Hello my beautiful Tappers and welcome to an interview that is extremely late. Back in late May/early June, I interviewed Michael Price – which was really fun – and I asked him if there were any Simpsons writers that also worked on The Simpsons Tapped Out. He told me about J Stewart Burns who writes for The Simpsons and also helps over at Tapped Out. I soon had his email and was very excited to get a response quickly – especially since he started his reply by saying his wife was about to go into labour! Really don’t know why I didn’t post this interview nearer that time but found this post in my drafts recently …
So I am extremely grateful that J Stewart Burns got back so I hope you enjoy his answers …
So what, exactly, do you do in the production of TSTO?
TSTO is a collaboration between EA and The Simpsons. I run things from the Simpsons side. But they do a lot of writing, and I do a lot of game design. I guess I’m in charge, because whenever I say do something they do it. But they have a lot of people working there, suggesting things for me to say we should do, so maybe I’m just being cleverly manipulated.
Describe the process of making and planning an update. How long does it take?
Updates take a couple of months, although we can always move a bit faster if we have to.
How long have you worked with TSTO? Does your job with the show help with designing updates?
I’ve worked with TSTO since we created it, five years maybe? Being on the show is super-important, because we’re trying to do the same thing with each. Most of the big updates are done by writers from the show too. We view TSTO as an extension of the show.
What has been your favourite update that you’ve worked on?
We’re currently in the Time Travel event but can you give us some exclusive clues for updates to come in 2017 …
I love all the updates. And as for clues to future updates, we’re in the Time Travel Event. You should be able to just travel forward in time and figure those out yourself.
Note from Sam: we exchanged questions/answers at the time of the Time Travel event 😊
What is your personal favourite Simpsons episode?
I love all the Simpsons episodes, especially the ones from before I got there. And I have no recollection of watching the first episode I wrote.
If you were in charge for writing the ending of the Simpsons, how would you do it?
As for ending the Simpsons, at one point they thought the show might end and it was decided my Christmas in the Future episode would be the last one. So for a brief moment I thought I was getting to write the last episode. Then the show got picked up, and it became just a normal episode. Recently I wrote an episode that travels so far into the future that everyone dies in it. It’s a little aggressive, and may never see the light of day, but if the show gets canceled in near future… well, it could make a good last episode as well.
If you could have any guest star for the show, who would you have?
I wish we had less guest stars.
Note from Sam: love this answer 🙂
So thank you very much Mr Burns (😊) for taking the time to answer the questions and we look forward to whatever TSTO has in store for us (especially if it’s Angelica Button themed!). Happy Tapping!