He won't make the sound but he will deliver the goods: Simon talks original titles in the most informal interview ever.
Spaff: Episode II will be coming out next year, won't it?
Simon Jeffery: Yes.
Spaff: So, will there be lots more Episode II games?
Simon Jeffery: Yes, we're doing a couple of Episode II games. We're not doing what we did with Episode I, which was a huge onslaught (Ed: you don't say). We're not doing a game of the movie, we've just picked out a couple of really cool aspects of the movie and are just focusing on those.
Spaff: Have you guys seen the movie in its current state?
Simon Jeffery: Yeah, its shaping up to be good.
Tom Sarris: The reason we're not making any games telling the story of the movie is that people will have already seen the movie and they don't want to play through it again. That's why a lot of the Episode I games weren't so successful. We're just going to take little aspects of the movie and make them into games, a little like what we did with Episode I: Racer. Things that are familiar and fit in with the Star Wars experience.
Simon Jeffery: Absolutely.
Spaff: Now that LucasLearning have made Bombad Racing, which was their first proper gaming title, are they going to make more of those or are they going to go back to ... Jabba's ... Math ... Palace ...? (Ed: Jabba's Math Palace was a potential, but fake LucasLearning title made up on the spot by Spaff's ever increasing wit.)
Simon Jeffery: I, uh... [laughs] I think we're going to see how it does long term. Obviously a lot of the games we do anyway appeal to kids. I mean, we get six year olds playing Starfighter, and they play really well--
Spaff: Yeah, they're probably much better than me.
Simon Jeffery: So, there's no real commitment at this point in time. It's not what their core business is. Their core business is about education. Bombad Racing was more of a little experiment.
Jake: Will LucasLearning ever be releasing a non-Star Wars title?
Simon Jeffery: It wouldn't surprise me. I think its quite possible, quite probable that they will do a non-Star Wars product. I can't really speak for them because they're a different company.
Emma: Will LEC be porting any other classic adventures to the new consoles like what you're doing with EMI?
Simon Jeffery: We're thinking about it. We don't have any definite plans to do so. There's a few improvements we could do, but rather than that I think we want to focus on the new games we're building in-house rather than porting older ones over. There will be graphic adventures on pretty much all consoles going forward from us.
Emma: Will we ever see special editions of classic games like Monkey Island 1 and 2 with voices and improved graphics, etc?
Simon Jeffery: Fans would love that. The biggest issue is resources. We've only got so many people and so much time. The voice department staff are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week as it is. I think one day when we've got some time on our hands, that's exactly the kind of thing we'd like to do. But I think we've got a little too much on our plate at the moment.
Spaff: What are the chances of seeing a movie or an animated feature from one of the classic/original games?
Simon Jeffery: We talk about it all the time. We have our sister company [Industrial Light and Magic] that specializes with computer graphic work in the movies. Its something that I think we'd like to see happen at some point. We've had some ideas, some things we've kicked around, but there's nothing concrete.
Spaff: If you did make a Monkey Island movie would you outsource the voice acting, possibly get some celebrities, or would you keep close to the games' original cast?
Simon Jeffery: I'd think we'd want to keep the original cast.
Spaff: I think Dom will be glad to hear that.
Simon Jeffery: [laughs] Hey, yeah, he's Guybrush.
Spaff: Ok, last question Simon: You know the little animated movie of you, with the claws, making the little noise? What did you think of that?
Simon Jeffery: Very, very, funny.
Spaff: Could you possibly make the noise?
Spaff, Jake, Emma, and possibly Tom and Simon: [massive laughing]
Simon Jeffery: No. [smiles]
Thanks, Simon for giving us this interview. We apologize for the last question and the general unpreparedness of the Mojo team. Also apologies to Tom Sarris for not being able to make out much of what you said due to the poor recording circumstances.
And now its time for the super repetitive FACT OF THE DAY: After much prodding from readers and Mojo staff Spaff really did ask Mr. Jeffery to impersonate the Animutation version of himself. Don't believe it? Here's the MP3 for your listening pleasure.
Bonus fact: None of the LEC conference rooms were available (even for an interview with the president! *gasp*) so we had to conduct this interview in a nearby stairwell. Please blame this, not Jake, Spaff or LucasArts if some of the questions or answers make little to no sense :).