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!

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