Earlier this year, we met with Jackbox Games to preview Jackbox Party Pack 10. During the meeting at PAX West 2023, the primary focus was playing the game and seeing what each had to offer.
Despite an hour-long preview, the time flew by and sadly we did not have enough time to talk with the Jackbox Games developers. Now after reviewing Jackbox Party Pack 10, we got to ask the developers a few questions about the latest game. For the interview, we got to speak with three game directors, one software engineer, and the senior marketing lead.
For the interview, we got to speak with Tim Sniffen – director of Tee K.O. 2, Ryan McGill – Software Engineer, Michelle Leatherby – Senior Marketing Lead, Warren Arnold – director of Hypnotorious, and Alina Constantin – director of FixyText.
Matt: How did the team decide on the games that are in Jackbox 10? What other game modes were you considering outside of the five you chose?
JBG Team (Tim Sniffen) – Tee K.O. 2, as the sequel of the pack, went into production first… from there, it’s really about finding four more concepts that make a well-rounded pack. By the final game or two, we might really zero in towards a style of play: if we already have a drawing game, a writing game, etc, we might focus on finding a good social deduction game concept.
Or a rhythm game where all the performers are birds. The idea is always to provide an option for everyone.
Matt – What are the specifications for the profanity filter? In our test of the game, the filter did not work at all and we wanted to know the parameters.
JBG Team (Ryan McGill) – Profanity filtering is handled by our game servers, based on the value of the content, Profanity Filtering, & in-game settings available starting with Party Pack 7. There are three possible values:
- 1A. No filtering happens!
- 2A. This is the default setting.
- 2B. Words associated with hateful speech are rejected.
- 2C. Profanity is generally allowed.
- 3A. Words associated with hateful speech are rejected.
- 3B. Profanity is also rejected.
4. The Language setting (also in the Content Control section) affects which filter word lists should be used when analyzing a player’s input.
5. We attempt to determine if a player is trying to circumvent the filter (misspellings, internal whitespace, number/symbol replacements) but cannot catch every permutation of someone actively trying to be awful. A human moderator using mod.jackbox.tv is great for those cases, though!
6. If a player submits content that should be rejected by our servers, their jackbox.tv controller will receive an error, and that player will need to submit something else. The rejected content is never seen by the game when this happens.
7. To explain why the filters didn’t reject your content during that test, we need to know the value of your Language setting, the value of your Profanity Filtering setting, and (unfortunately) the player’s submission itself.
8. Once we know that, we can find out the cause. At best, your setting wasn’t strict enough to catch that input. At worst, we’re missing a word from our lists, or there’s a more subtle bug we will fix!
Matt – What inspired the instrument choices in the musical Dodo Re Mi? How was recording the animals for that game mode?
JBG Team (Michelle Leatherby) – Chase McClure, who pitched the original concept for Dodo Re Mi, put a call out in our “pets” Slack channel asking if anyone had a dog that could howl on command. Immediately, I walked over to my dog and recorded a quick video on my phone to share. She got the job that afternoon.
I’m based in Chicago where our office and soundbooth are, so I was able to bring her in for a recording session with Avery Makel (who recorded all the instruments for the game). I have some fun behind-the-scenes photos from that session if you’d like to see! Jackbox Games has a long history of using in-house talent for voiceover work in the games. Our tenth Party Pack was the right time to expand that to staff pets as well.
I was also fortunate enough to accompany Nate Sandberg and Avery Makel to Central Michigan University, where we recorded several of the more “normal” instruments for the game. Ultimately, the number of instruments included in the game expanded quite a bit from what was initially conceived due to a couple of things.
First, the sheer amount of instruments we were able to record with the CMU students and in Chicago. Second, we’re Jackbox Games! We can’t just make a regular rhythm game with regular instruments… we simply had to make silly instruments like the fart instrument (or rather “nature’s bugle” as it’s called in the game).
Matt – How many questions are in Timejinx?
JBG Team – Around 600.
Matt – Is there any way to make Hypnotorious easier? We found that some of the team didn’t understand the concept.
JBG Team (Warren Arnold) – There’s not a difficulty setting but the game really boils down to getting in the right groups. If you just focus on that, you’ll do pretty well.
Matt – Do Jackbox Games employees ever pop into streamers’ games to play the game with them?
JBG Team (Alina Constantin) – Yes, we love to interact with our players. In key moments of our calendar, we’ll use Jackbox accounts, but at times we’ll pop in incognito so as not to disrupt the flow.
Did you enjoy this interview? Would you like to see more in the future? Make sure to keep an eye out for our interview section.