Jaffe 2.0: David Jaffe on putting gameplay first

Thursday, 1 September 2011 07:13 GMT By Nathan Grayson

David Jaffe lit a fire under the audience at PAX 2011, foregrounding mechanics over narrative drive. Nathan Grayson sat the God of War creator down and fanned the flames.

David Jaffe – Eat Sleep Play

Began his career as a QA tester at SCEA.

Created the Twisted Metal and God of War series.

Instrumental in the creation of Sony’s Santa Monica studio.

Founded Eat Sleep Play in 2007. The studio is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has an ongoing exclusivity agreement with Sony.

Latest project is Twisted Metal, due exclusively on PlayStation 3 in February 2012.

Gave a rousing keynote at PAX 2011 calling on developers to foreground mechanics over story in game design.

David Jaffe isn’t a typical “core” gamer, and he’d be the first to admit it.

If you’re into reading between the lines, you’re probably already scratching your head. After all, we’re talking about the man who pioneered PlayStation mainstays like Twisted Metal and God of War; today’s cinematic giant-boss-bashing epics owe him the kind of gratitude usually reserved for parents or whoever came up with the idea for Nutella. In other words, Jaffe’s been down this path before and then some.

Thing is, he’s now certain that he’s found a dead end.

Story and gaming have always had something of a rocky working relationship. The end result? Jaffe’s message during PAX: Mechanics, mechanics, mechanics. No more long-winded cut-scenes. No more throwing bottles at NPCs while they obliviously carry on with their life’s story.

So he’s going back to the basics, right? Not exactly. We sat down with Jaffe during PAX to chat about where he’s at as a game developer, storytelling in videogames, Angry Birds, microtransactions, telling the truth, and tons, tons, tons more. Tell your loved ones you’ll be occupied for most of the day and get ready to see the word “fuck” every time you blink. Here’s David Jaffe on, well, everything.

VG247: Obviously, you’re working on Twisted Metal right now, which is a big-budget ultra-blockbuster. You’ve also said, though, that $60 is a pretty extraordinary amount to charge for games. Given the popularity of smaller titles right now – especially on iPhone and stuff – would you be interested in giving smaller scale development another go? Maybe make Calling All Cars 2: Calling Even More Cars Than That?

David Jaffe: I think what’s really cool about the game space is that there are so many opportunities – such a spectrum of ways to communicate and make games. I love games on my iPhone, and I love big-budget games. So it’s really about what makes the most sense for what we want to do and express. So I have ideas of big things and small things.

The key thing that speaks to me is more about… I don’t want to be a movie-maker. I want to make play mechanics. I want to make gameplay. And so, I think there are games in my head that I can do at any of those levels that speak to that mechanics-driven mindset. But I think the bigger thing in my mind is less about scope. I want to walk away from trying to express things with anything other than mechanics. For a while, I really thought [big, cinematic games] were the way for me, but – for me, and I know for a lot of people it does – but for me, it doesn’t feel genuine. It doesn’t feel pure.

Did that shift have anything to do with your canceled PSP project, Heartland?

No, it mainly came about as the result of God of War. I mean, God of War was my swing at the fences of merging narrative and interactivity and merging emotion with interactivity. And I think we did a really great job – and it’s a really fun game and everything – but ultimately, I realized that pure play mechanics [matter most]. And I think you have to wrap it in a nice wrapper. It’s got to be fun and compelling conceptually. But, at its core, what your brain is doing when you’re playing a great game is a totally different thing than what it does when you’re watching a great movie – in my opinion.

Jaffe’s one hour PAX 2011 keynote in full.

I mean, I was on a panel with Ken Levine today, and he was like “Well yeah, but don’t you think part of your job is to sort of figure out how to evolve that – how to learn a new language that mixes interactivity and story?” What it taught me was, my gut doesn’t automatically come forward and assume that you have to merge storytelling and narrative with gameplay. I mean, why? Why is that the most important thing in the world? Why are we so compelled?

