This interview was taken from the Jazz2 Warehouse website. It was made by Jeh during the development of Jazz Jackrabbit 2 in 1997. It most likely was one of the first Jazz Jackrabbit 2 websites. Jeh is also known as John MacLellan. He was one of the level designers of JJ2, making for example the famouse Battle levels. Since the website has been down for years now, we decided to put this interview back up.
Nick Stadler is the dude behind all the great artwork and animations that you see in all the Jazz 2 screen shots. Nick previously worked on the Monkey Mayhem table of Extreme Pinball and played a large part in the original Jazz Jackrabbit. In Jazz 1, Nick did all the cartoon-style animation and artwork within the game, many of the characters and most of the graphics in the new episodes of the Jazz CD.
J2W: Why did you decide to use Deluxe 2 Animator for the graphics?
Nick: It's actually the only animation program I've ever used extensively. It was actually a big challenge to learn how to draw with a mouse, since I've been drawing with pencils my whole life. The pixel became my enemy!
I dabbled with the Amiga version in college, nothing really worth speaking of. But with Jazz 1, I was kinda 'forced' into using the program. It wasn't really until near the end of the development of that game that I actually started to get the hang of it. (Unfortunately, now that I've gotten used it, its kinda become an obselete program. I'm gonna have to move onto something a little more sophisticated).
J2W: Which is your favorite enemy in Jazz 2 and why?
Nick: I dunno... I kinda like the two boss characters in the "Hell" levels: Bilsy and Bubba. Bilsy is a tall, lanky demon; kinda Jafar-esque. Bubbas a short, fat sort who kinda bounces and bobs along like jelly.
J2W: Which playable character do like best and why?
Nick: It's hard to say. I think I like playing as Jazz, cos his "hellicopter glide" makes it easy to pick up objects while falling great distances. It also helps to prevent falling into an enemy below you.
However, we're working on getting another move in there which is unique to the two characters, so that may change.
J2W: Where did the idea for Spaz come from?
Nick: There was a point while working on Jazz 1 when I (or Cliff, or Arjan) would get into a rut and become irritated , and I'd take out my resentment on *Jazz* himself.
At one point, I drew a really goofy, stupid picture of Jazz with the caption "Spaz Slackrabbit." People around the office seemed to get a kick out it, so I ended up developing it a bit further as a seperate character for the sequel.
J2W: Where do you get the ideas for the characters?
Nick: I overdose on a lot of great old Warner Brothers & MGM cartoons (not to mention a few bad contemporary cartoons).
J2W: How many different "tile sets" are there in the game?
Nick: Thirteen, I think... I'm not sure.
J2W: How many different enemies appear in the game?
Nick: I've done about 40 characters. I'm not quite sure if all 40 will be in the final version.
J2W: Which games have influenced you in the design?
Nick: Obviously Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario. I don't think you can make this type of game without those influence since they're sort of the dictionary definition of "platform game." Sonic really turned me on to the whole potential of video game developement, since he was really the first video game hero who had some personality in his animation.
I'm also an Earthworm Jim FREAK. I loved Cool Spot and Aladdin. The animation in these games is incredible, and they're very inventive and clever.
J2W: Will the Jazz 2 manual have a new comic strip?
Nick: I hope so. The in-game artwork has been so intense (with the paralaxing backgrounds and the beefed up character animations) that I haven't been able to really get a lot of this done, but I'm sure I'll have something.
J2W: What other games have you worked on previously?
Nick: Jazz 1, and some artwork for Extreme Pinball (The Monkey Mayhem table). I also did some work on a little known series of sports themed games called "Time Out Sports." (A guy and his dog named Bernie and Jock)
J2W: How did you first become involved in the original Jazz Jackrabbit project?
Nick: Mark Rein and Tim Sweeney stole me away from another company where I'd been working. They installed a primitive prototype of the original Jazz, and they thought my cartoonish drawing style might help boost the appeal of the game.
The Jazz Jackrabbit 2 Warehouse would like to thank Nick for taking the time to do this interview.
Eat your lima beans, Johnny.