Eurogamer recently discovered one of its very own personal heroes padding around EA's Guildford offices wearing a hoodie and looking eminently lovable. In-between gazing longingly at him while he ate free sandwiches and attempting to force him into playing Time Gentlemen, Please! by stutteringly telling him that "it's definitely not rubbish", we interviewed him about Brutal Legend, Psychonauts and all his new celebrity rock royalty friends. At no stage did we climb into his lap and tell him that the Milkman level in Psychonauts was fabulous, and that we should definitely be best friends forever. That's for next time.
I was like: "Just shut up! Mr... big! Mr movie star! You do realise I worked on..." Nah, we'd start with the script, then he'd like to read it out - but then he'd like to do loads of different reads on that line. Then he'd start changing it and improvise, using the same essence. Sometimes we'd say to move on and that we'd got it, but he'd keep on and say "How about like this?" thinking we weren't recording any more - and do a really funny version of it. Sometimes we'd use that version of it - it's a mix.
Yeah, we put a lot in from when we were recording the voice-overs, but we also watched a lot of his movies. There's a point in School of Rock where he looks through a window into the classroom and he raises one eyebrow after the other in this crazy wave motion. When you're working with an actor like Jack you've just got to get some really nice eyebrow-work in there...
I think from him, that was his idea. He's been really good support and he's a natural for it - it's a natural thing for him to do. Dress himself up. I'm worried about all the steroids he's been taking though.
Well, we developed it in a more agile way; we started with the gameplay. With Psychonauts we worked on creating all these assets - the world, the characters, the animation. Then we put it all together at the last minute, hoping it would work - making a few changes so that it fit. With Legend we started with the core gameplay: Eddie, the axe, the car, him running around. Then we added the headbangers, and then some ideas for the world that he would go into. I think that's better, from the very beginning we had a fun gameplay experience there.
I didn't get out of adventure games because anyone told me to, I could have kept working on them. I just got excited about directly controlling a character... I got more excited about playing those games. Whether popular or not, I'm more far likely to make whatever game I'm interested in.
You know what I miss more than adventure games? Platform games. I was really sad that by the time Psychonauts came out it was illegal to make a platform game. I like a happy, brightly coloured platform game - now everything has to be dark and gritty, and have a lot of shooting in it. People bemoan the loss of adventure games, but no-one wants to be sad about platform games. I think that's a big loss... younger kids want to act like older kids, wanting to have guns, shoot things and be violent. A lot of them would like a fun, happy platform game.
But not dark like "I've been tortured for five years and everything's melodramatic!" Psychonauts was dark in the way that life is, it was about that mixture of happy and sad that everybody's life is.