I don’t know about other players, but for me it’s absolutely a sense of wanting to do things that play to the strengths of the medium. The purity of the medium. And I look at the things that have been so successful – whether it’s, like, an Angry Birds or something like Ms Pac-Man, which I grew up with, or even big stuff like Deus Ex – they’re more about play than anything else.

It really is a sense that I don’t want to spend anymore of my precious time trying to be someone making a movie. I don’t want to make a movie. If I did, I’d go make a fucking movie. I want to make a game, and – even if it’s an epic story based thing – I want it to be epic and story based because of the interactive nature. Not the presentation and the cut-scenes and all that.

Certainly. But – by the same token – there are degrees of interactivity under that umbrella. For instance, a lot of shooters are trying to be big and epic with setpieces right now. You know, stroll through a corridor and thrill at the prospect of what’s essentially a tightly choreographed dance routine put on by monsters and explosions. Do you think that approach to interactivity dilutes the medium’s purity just as much?

I think what it comes down to is – and I haven’t seen any scientific studies about this, but I’m sure they exist – if you give me a controller, my brain is doing something different than if you say, “Hey, sit down and watch this movie.” So if you give me a controller and I walk through a room into this amazing thing that’s been set up, I’m just like what’s up there? What’s over here? What does this do? And it doesn’t feel anywhere near as emotional as when I abdicate control in a movie and go “Yeah, I don’t need to look around. I haven’t been given the preconceived idea or expectation that I need to look around.”

Jaffe’s PAX 2011 keynote in 1:20.

So my brain is in a different and relaxed state of “Entertain me. Show me something.” But the minute you put a controller in my hand, I want to play and run and jump and try things. And I don’t necessarily feel that the traditional narrative experience – or most, not all, but most narrative experiences – trying to piggyback on interactivity is conducive to that sort of mindset when you give me a controller.

And I know this isn’t every gamer, but this is me. And if I’m designing, I have to design for myself first. Otherwise, I can’t get excited and commit three years of my life away. Like I said during my keynote at PAX, I get that most people love that stuff. I appreciate that. I’m not trying to sell anybody on it like “I’m right. I’m right. Listen to me!”

Think about this, though. And I’m not trying to disparage any game, but let’s take Homefront from THQ, for example. I enjoyed what I played of it. I really liked Kaos before they closed down. They did a game before it called Frontlines: Fuel of War that was a really cool shooter – in fact, better than this one. Regardless, though, think of all the money and time that went into creating that bus ride at the beginning of Homefront, where you’re watching your countrymen get shot and all that.

As a player, I have a thousand times more fun – as an interactive experience – playing Angry Birds. Dragging my finger, pulling back the bird, realizing that “Oh, this one does this when I press it. This one goes faster! This one breaks into three! This one drops a bomb!” And I’m not saying it’s got to be a small game like that, but it’s a game that puts interactivity first. It puts the spirit of the medium first.

“The minute you try to merge [gameplay and narrative], it’s not like chocolate and peanut butter. It’s chocolate and tuna fish.”

As brilliantly executed as that Homefront scenario was, I still found myself looking around the bus. “Why can’t I move? What can’t I go over here?” The minute you try to merge [gameplay and narrative], it’s not like chocolate and peanut butter. It’s chocolate and tuna fish. It’s not a good combination for me as a player. Not necessarily for everybody else.

That’s the thing: I always say shit like this on the Internet, and I get hammered because people think I’m trying to knock the shit they like. I get that – especially at a conference like this – I’m not the guy. I’m not the Pied Piper. I get it. But for me, I don’t like that type of game as much.

And that’s interesting, because numbers seem to be on your side these days. I mean, Homefront sold a few million copies, but I imagine even gray moon men know about Angry Birds at this point.

