Top Gun Teleconference
As I mentioned in an earlier post, it seems like Paramount and doublesix are promoting Top Gun very vehemently. As such, PSNStores.com was invited to a teleconference with Jack Epps, Jr., the writer of both the movie and the game. There were many other news editors present; each of us got to ask one question. A member of doublesix (Michael?) was also there to field any of the technical questions about the game.
Some of the better questions and highlights:
What was your motivation for working on the Top Gun video game?
Jack Epps, Jr.: Being a man fascinated by visuals, the worlds created in video games have always interested me. Working on Top Gun the game allowed me to revisit the characters I created years ago. It also gave me a chance to expand upon their stories and how they all evolved after the events of the film took place.
The obvious question: Are you a gamer?
JE: Working on the Top Gun game really pulled me into gaming. I’m currently making my way through BioShock and am excited to play Red Dead Redemption.
What influence, if any, do you think movies have on games, and vice versa?
JE: In both directions, the influences are undeniable. We see more and more games that strive to be cinematic nowadays. As for video games’ influence on film, just look at Inception. It’s a movie based on playing out worlds within worlds. I’ve always been interested with asking the question, “how do we use the existing world to take us to new places?”
Did you unearth your early writings for the film as a point of reference before writing the game?
JE: Absolutely. I checked out early scripts to get back in the rhythm of writing for Top Gun, staying with the story, and recreating the characters. I had to make some sacrifices in transcribing it for the game. For example, Viper may say something in the game that Stinger said in the movie. In an instance like that, I felt it more important to keep the line than worry about who says it.
You talked about recreating the feel of Top Gun. Will the character models in the game share a likeness with their on-screen counterparts? For example, will Mav look like Cruise, etc?
Michael from doublesix: There are no character models in the game. We found it much easier to have the story take place in mid-air. The planes were more important to us than cut-scenes with Val Kilmer look-alikes.
What were the difficulties in writing for a game vs. writing for a movie?
JE: In both media, there is a lot of collaboration that goes into producing the final product. One main concern I had with writing for a game is that the writer shows up very late in the process. This means that there are a lot of preconceived things for the writer to work with. It’s a bit difficult working within a constricted space, and I think that writers should become part of the process earlier than they are.
Would you consider writing for video games in the future?
JE: Working on Top Gun, the game, was a great experience. I had a good time exploring the emotional link between Maverick and Iceman. So yes, this could be the start of a bunch of game scripts.
Before signing off, the doublesix employee talked about flight combat games, in general. He said that there are a ton of flight combat games, but most of them are mobile. He also spoke about the difficulty of making a brand new flight combat game, as there are a handful of franchises that make up the forefront of the genre. Ace Combat and H.A.W.X were a couple of the names he mentioned. I don’t remember the others, but he sure knew a lot of them.