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Jet Lancer » An interview with Jet Lancer’s Writer – Cory O’Brien

We’ve teased some information about the story and characters of Jet Lancer, this week we’re talking with the force behind those elements. Meet Cory O’Brien, Jet Lancer’s writer.

For the folks reading this who aren’t already familiar with you, who are you, what do you do, what other projects have you worked on?
I’m Cory O’Brien! I’m a writer who accidentally ended up in video games, and I’m not mad about it. I used to write a blog where I retold myths like I was drunk on chat, and then I published some books like that, and then I wrote for Monster Prom, and Max Gentlemen: Sexy Business. I also helped design a spooky robot interrogation game called Inhuman Conditions, and I’m currently helping with narrative design for a neon-dystopian social media adventure called HoloVista.

You’ve written on multiple incredible titles at this point- how did you get started with games writing?

Like I said: totally by accident. The creative director for Monster Prom, Julian Quijano, slid into my twitter DMs one day because he liked my first myth book, and I was flattered so I agreed to work on Monster Prom. Things sort of snowballed from there. At the same time I became friends with Tommy Maranges (the nerd behind Philosophy Bro, and a co-creator of Secret Hitler), who introduced me to a lot of folks in the Chicago games scene, and the next thing I knew I was going to cons and living the dream!

Was there a particular influence, like a specific game or book, you had growing up that inspired your style?

There’s a lot of stuff, but probably the most important influence on my style early-on was the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Reading Douglas Adams (and also Mark Twain’s incredible essay, “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”) really taught me the power of a carefully constructed sentence, and I’ve never looked at language the same way since.

You worked closely with Vladimir from Code Wakers for the story and dialogue in Jet Lancer, what was that process like?

Vladimir was a joy to work with. There was a pretty clear understanding early on that we each had our own areas of expertise, and we would defer to each other in those areas. I like to think that the art, animation and style that he created for the game really informed and meshed with the narrative I ended up building.

Where do you even start on a new project? Characters? Plot summary? The big truth-revealing twist?

I start with constraints. Working in games, the first couple weeks of a project are almost always about getting familiar with the constraints of a project: characters and assets that have already been created, how the interface displays dialogue, themes the lead designers want to explore, and so on. It’s not romantic, but I actually find it much easier than trying to create a story out of thin air. For Jet Lancer, one of the most fun parts for me was figuring out how to build a narrative around some of the really cool boss designs that already existed. Some people say constraints stifle creativity, but I think those people probably just aren’t that creative.

What was the most fun part of this process for you?

Building in little recurring gags in addition to the main storyline. I live for detail stuff like that.

Jet Lancer draws a lot of inspiration from other games and media- Platinum Games, Macross, Ace Combat. Was there anything on the narrative side you were inspired by?

Cowboy Bebop, for sure. I love the chemistry between the crew of the Bebop, and I tried to bring some of that to Jet Lancer. Gundam Wing, too, for obvious reasons. Also, any games writer who says they aren’t influenced by Portal 2 is a liar. There was one more game from my childhood that was a huge influence on the story I created, but I’m worried that saying what that game was would spoil part of the plot, so I won’t!

As spoiler free as you can, what is the story of Jet Lancer?

You want spoiler free? Okay. Jet Lancer is a story about the torture we put ourselves through when we think we’re not working hard enough, and how hard it is to know if you’re doing the right thing, but with giant robots.

Who is your favorite character in Jet Lancer? Is there a piece of dialogue you are particularly fond of?

DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE! Lem is my darling. I think my favorite line of his is, “I’m a cat. I’ve decided I live with you. It would be rude to disagree.” There’s also a minor character named Peter who I think is pretty funny, but I’ll let you encounter him for yourself. As for the character who was most fun to write… I can’t tell you. You’ll have to play.

If you were an ACE Pilot, what would your call sign be?


Excellent. Well Froppy, If people want to read more of your words, where can they find you?
Well, there’s a list of things I’ve made over at You can also follow my on twitter, @bettermyths, or subscribe to my patreon, at That last one is especially fun, because it includes a swear of the month club that teaches you all about how to curse more effectively. Some older swears of the month are available at


That’s it for this week! We’re getting ever closer to launch so if you haven’t had the opportunity to wishlist Jet Lancer yet you can do so by clicking the button right here:

And you can join our discord to talk with other players and us, the Jet Lancer Team!

Until next time,
The Jet Lancer team