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Top Gun's Jack Epps Jr.

A chat with the man who wrote the movie.

Nearly 25 years after the movie first appeared in cinemas, the Top Gun phenomenon is still going strong. In fact, a new videogame based on the film is arriving in the PSN Store this very day.

There are many reasons for Top Gun's enduring popularity. There's the amazing soundtrack, the amazing dogfights and the amazing homoerotic subtext, for starters. And then there's the script, with its authentic feel and brilliant one-liners.

Jack Epps Jr. is the man who wrote that script. He's also been working on dialogue for the new Top Gun game, which gave us an excuse to ask him a few questions. Read on to find out why he thinks the game will be good, where he got all those lines from and whether he thinks Zac Efron would make a good Maverick.

Eurogamer What's your involvement with the new Top Gun game?
Jack Epps Jr.

Part of it was holding true to the feeling of the original game, a lot of the narrative and characters. And to bring in some new elements and some new storytelling. So my involvement was really to add that narrative and make sure that it's Top Gun.

Eurogamer A lot of games based on movies are rubbish. Why do you think that is? What will set the Top Gun game apart?
Jack Epps Jr.

This game plays really solid. Whether you buy into the narrative or not, you're going to like to play.

The focus from the very beginning was, 'Let's make a great game, let's make something people will really want to play.' It's not reliant on the movie, it's just a great design and great visuals.

We do have this narrative people are very familiar with, and there's a sense that you're now deeper into the world. That's the exciting part of it.

This is what we call a target-rich environment.
Eurogamer How closely does the story of the game follow the story of the movie?
Jack Epps Jr.

The game follows it with regard to the big arcs, but we get to explore further. At the end of the movie we're in the Indian Ocean for the final sequence. In the game we're there for five or six missions, so we get to have a lot more time there with Maverick and Ice Man.

Eurogamer Can you change the narrative? Is there a point in the game where you get to save Goose?
Jack Epps Jr.

No comment...

Eurogamer Why do you think Top Gun remains so memorable and so popular? Presumably you'd say because of the script...
Jack Epps Jr.

That's the ten million-dollar question. Really, movies like this happen by accident. Seriously. It's just got to be the right director, the right producer, the right actors, the right writers, the right studio, the right timing...

The movie just seemed to hit a chord. Everybody set it up right. It's just fun, you can relate to the people and you want to be them. I think that's the thing. You want to be in the movie and to be part of it.

That's what we've hopefully done with the game - we've put you in the movie and you get to be Maverick.