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Jagged Alliance 2 Basis ( Ja2 )

mit Frank Heukemes

Frank Heukemes is the director development at Topware Interactive, the German publisher of the game. He's also the one who maintains the German JA2 website: www.ja2.de

  • 1. In Germany Jagged Alliance 2 will be published by Topware, now does that mean the game will be released in Germany before it hits the shelves in the US because there isn't yet found a publisher yet and in Germany there is?

[Heukemes, Frank]  That might be possible, depending on WHEN SirTech will find a publisher for the US. We are shooting for a February/March-Release in Germany. However, this date depends on Sirtech Canada, on just how fast they will be able to kill the rest of the bugs and bring the program to a quality standard that will be not only "acceptable" for the customer, but that will not leave any open questions or demands. We all want to avoid what happened with Fallout2, which is still full of severe bugs.

  • 2. Have you noticed any pressure on the employees at Sir-Tech a cause of the tons of negative reactions to the further delay of the game?

[Heukemes, Frank]  I can answer this generally. Whenever a human being feels pressure upon him and gets tons of negative reactions to what he is doing, it will affect him. Since SirTech does not employ androids, these reactions are typically human and therefore I can say (without knowing them too well) that yes, the employees definitely suffered from that. But they also know and hear and read from the reactions of thousands of fans in the forums and newsgroups that they are creating a milestone game. Having been an editor for Power Play magazine/Germany, I also regard this game as one of the best ever and since I have been with TopWare, I put all of my effort into getting the Jagged Alliance series for Germany, since Jagged Alliance and Deadly Games were my favorite games of all time.

  • 3. The game will be released in many different languages, but they will all be released on the same date. Couldn't the release date of the game have been set earlier if the game would first be released in English and later in the other language versions?

[Heukemes, Frank]  Absolutely not. SirTech is in no way affected by the localisation of JA2. All the voice recordings, translations, etc. are done by the partners in the foreign countries. You can imagine this system as a non-language-specific software-"skeleton", which will be delivered by SirTech to the foreign partners. All the translated files and the foreign speech files will be "hung" into this skeleton like organs. All the QA and testing for these organs is handled by the foreign partners, so effectively it does not take SirTech an excessive amount of extra time to have all these language versions done.

  • 4. How many copies of the game have been ordered yet for Germany by Topware?

[Heukemes, Frank]  100.000 copies but we are expecting to sell more than that. Of course, not making the X-mas business has hurt us a lot. Nevertheless, it has never been a point of discussion neither for us nor for SirTech to release the game in the state it was some weeks ago just to make X-mas business. We don�t think this would have been fair for the customer, although the majority of the customers wanted us (and probably the same happened in the US) to release the game anyway. We think in the end we served them well by giving the product some more time.

  • 5. Many people are complaining about the little amount of info on the website of the game and the site also isn't updated on regular base. Wouldn't it be better for the popularity and publicity of the game if their was put more into the website of JA2?

[Heukemes, Frank]  I can�t speak for SirTech�s website, but the TopWare forum is attended by me and I answer all questions whenever I find the time to do it, which is on a regular basis. We also posted some pics of mercs and NPCs along with some speechfiles (German).

  • 6. Do you think Sir-Tech should release another demo of the game, because it is rather strange and uncommon to release a demo and say the game will be released one month and then delay the release date with almost a half year. That isn't really fair regarding the fans is it? If another demo would be released would that delay the release date of the full game?

[Heukemes, Frank]  Yes, it would definitely delay the release of the full game. I don�t think that giving out a demo no matter how much time before the full product ships is unfair to the customer in any way. I even think it is absolutely not normal and a very nice gesture of the developer. People should appreciate that and not just beg for more.

  • 7. How many beta-testers were there for JA2?

[Heukemes, Frank]  I can�t answer this for SirTech, in Germany we have 9 people just checking the German speech and text files. We also document program bugs that we happen to find and send them over to SirTech.

  • 8. However you are not related to Sir-Tech directly you are in the game, as a barkeeper! How come?

Frank, the bartender

The real Frank Heukemes

[Heukemes, Frank]  That�s a long story dating back two years when I was still with Power Play magazine. Brenda Garneau from SirTech was our correspondent for the US at that time and through her I got to know Ian Currie. I think he respected my work for Jagged Alliance 1 and Deadly Games. I was trying to make these games popular in Germany. JA1 was made game of the year by Power Play and I wrote lots of pages for both games. As I mentioned earlier, they were my favorite games (still are) and I wanted to make them known to everybody in the German gaming world. As a  "thank you" for that, Ian offered through Brenda to put me as a person into JA2, not telling me yet, who is was going to be. Turned out I was a bartender in San Mona in a bar next to a brothel. The most funny thing is that Valkyrie Studios, a development team from Chicago that works exclusively for TopWare, picked up on the idea because they also have a bar next to a brothel in their game "Septerra Core". So it became something like a running gag and I guess I will be the brothel bartender in some of the games published by TopWare from now on. If you are interested in what TopWare has to offer, please drop by at www.topware.com and take a look at some of the most interesting games of our time. This was said as "Frank the editor" and nor "Frank the TopWare employee"!

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