Heyyo Poptropicans, it’s Ultimate iPad Expert it’s been almost a month since I asked you all for some questions for Mr. Jess Brallier, the current CEO of Poptropica. Was hoping I could have the responses for this Question & Answer session up sooner, but time got in the way.
Keep in mind, we couldn’t choose every question sent in, so some questions are not included.
Muddy Kid: Are there gonna be more classic islands updating to SUI Islands, and when?
Jess Brallier: Maybe. No specific plans. Nothing in the works. But it’s a weekly discussion.
Skinny Ice: When can we share our Poptropica Realms with other Poptropicans?
Jess Brallier: We’re aiming — but not promising — for a basic sharing function by end of June. You’ll start to see teasers for it on the site this month.
Prickly Monster: Any hints to the next island after MotM, Timmy Failure, and Arabian Nights Ep. 3?
Jess Brallier: Some place you don’t wanna be.
Shaky Bee: What was your favorite island to make?
Jess Brallier: Every Creator has her/his favorite. Mine was Time-Tangled Island.
WimpyKidFan: Since you’re not owned by Pearson anymore, can you change up Poptropica more and what will this mean for Pop?
Jess Brallier: We did what we wanted to do while at Poptropica. We’ll continue to do what we want to do. And what we want to do is animation and a lot more for our non-English-speaking fans.
Cherry_bombs: Are there certain things that you think that Poptropica should achieve? What are they?
Jess Brallier: Like Disney, we want to stay around for generations. We like to imagine our grandchildren smiling because of something Poptropica. We’d like to have a best-selling book series, a top ten iOS app, a record-breaking film, a wildly popular TV series, and a much-loved YouTube channel. We like to imagine a kid in Athens, Greece. He learns English in school using Poptropica English, on the way home he enjoys our animation or comics or novels or virtual world on his app, he might stop and buy a Poptropica comic book or novel, he plays that evening on his desktop, he watches Poptropica TV. He discovers the world — mythology, history, art, etc. — while laughing his butt off throughout all the danger, adventure, and thrills. But most of all, we hope that through our storytelling, art, animation, and programming to inspire a next generation of creators (just as we were by Herge, Disney, Mad Magazine, etc.). Each year get us closer to that moment when we hire a Poptropica Creator who actually grew up on Poptropica. That’ll be our best moment ever.
renaldiinfernus: How long do you think it will take to fully convert Poptropica to Poptropica HD (Sound Update)?
Jess Brallier: We don’t know. Not focused on that right now. Have our eyes on the app, animation, and non-English right now.
Hench-Bot: Does the separation from Pearson change anything about Poptropica in a negative way?
Jess Brallier: Not at all.
Hench-Bot: Will you ever finish ‘Legendary Swords’?
Jess Brallier: Maybe. Doing so is not on our current task list.
Red Spider: How long does it take to make an island?
Jess Brallier: Depends on the island….and vacations, sick kids, maternity leaves, etc. However, on the average, from concept to script to illustration to programming to testing takes about six weeks.
Samwow5: Who are Captain Crawfish & Comic Kid? (their real identities)
Jess Brallier: We’re not going there. Poptropica is about Poptropica and its users, not its staff. Except for Jeff Kinney, ‘cause that cat’s out the bag, purposely and wonderfully so.
Spotted Dragon: What kind of skills do you look for when hiring Poptropica Creators?
Jess Brallier: A love for storytelling and a desire to do what nobody else is doing. Many can illustrate or program, but do they do what they do because of a love and appreciation for storytelling. And our success is about doing what others don’t do. We’re not a book publisher, we’re not just another game, we’re not just another world with weird penguins or monsters or dolls running around in it. We seek not to copy, but to be the first to show up with something unexpected.
HPuterpop: Why are you producing so many sponsored islands?
Jess Brallier: We just sort of hit a stretch for various reasons. We simply love Timmy Failure, think it’s hilarious; that’s not a fact, just a gut reaction; and Stephan is like the most popular comics strip creator out there right now, just seems right that we invite him onto our creative team, along with Jeff Kinney, Lincoln Peirce, etc. As for Galactic Hot Dogs, we own that, were very lucky to have Simon&Schuster publishing it as a book, and we just wanted to do everything we could to make it successful — we think it’s very worth the effort. And with The Mystery of the Map, we wanted to introduce the Poptropica cast of characters (two of them in the comic strip, all of them in the graphic novel series to start publishing March 2016) and do all we could to position them those characters and their stories for a potential film, TV series best-selling book, etc. We don’t see any other sponsored islands on the publishing schedule right now.
Slippery Raptor: Is there any way for you to make the Daily Pop and the Store more functional and popular?
Jess Brallier: Oh, yet another constant discussion point. Couldn’t agree more. Just difficult to get it to the top of the to-do list.
Spotted Dragon: Will an island map ever be added to the SUI Islands?
Jess Brallier: Maybe. Never say never.
HPuterpop: Will there be more graphic novel islands following the adventures of Oliver, Mya, and Jorge in the future?
Jess Brallier: We have a story arc for the graphic novel that spans at least 12 books. If successful, we’ll surely find another story arc even beyond those 12. Abrams Books will publish the first four — March, 2016; Fall, 2016; March 2017; Fall, 2017). If successful, we’ll surely expand that four-book agreement to 12 books. Second book is now being written by a great writer by the name of Mitch Krpata, and it — like the comics and first book — will be illustrated by the incredibly talented Kory Merritt. Working title for the second book is “The Secret Society.” The editor at Abrams for the series is the same guy who does Kinney’s books.
HPuterpop: Do you ever plan to fix any of the HD islands’ glitches and overall lazy engine design?
Jess Brallier: Sure, in the plans. Again, it’s just a matter of getting to all that stuff. Meanwhile, it’s hot out, summer’s arrived, we’re feeling lazy….
★Brave Tomato★: Out of the staff at PopHQ, what percent of them do certain jobs (programming, art, writing, etc.)
Jess Brallier: Essentially all of them have a leading skill, but the creative process around the islands and the site and the app is all a team effort. Lots of discussions with everybody involved, then when it’s time to move forward, tasks are assigned per an individual’s talents.
So, this concludes our Q&A! Big thanks to Jess Brallier for participating and helping make Poptropica as great as it is. And also a big thanks to everyone who sent in questions! Feel free to comment your thoughts on Brallier’s responses!
• Ultimate iPad Expert •