Well, there are other reasons, too. Let’s just take Angry Birds. Part of it is the interface, the cost – all that’s true. But I look around the industry – and I love this industry; I’ve been part of it for a long time – and there’s a sense of a barrier to entry. Whether that’s controls or just the fucking wait it takes to boot up your motherfucking console, and then do an update. I mean, literally, on my PSPgo with street mode, I’m immediately in. Or on my iPhone or whatever.

To me, that’s a big part of it. And maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I just want to have fun, have a good experience, and move on. I don’t have interest in making a commitment. And I don’t know if that audience is getting smaller, but certainly when you bring up Angry Birds, it does say that there’s a lot of people – far more than we originally thought – that love interactivity. And there are now devices able to speak for that.

So then, on a personal level, is that encouraging for you? It seems like the industry’s shouting “Hey David, you’re right!” Do you think this is a good direction for the industry?

First off, to be clear, what’s great about PAX is – while you get a lot of core gamers – there are a lot of mechanics-based players here as well. But when I look around this group [gestures toward PlayStation demo kiosks], I see so much effort put [into cinematic stuff]. For a lot of people at PAX, I think it’s not effective.

You know, I don’t think the industry’s moving collectively toward small mechanics-based games. The industry is expanding to allow different profitable and sustainable business models. And I’m very passionate and excited about that. I mean, I would still love to make a big game one day. I’d just want it to be more mechanics-based than something like God of War – just as much as I’d want to make something small like that on Vita. It’s not so much about scope as it is focusing on mechanics. And I think the industry has now shown that there’s a big audience along that spectrum.

So what about the other side of the industry’s shiny new toybox: social gaming? Around events like PAX, it gets a pretty bad rap for being sort of “soulless.” What’s your take?

I think a business model is a business model. There’s a difference between a business model and the idea of social games. The idea of games that are meant to bring your friends into the experience is as old as the very first game that was invented. That’s wonderful. The idea of a business model like free-to-play or microtransactions or a number of those things – that’s going to be invented as we speak.

And I think even people who make those games will admit that they’ve tapped into something that works for a number of people. But at the same time, I imagine they would also admit that – at the moment – a lot of the most successful models do come at the expense of the quality of the experience. I don’t think it’s a baby-bathwater kind of thing. Like, can you take what the Zyngas of the world have pioneered and go “OK, there’s something here that’s absolutely working and resonating” with the mentality that currently the way it’s being expressed as a business model is a bit flawed? That needs to be worked out.

Twisted Metal in action.

I don’t think anybody would say there’s a problem with paying for fun. But I think the minute you start to tie in the amount of money you’ve paid with your ability to succeed, that’s where myself as a designer and player and a lot of people here at PAX have an issue. It’s not that we don’t want to pay for things. It’s that I want to know I beat that guy with my own ability.

What’s ironic about that, though, is in those social games – if you study them – you don’t have to pay a dime to be the best fucking player. And it’s not that dissimilar from a lot of guys who will spend months upping their rank in a game like Call of Duty or Battlefield, and going “I’ve paid with my time, so I can now decimate everyone.” So it’s just a matter of where you put your value. I mean, I don’t even like that one. With Twisted Metal, we do have a rank up system, but we’ve bent over backward to make sure that anyone who’s the highest level can still get their ass kicked by someone who’s just coming in. It’s not like you can unlock a car at level 30 that’s way better than your car at level one.

So it’s kind of interesting that a lot of hardcore gamers will bitch about that business model and how it breaks the game – which I agree with – but they don’t also realize that they’re kind of breaking it in the hardcore sector. What people like Zynga and Activision have realized is that there are other ways to monetize, whether it’s money or time. But I still think there’s a little bit more to go. We have to find a way to embrace these business models – which we have to embrace, because games are really expensive now – but not to the extent that the player feels like “I lost because I didn’t pay as much money as the other guy.”

That’s where it breaks down. Or “I didn’t spend as much time!” I don’t fucking like going into a first-person shooter that’s been out for a month as a level one. I just get headshotted by someone who has a better weapon than I do because they’ve played more. That’s really shitty. So I think it’s a really exciting time for redefining what a game is, what’s its value, how do we charge for it. But I don’t think anybody’s hit that sweet magic spot yet.

