplay similar to the original? Or are there any big changes that deserve mentioning?
IC: Well, it's still Jagged Alliance. The basic concept of the tactical portion of the game is similar - it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary. We've just expanded it greatly so mercs can run, crawl, jump, climb, etc., and added a lot more sophistication in the modeling of weapons and their effects so that we'll be able to apply some physics (something we've never cared about before) and we're adding in a true real time option that will appeal to some folks.
The global RPG/strategy layer is drastically different. We're creating a whole country that, if we get it right, will live and breathe on it's own, creating a different game for everyone, each time they play.
GN: We have heard very little about the storyline for Jagged Alliance II. All we know is that there are a lot of surprises. I don't want you to give anything away, but can you fill us in on the basic idea behind the story?
IC: Well, the story is somewhat complex. The basic idea is that you're helping to stop a (female) genocidical dictator from terrorizing a small country and restore the rightful leadership of her husband. It'll involve some strategic deployment of your 20 man team, the training and building up of confidence among the part of the local residents to fight for themselves, and figuring a way to stop an interesting "living" weapon that this lunatic in control has.
GN: One of the aspects that really caught my eye was the idea of being able to make a customized mercenary. Can you describe to us how that works?
IC: Well, basically, you'll be able to create one merc. You'll have limited points to spread to all his/her attributes and skills; you'll choose a portrait and voice style. This merc won't cost you and of course can grow and improve.
GN: What part of Jagged Alliance 2 are you the most happy with?
IC: The atmosphere and personality of the game. I think players will find it totally immersive.
GN: What has been the toughest part in making this sequel?
IC: Building the sophisticated 16 bit engine that we wanted in order to have some awesome graphics without sacrificing too much on frame rate.
GN:Are these an all new batch of mercenaries? Or will some of the favorites from the original be back for part 2?
IC: There's many new mercs. A.I.M. still exists and many favourites (such as Ivan, who now speaks broken English) will be there, but there'll be other resources to get personnel for your team as well. Your team can now have up to 20 people, and you can spread them out in different locales across the country.
GN: When can gamers expect to get their hands on the game?
IC: April, 1998 (<-- ha ha ha ... da kann ich ja nur mal müde lächeln. Tschuldigung, konnt ich mir nicht verkneifen. Barlmoro )
GN: Thanks Ian, I am sure it will be worth the wait!