Making The Jackbox Party Pack

On November 26th, 2014, a star was born. I am, of course, referring to The Jackbox Party Pack

This legendary pack of five party games was released into the wild, and has now seen nine iterations. To celebrate, we’re taking a look back at the production process for The Jackbox Party Pack and each of the games inside. 

On Thursday, January 19th, Jackbox game developers gathered for a special Inside the Box livestream. During this stream, team members reflected on their time building the very first Party Pack. Take a look:

You Don’t Know Jack 2015

Jackbox Games is perhaps best known by long-standing fans for the You Don’t Know Jack series. As the Jackbox developers worked to build the first Party Pack version of You Don’t Know Jack, some ideas were tossed out that didn’t stick.

For example, take a look at this unused bumper for question 10:

This animation continued the lore of the 1 and 0 from previous iterations of You Don’t Know Jack, but the creative team ultimately decided it didn’t have the right directorial feel and went in a different direction. 

Fans may remember You Don’t Know Jack 2015’s “wrong answer of the game,” which tests your ability to pay attention and find the correct wrong answer. Here are a few game dev favorite wrong answer prizes:

Word Spud

We often receive some variation of the phrase “Word Spud 2 when?” as feedback on our social media pages, and while we can’t promise a sequel, we can deliver a few behind the scenes morsels to satiate you.

On the January 19th stream featuring members from the Party Pack production crew, VP of Production Mike Zuba speculated that Word Spud may be the fastest party game Jackbox Games has ever created. VP of Audio and Editorial Andy Poland mentioned, “I made all the music for this in like a week.” 

Why is the game potato-themed? Well, its original title riffed on a popular computer game, and our legal counsel advised heading in a different direction. The Jackbox team felt a riff on the idea of “hot potato” might work, since the core mechanic of the game involves passing words around to different players. Thus, Word Spud

But the spud you know and love today wasn’t always locked in. Before shipping it out to the public, the design team tested out a few logo concepts that didn’t quite hit the mark. Take a look.

Drawful

The very first Party Pack included the first iteration of what is now a Jackbox Games staple, Drawful. This game has since seen two sequels: Drawful 2 and Drawful: Animate

However, the game’s makers were not originally so confident that it would become such a staple. “I thought that people were going to see through the veil of Drawful a little bit more,” said CCO Allard Laban during the Party Pack Inside the Box livestream. “Drawful is essentially Fibbage,” he said, “but Arnie had the brilliant idea of switching it up a bit.”

And thus, Drawful was born. 

Prior to landing on the Drawful owl to represent the game, Jackbox created this guy: 

Rejected drawful logo - an octopus with drawing utensils for tentacles


This mascot was rejected for obvious reasons. Also to be rejected from the game? Unfortunately, Studio Editorial Director Arnie Niekamp was not selected as the final host for Drawful. Take a listen to his audio test:

Arnie’s golden pipes did make it into the pack as Bob in You Don’t Know Jack 2015. As for Drawful, the host job went to Chicago comedian and Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich.

Lie Swatter

Prior to its Party Pack debut, a version of Lie Swatter existed as a mobile app game. In its previous incarnation, the game was played similarly to the Party Pack version’s final round. 

Did you know that all of the flies have names? It’s true! Take a look and let us know your favorite one.

Lie Swatter flies with names: Skippy, Gus, Ed, Barb/Judy, Host/Lars, Chester, Twitch, and Sparkles

Fun fact: We once tested The Jackbox Party Pack’s Lie Swatter in a movie theater. Before a showing of a film at The Music Box in Chicago, Jackbox team members tested the game with a large crowd. Things went well, and the game is still capable of being played by up to 100 players. 

Bonus fun fact: After the movie theater test, Jackbox team members went out to dinner and played a version of Fibbage from an iPad using phones as controllers for the first time with that game. Jackbox CEO Mike Bilder said, “there was just kind of a Eureka moment in that time frame that we were onto something really cool here.” 

Fibbage XL

Fibbage XL was an obvious choice to add to the first Party Pack. A standalone version of Fibbage had been released earlier in 2014, and Fibbage XL added 50% more content. Fibbage has since seen quite a few sequels including the latest iteration in The Jackbox Party Pack 9, Fibbage 4

Prior to landing on the right image to represent Fibbage XL, this version was mocked up using a stock photo model:

unused Fibbage image featuring a stock photo model

The image that now represents Fibbage XL in perpetuity is a combination of the game director’s face and the CEO of Jackbox’s hair. 

Fibbage XL logo

While playing Fibbage XL and reminiscing on the production for The Jackbox Party Pack, Arnie Niekamp noted the importance of humor in Jackbox titles. “Encouraging players to be funny is such an important part of the DNA of our games,” he said. 

The very first Party Pack was created with a much smaller group than Jackbox Games operates with today. Allard Laban stated “we were all wearing more hats and getting less sleep.” Jackbox Games CTO Evan Jacover said, “I remember just coming in and being like ‘what’s this game? What do we need to do?’ and just putting stuff in.” 

It wasn’t until the Jackbox Games team had started working on Quiplash that the team felt The Jackbox Party Pack had enough traction to warrant a sequel. But when that momentum came, the team started creating The Jackbox Party Pack 2. And thus, a franchise was born.

We’re so proud of the work we’ve created as a studio, and the years of joy and laughter our games have brought so many people. 

Throughout the upcoming months, we’ll be highlighting the work that went into each of the Party Packs. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes snippets, livestreams, discounts, and more. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to keep up with all the behind the scenes content.

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