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visitors since 25.01.99

Jagged Alliance 2 Basis ( Ja2 )

mit Shaun Lyng:

Shaun Lyng, Co-Designer & Writer

Interview By: Ben Tremblay for GA-Source
Published On: Thursday, March 11, 1999

  • Can you give us some background on your previous work and what you are currently working on?

I wrote, co-designed, and served as voice director for all three JA games. I have also casted, directed and produced voice work for a number of other software titles. When things get slow, I also write animation (cartoons) for television.

Currently, I'm writing design docs for a new game. Don't ask, because I'm not allowed to tell you.

  • How have you and the original Jagged Alliance development team met?

Ian Currie and I went to school together, then met up later in life through a series of coincidences. He knew I was a writer, and showed me some of things he was programming on his computer. We started out almost as a hobby, working in Ian's basement and discussing design over beer. Ian was the one who actually taught me how to use a computer. I still remember my first lesson - F10 saved in Word Perfect. Mohanned Mansour was recruited by Ian through an ad for an artist he put up in a local university.

  • Just how many lines of speech do you estimate there is in Jagged Alliance 2?

Offhand, I would say well over ten thousand.

  • How much time do you estimate you have spent writing for JA2 only?

I worked on JA2 for 18 months. Probably spent less than half that time writing dialogue.

  • Did you keep some of the old lines from the mercenaries or you scrapped everything from the previous episodes and started over?

All the lines in JA2 are original.

  • Where do you find your inspiration for such colored characters such as Biff and Tex?

There are some things that even I don't want to know about myself.

  • Which character(s) did you have the most fun creating? or that brings back the best memories?

The wackos are fun. Unusually Ruthless Reuban is special, since he was the first character I created. Larry always makes me laugh hysterically when I'm writing him, as does Malice. I guess I enjoy writing them all. Even the ones I hate.

  • Is it true that you have found your inspiration for some characters among the Sir Tech crew? Does the name Eric T. Cheng (a Sir Tech artist) as Dr. Q sound familiar to you? :)

I don't know about inspiration for the characters, but some of the team member's pictures where used as a reference to create character portraits. I would say that the portrait artist, Joey Whelan, found his inspiration for his artwork from some of the crew. Though looking at the final results, you'd never know it. They are far better than anything we put together for the previous games. And yes, Eric T. Cheng is Dr.Q.

  • How do you think the character personalities are going to benefit the player? Do they have a direct impact on gameplay?

They are all individuals who can benefit or hurt the player depending on how they are used. The player's choice of mercs is a serious factor in how the story unfolds.

  • What kind of personality did you give to the people of Arulco? (Are they mostly good natured, liars, jokers, etc.)

A world of personalities live in Arulco. Some of them give the mercs a run for their money when it comes to character. I've been testing beta all day. Cheating my way around the country to test NPC interaction and quest related stuff. I'm really happy with what we've done. The programmers have also done some great work with the tactical engine.

  • Did you personally choose the actors that are part of the JA2 cast?

Yes, I did. I also directed them.

  • How many of them is there in JA2? Did you keep most of the actors that brought the original JA's characters to life?

We used roughly thirty-five actors. The original actors were used whenever possible. I think I might have had to replace one. I'm not sure, it was a while ago.

  • Have you ever had to remove characters for some reasons?

I've never had to remove a character, or pretty much anything else for that matter. I always been given a lot of freedom. It's really nice :-)

  • What kind of quests is there in JA2?

I don't want to give too much away, but we have a decent variety of things happening. You know the standard fare, from free my sister who's been forced into a life of prostitution to escorting a couple of lost American tourists from Cleveland, Ohio to the local airport, so they can fly home.

  • Are they complex and lengthy or one day missions for the most part?

Some are pretty straight forward, others a little more complex. None are game completion critical, but there's usually an appealing benefit to getting them done.

  • At any time during the game, is it possible to have a conversation with enemies? To Interrogate them for example.

Some of the enemies are NPCs that the player can interact with. For now, I won't give away any more than that.

  • Can you give us some juicy details about Science Fiction in the JA2 plot?

Again, I don't want to give away too much. I will say, Deidranna has been taking care of some rather nasty critters. And when she has her people stop feeding them, well... all hell breaks loose. :-)

  • Rumors say JA2 is just about to go gold and that Sir-tech Canada is looking for a publisher. Can you confirm this? If yes, do you have any release date in mind?

We're hoping to go gold by the end of this week. It might slip into the middle of next week, but the end of the week seems more likely. As far as I know negotiations with publishers are on-going. And mid to late, April seems to be the shelf date I hear being thrown around.

  • Thank you and on a final note... can you tell us about your opinion on the future of the JA series? In other words what you would personally like to happen in the future regarding the series?

Personally, I'd like to see a sequel. We're hoping the sales of JA2 will warrant one and will all get to do it again.

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