What did you do in Twisted Metal to make sure there wouldn’t be that kind of disparity?

We let you unlock options. We don’t let you unlock power. So, for example, we let you unlock a shield at a certain level, and it’s a reflection shield. You start with the normal shield that protects you for X number of seconds. The reflection shield will send back missiles and some other weapons with homing on them to the guy who fired them. But it takes more juice to use, and it doesn’t last as long. So it’s a matter of risk-reward. I can use the normal shield, which will still let me survive just as long as your reflector shield. I just won’t have offensive power. I can use it more often than you can use your reflector shield.

Or let’s say you unlock Sweet Tooth at level 15. I can wipe the floor with Sweet Tooth using the car you unlock at level one. It’s just different. What you’re unlocking is new content, but the content isn’t better or worse. It’s just different and more. So that’s how we’re approaching it in Twisted Metal. If you’ve got everything unlocked, you’re still no better or worse than everyone else. Your skill determines that.

That’s actually really cool. The Tribes: Ascend folks are doing something really similar, but with microtransactions. You buy different classes, but it’s not, say, the difference between being Captain DeathLaser McMurderface and a guy who’s jetpack is an office fan duct-taped to a backpack. Their term for it is “horizontal expansion.”

Right, like League of Legends. And the tricky part there is, well, there was this journalist online who said it’s a really cool monetization model, but you can’t recognize in the heat of battle which person has which character class. And without the ability to do that, it kind of devalues it a bit, because you can’t plan around how that guy is going to be able to fight you. And I hope they fix that, because I really like it. I like that term, too. Horizontal expansion. That’s really cool to me.

Switching to a more personal topic, you’re obviously a very outspoken guy in an industry that’s become increasingly obsessed with very deliberate messages dressed up in little pink PR packages with bows on top. You actually speak your mind – even after having it come back to bite you. Which is completely awesome, but I have to ask: Why? And can you think of any situation where you’d just default to “OK, I need to stop talking”?

“There’s a necessity – in my opinion – to be honest. If someone’s going to put a spotlight on you or a recorder in your face or even if it’s your own blog.”

Of course. I’m not reckless with it. There’s a necessity – in my opinion – to be honest. If someone’s going to put a spotlight on you or a recorder in your face or even if it’s your own blog, I think you have a responsibility to be honest. That doesn’t mean that you’re reckless. I work for and co-own Eat, Sleep, Play. I used to work for Sony. There are secrets, political things, and personal things that are not my position, and it wouldn’t be in my best interest to share them. And frankly, most of them are no one’s business. Just because someone would like to have a webcam at Sony in every conference room… that’s fine. But you don’t have the right to all that information.

But yeah, certainly there are things I don’t say, because it’s not my place [to say them]. Maybe it’s no one’s business. But within that, I think there’s a lot of freedom. The thing for me where it started is that I grew up absolutely obsessed with Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas as a kid. And my walls were covered; it was almost like a shrine. You would have thought I was a serial killer stalking him. It was like behind-the-scenes photos, movie posters – I wanted to be a movie maker. And I was obsessed with watching the behind-the-scenes making of Temple of Doom and all their movies and shit.

“It’s hard. You put your health second a lot of times. You put your family second a lot of times. Failure sucks; it hurts. You doubt yourself.”

The reality is – it’s not that they were out-and-out lies – but when I came out to Hollywood and tried to make movies, it was so manipulative in terms of a message intended to sell a product. Now, I want to sell products. I’d love for Twisted Metal to become a big hit. There’s all kinds of great stuff that happens when you make a big hit. I want that. But I still think there’s room to tell you about our game and be excited and let you in. We can also kind of say, “This is real.”

