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Upcoming DevStream #7 with Special Guest Ian Currie

Brad Logston

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As we’re getting closer to launch, we’re increasing the frequency of DevStreams and will now be streaming every week. To celebrate, our next DevStream will be a special one!

Ian Currie is the creator of the Jagged Alliance franchise and has been working with the Haemimont team on Jagged Alliance 3.  He’s been gracious enough to join us on our DevStream next week where we’ll talk about the previous games, chat some about JA3, and answer a bunch of questions. This is a unique opportunity to interact a long time veteran of the game industry, so you don’t want to miss it!

We also might be giving away a few more JA3 team shirts to few lucky viewers as well. 

While we can’t promise we’ll get to everyone’s questions, we welcome you to post any questions you’d like to ask Ian here. We’ll be gathering them together and pulling from this question list, as well as questions from chat, during the stream.

Mark you calendars for June 22nd at 11:00 AM EDT / 5 PM CEST on the THQ Nordic Twitch Channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic

See you there!

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I would like to ask what motivations there were in changing the appearance of mercs that have existed throughout the course of the franchise? Some of them look rather different now from their JA2 counterpart (or even JA1). It hasn't always been a progression of timeline as a merc has aged. Some of them have actually undergone more of a character change, maybe visually more than in terms of personality.

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I would also like to ask about the various factions in Grand Chien. Without giving too much away in terms of spoilers, are there a variety of factions that form independent reputations with your mercs and have a sizeable role in the big picture of Grand Chien? Are there affiliates of the current government who can be persuaded to assist you? Are there criminal factions that don't really care who is in power as long as they can make money, offering you help in some ways as long as it aids their 'business'?

I am also hoping that there are enemy mercs or Private Military Contractors that get hired to fight you, after you have made enough progress through the storyline, and even the veteran enemy troops aren't succeeding against you.

Will there be bounties placed on your mercs or even named enemy mercs that have bounties placed on them (for you to profit from)? A notorious enemy sniper, saboteur or assassin for instance? Some of us have talked about this in various threads in the past and I think it would be appealing knowing that there are elite individuals or units that aren't necessarily part of the enemy main armies, and are out there somewhere in Grand Chien, hunting your mercs and creating a level of suspense due to their proficiency. It would be even more so, if they would randomly assist the enemy regular troops but withdraw if the battle is going badly for them, leaving you to encounter them some other day.

Edited by Solaris_Wave
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How did Mr Curie experience the period between JA2 and JA3? Did Jagged Alliance remain in his heart? Did he want to make another one or go experience other things? Did he keep an eye on the games made by other companies with the licence and what did he feel about it, about being out of it?
Thank you!

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1. It is known that at the time of Sir-Tech's bankruptcy, the team was working on Jagged Alliance 3. I know it's been a few years, but could you reveal some information about this project?

2. Imagine that you are woken up by the phone tomorrow morning. A familiar voice answers the phone: "Hi, this is Norman Olsen. We're reactivating Sir-Tech, will you join me?" What do you answer? 🙂


Edited by Wigen
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The writing and characterization of mercenaries could be quite silly or goofy in Jagged Alliance 1 and Deadly Games, but Jagged Alliance 2 chased out a lot of the most silly or outlandish characters. The writing in Jagged Alliance 3 seems to have swung back towards the silliness of JA1/DG again. Was this a deliberate choice? If so, why? If not, could you hypothesize as to what caused these changes in tone?

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In terms of game mechanics (both tactical and strategic), were there instances where a conscious decision was made to do things differently now than in previous JAs, and why? Not just technical improvements that were simply not possible in the 90s, but something that could have been done back then but was decided against.

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Several questions of different deepness 😉

There had been character progression from JA1 to JA DG to JA2, from small things like Snake growing a beard, to things like Hamous becoming a Merc, going to sell ice cream, Larry going to rehab, and of course the Buzz and Lynx Drama.
Can you tell us something about the developments of the characters towards JA3?
It seems like there is no alumni - more chances for Characters als DLC? (which I would welcome)

(a question along these lines was also asked by someone else)
JA1 had much more quirky characters like Ruben and Skitz, Lance and Wink and many others, which were cut off in JA2. Was that a deliberate choice to make JA2 more "serious"? Any chance to see some of them again in the future? (not necessarily Ruben, but Turtle got to have some fans!)

