We speak to John Manley, the producer behind the Strike games for EA
you presumably set out to make Jungle Strike bigger, better and more expansive than the original?
We wanted to take what players liked about Desert and give them a wider variety of locations, missions and vehicles. Desert Strike took place in one environment, so in Jungle we wanted to give the player a chance to visit multiple other terrains and control a variety of vehicles and different weapons.
what was your role on the game?
I was the lead designer, and also performed as the overall game director for the franchise. This included devising specific gameplay missions to creating the storyline, and collaborating with Mike Posehn to implement the levels and new features.
The new vehicles meant new control schemes and handling. were any of these trickier than others?
I think the motorcycle was the hardest vehicle to get right in the game, as it was initially too small to see on the road, and it also required a control scheme that was different from anything else in the game. We toyed with letting the player drive a military truck loaded with explosives, but we abandoned the idea as it didn’t really provide anything new that we couldn’t already do in the game. There were a few other things, like the hovercraft pick-up. It had a smallerthan-normal collision box for picking up items due to its oblong shape. But we also gave it powerful weapons with the rockets and sea mines.
what do you think made Jungle Strike such a success for ea?
The freedom to go anywhere in the world, to choose your own way to complete the missions, where you could do things out of order. Another reason I think was our ‘ripped from the headlines’ scenarios. This made the game feel fresh and topical, while at the same time delivering a dose of pop culture and social satire. And there was our unique attitude, with the game having a nice mix of action and humour. Plus, as the Strike organisation stops wars before they happen, we always thought of ourselves as a ‘peace’ game!