You are hereInterview: Q&A with Top Gun Writer Jack Epps Jr
Interview: Q&A with Top Gun Writer Jack Epps Jr
I got the chance to participate in a Q&A session with writer Jack Epps Jr, the man behind films such as Anaconda and Top Gun. Specifically, the interview's focus was on Epps's latest project, the recently released Top Gun video game for PSN. Below are some of the highlights of the Q&A, enjoy!
I guess the important stuff first. Are you a gamer?
I've been in and out of it at different stages in my life. I think what really hurt me was early PC games where you had to go in the batch file and mess with your entire computer to play it. I got a little burnt on those things.
But Top Gun has really pulled me back into it. I'm getting back into it.
I'm chewing my way through BioShock now, and I'm looking forward to playing Red Dead Redemption. See, I've got to get my thumbs working faster, I'm just not bludgeoning people fast enough.
But, see, one thing I have been for a very long time is a very visual person. I love the worlds. I'm really fascinated by the game-worlds. You know, film has had a great influence on games. Now it's a time where games have a great influence on film. And I think that's really interesting.
Do you have any examples of that?
Just look at Inception, the whole concept of a "world within a world." That movie doesn't happen without the influence of videogames. It is a game, but within a film vision. I would like to see it much more dream-like.
And if that was done in a game, it would be much more dream-like. That would be my only critique of the movie. I mean, I was thinking about my dreams last night, and man, they made no sense. But the visuals were totally outrageous.
What were some of the challenges to taking the Top Gun game into the video game world?
Yeah, I think the biggest challenge, and you know, I actually liked it the most, was that in the movie, there was the big climax battle, the culmination of the themes, and it all ended in a flash. But in the game, we get to stay there. It's not just going to be one scene in the Indian Ocean, it's all part of the play. So we really had to grow this part and understand why are we going to stay in battle after battle? How are we going to put it on a massive scale, and still feel real?
So for me, as a writer, those are fun challenges. I think we did a good job by creating an environment and a situation that we can believe, based in the 80s. And one decision that I liked early on that said, "Let's not give it a date. Let's keep it in the whole Soviet world, where we have a good clear antagonist against us." And another thing I really like, and now that we've done it in the game, I wish we'd done it in the movie, is that we've created a force that has the best Soviet fighter ace, for Maverick to go against. I would've love to have Maverick in the movie say, "okay, now here's a guy I have to beat." But in the game, we've got that guy. And you've got to earn your stripes to fight him.
Was it hard to get back into the character's heads after so long?
I did go back and look at the early scripts to get a sense of the rhythm and feel of the characters, but it's easy to get back into their heads. Look, I wrote the script, I got to ride in some F-14s and F-16s, I had a blast. So, that never got out of my blood. The movie then kind of took on a life of its own. You know, when you write a script, you never know its going to be this film that has lasted for so long.
So in many ways, it's never left me, because it's always been a part of my life. But what was fun was to go back and try to get some of the lines. Now, I did do some dramatic license and pull one line from somebody else, because within a game, I can't have all these characters. So I pulled some things from some people. Because the line is more important. I love that.
Will we ever see an Anaconda game?
[Laughing] I would like to do that. It would be fun.
Thanks again to Mr. Epps; Top Gun is available to download on PSN for $14.99. As a free gift with purchase, players will receive a free limited edition Flight Suit for their PlayStation Home avatar.
It will be available for PC and Mac later this year.