Do you consider JA DG as "miss"? IT was listed among the "fails" in one of the JA3 Trailers, though I guess it got mixed up with JA Online, as the game brought us characters like Mouse which actually got "reactivated" in JA3.
Some of the most funny Lines in the whole JA Series can actually be found in the "Insult" feature of JA DG (where each Merc had multiple lines to insult other players in network). Please tell us you love Deadly Games 😉

In an interview (CG Online) you mentioned that inspirations for Jagged Alliance were Eye of the Beholder and Command HQ by Dan(ielle ) Bunten. I guess most people would have expected that you mention UFO aka XCom. Can you elaborate a bit on that? You also mentioned that during development JA was a RTwP (real time with pause) game at first, but you hated hitting pause all the time. How did you perceive it when the industrie decided that RTwP is mandatory and even JA BiA decided to go 3D "because it is 3D"? Did Gollops UFO/XCom have an influence on the initial JA, like becoming Turnbased?

For an outsider (who is familiar with game development), especially JA2 looks like a game no publisher would want to finance due to its massive scope, attention to detail and what many would call redundant (like lots of content only a tiny fraction of players would ever see). While this contributed to its cult status, it potentially caused financial issues (but thats a different question). How much of that scope was by initial design and how much was feature creep? (like who would have the idea to just add in an optional Alien sub-plot?)

Sales of JA2 were better in Europe than in the US, and it's also one of few games which was actually sold in Europe first (via topware). Can you share your perspective on that? Guess it was not just a lack of promotion by the US publisher, as THQ is also just selling the Tactical Edition in Europe (you could ship to the US though) and most streams and press for JA3 seem to come from German streamers and magazines. How does that fit together with the localization, which is only English voices this time (but subtitles in various languages)?

Strategy First announced in 2007 that they wanted to create a Jagged Alliance Movie. Did they approach you? Any thoughts on that?

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Unfortuantely Editing a post is only possible for fery few minutes.

I'd like to revise Question 5:

For an outsider (who is familiar with game development), especially JA2 looks like a game no publisher would want to finance due to its massive scope, attention to detail and what many would call redundant (like lots of content only a tiny fraction of players would ever see). While this contributed to its cult status, it potentially caused financial issues (but thats a different question). How much of that scope of JA2 was by initial design and how much was feature creep? Or did parts of the team just run out of work when the game was postponed, the publisher was unclear and parts of the team had to do bugfixing? (like who would have the idea to just add in an optional Alien sub-plot?)

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Questions for Mr Currie:

1 What mechanics or systems did you cut out for JA2 if any, and what do you make about some of the features that some people have modded into games like JA2, like food mechanics, or any other more feature that increases gameplay depth? What mechanics or systems have you thought of in last 20 years that can iterate the strategy formula?

2 Do you agree that certain genres and certain types of games went away in last 20 years? It can be the typical Sid Meier's Pirates type of game, where you simply have a large open world, with some amount of strategy, RPG, simulation, or can be something like RTSes and Starcraft and Command & Conquer.

3 Do you think social media has given air to a lot of, er, hate online, and that development is much tougher psychologically, because now it is no longer just 10 or 20 friends in a cheap office? And do you think there are any other challenges to development today, compared to development in 1990s?

4 Do you agree that American/Canadian culture has changed significantly since 1990s? (lol this might entail him going into that as much as he wants or doesn't want to).

5 Do you agree that characters and writing in games in 1990s, not just in video games but in tv shows as well, differs significantly to characters and writing now, to where it seems today almost everybody is like a neutral character, and nobody, not even the villains are particularly mean or angry, while the heroes aren't particularly positive, heroic, happy-go-lucky (John McLane perhaps), etc.

6 Do you agree that lots of good visual design died with 1990s, and modern level design and asset design is kind of boring and drab?

7 Was making JA2 profitable, and were you guys rolling in dough after the fact, or was it more of a "break even" situation?

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In the most recent Devstream Brad mentioned that Ian Currie was a musician (as well as a game developer). I personally do not have any musical talent at all, but for a variety of reasons listening to music is an integral part of my day to day life.

Could Mr. Currie take a moment to speak of his musical interests?  Is there a specific genre/style of music that is near and dear to him, or perhaps a favorite instrument to play?  Thank you! 🙂

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Are there any features you couldn't add to JA2 because of technological or other limitations, but are able to implement them in JA3 this time around?

Yes! I would love to hear about ideas and features for JA1, JA2, JADG, JAUB that were cut or not implemented. For example, (in JA2) in Grumm, there is a talking NPC that looks like a seamstress that doesn't seem to have a use. Was she intended to repair armor and made obsolete by the other NPCs in the sector?

I would like to hear more about the team that worked on those original games and what the atmosphere was like back then and if there's anything that Ian misses about those times.

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Couple questions for Ian, apologies in advance for any possible overlap with other contributors

JA3 by Haemimont
#1 Has Ian played new JA3 or these days (of playing games) are long gone?
#2 If Ian has played JA3 what was his must have merc (or squad) in starting lineup and his fav merc moving on.
#3 What was his favorite feature / change implemented in JA3 by Haemimont (except writing ;)) and perhaps missing in the past installments.
#4 What was the IT factor that convinced him to come back and work with Haemimont on JA3?
#5 How was it to be back at it again, working on new game, on new JA?
#6 Any thoughts on simplifications introduced by Haemimont (like shared storage, no magazines, lack of some item slots)?

Back to the past
#7 How was all these years between JA2 and JA3 by Haemimont. Was there other JA projects that he was asked to join?
#8 Was there sense of loosing some of the JA legendary status build with JA1/2 and being disrupted by offshoot developments?
#9 What was the decision making process with the lack of % hit chance. In the past it was somewhat common but certainly nowadays it is very rare. Was that the tension / chaos building mechanism or there was factors that lead to this decision? Was he proud dad to hear that Haemimont was back at it, going against the grain, and letting the chaos reigns?

In between
#10 How challenging was the process of introducing so wide cast of characters to JA series? Secondly whilst the base is very strong but was it even more complex in JA3 with new expectations like graphical differentiation, extensive VO and PC culture nowadays?

Off topic
#11 Can Ian help us to save Magic? Magic is highest Agility merc but does not look like. I dont mind his style, just please slim poor fellow down to match his stats.

#12 We express great appreciation for all joy and challenges that he was part of creating with JA series.
Thank you for all the sleepless nights, planning moves, going through memories of failures and possible solutions.
Thank you for random grenade falling under feet on whole team when moving between sectors..
And finally thank you for joining Haemimont with their own journey with JA and helping them shaping next step in JA series.

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My question for Ian: What features of JA3 do you think expanded the franchise to be successful in todays gaming market?


I love JA1 and especially JA2, they are masterpieces so I think a nearly perfect formula should not be changed except modern graphics, HUD and gameplay elements.

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I have a great question for Mr Currie:

What does he dislike about JA2, or what parts of it does he think turned out not so well, could've used more work, or needed things added to it? Because, as I think some artists or people working in a creative profession can feel sometimes, sometimes you can't complete all parts of the product to your liking, and have to make compromises or ship with parts not fully finished or done to your satisfaction.

Also, a question for Brad Logston (if he's going to be there): what has the development process been like for you, can you describe various parts or stages of development or any interesting things you decided to do during development? (And I can raise the same question to any other members of the dev team present).

Edited by Castle
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Questions for Ian Currie:


1) Which elements/features of JA3 is he most proud of?

2) Were other former JA1/JA2 team members consulted during the development process of JA3? (E.g. Linda Currie, Alex Meduna, Shawn Lyng, Cramfeld and others)

3) Are there any design decisions taken for JA3 where he disagrees with? If so, which ones?

4) Was Ian approached for any of the former Jagged Alliance successors? If yes, why did he not support their efforts?

5) What are Ian's thoughts on the continuation of the Jagged Alliance ip? Where does he see opportunities?

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I have another one..

Assuming that JA3 is successful is Ian considering to be involved in next one (whether DLC or JA4)?
Or was it one and done, series finally getting back on track, mission complete, retire whilst young and on top kind of thing ??

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Maybe a good question for Mr Currie:

What does he think about 1.13, and did he ever talk or was in contact with any of the 1.13 people? (I know/suspect Shanga who ran the bear's pit is a bit of egomaniac but I guess the rest of the people who worked on the mod are aight)

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