When I did my keynote, it was very important to me that if I was going to stand in front of all those people, I had an opportunity to really express something genuine. Like “Hey, you get scared, and you get worried, and you have doubts about your abilities. You don’t know if you’re going to be as successful as you once were, and what does that mean?” The message that you’re sending out to the world is this big fucking loud bullhorn of “Everything’s great. This industry’s awesome. It’s not hard. Come join us. Make games.” And all of that is true. Those aren’t lies. But there’s also a flipside, which is “It’s hard. You put your health second a lot of times. You put your family second a lot of times. Failure sucks; it hurts. You doubt yourself.”

I’m not trying to make it sound depressing, because I love this industry. But I think people are owed that. In our society – whether you talk about videogame journalism or politicians – I think we’re owed more truth than the media or the people with the media have allowed us to get. And I think it’s damaging to us as a human race. And so, in my own teeny tiny small way, if I can stand up on stage and convince someone that “Hey, the guy who makes these games that I really happen to like with a team I really happen to like is also a real guy. I can relate to that. Maybe I can contribute in a similar or even bigger way then he did,” I think that’s cool!

On the flipside of that, what about the folks who decide you’ve committed a cardinal sin by not being some sort of omnipotent deity? I think it’s similar with, say, Peter Molyneux. The second either of you slips up, gamers storm the message boards with stories of how you ate their families. Are they being unreasonable, or is there a tiny sliver of method to their madness?

You know, anonymity is a really dangerous fucking thing. It’s wonderful thing, but it’s also really dangerous. People let their worst sides of themselves out on the Internet. It’s cruel and it’s mean. But at the end of the day, I don’t give a fuck. I’m not saying I don’t care. Like, nobody wants to be told that they’re fat. A few days ago, I did an interview, and I saw that someone said, “Jaffe, your forehead’s too fucking shiny.” No one wants to hear bad things about themselves. I guarantee you, though, it’d be pretty easy for me to go to every single one of those commenters and point out a bunch of fucking shit I don’t like about them either.

“People let their worst sides of themselves out on the Internet. It’s cruel and it’s mean.”

But ultimately, yeah, it hurts sometimes, but what are you gonna do? Shut up? I mean, it’s an absurd concept, and I would hope that these people commenting and having really negative opinions don’t think it’s actually having an effect. I mean, really? Do you honestly believe that has power? Get off your fucking ass and go make something. That has power.

But sitting there anonymously and saying I’m fat? You think I don’t know I’m overweight? But trust me: I’ve beaten myself up a thousand times worse than you ever will. The thing that bothers me the most isn’t the haters on the Internet hiding behind anonymity. It’s the fact that there’s actually a perception of strength or balls [in doing that]. You want to fucking come at me? Then come at me at PAX in real life. Then we’ll figure it out. Then we’ll have a real conversation. But don’t post anonymously and act like you’re the man.


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  1. Ireland Michael

    I completely agree with the suggestion that merging gameplay and story isn’t always necessary. That sometimes all that really matter is creating good gameplay.

    But this is coming from a a guy who has never created a game with any real depth to it. Why should I suddenly believe that he’s capable of it now?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Toastrules

    Oh God this guy again… If you guys don’t know, Ireland has some sort of vendetta against Jaffe

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    @2 Do you actually have anything constructive to add to the discussion, or are you just in here to make ad hominem remarks because you don’t like my opinion?

    I’m sure many of the regulars reading this story have already read my personal opinion on David Jaffe in that thread already. They’re not stupid.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Kuwabara

    haters gonna hate, can’t stop them

    #4 4 years ago
  5. rrw


    #5 4 years ago
  6. OrbitMonkey

    I find myself agreeing with a lot of what Jaffe had to say. From his approval of Horizontal Expansion, to the need for mechanics over cutscenes & the delusions of internet trolls…

    Plus Cpt Deathlazer McMurderface, name deserves a game!!

    #6 4 years ago
  7. TD_Monstrous69

    @OrbitMonkey, I agree with you completely. Though I gotta say to @Ireland Michael, what’s with your whole vandetta on David Jaffe? Sure, I get if you’re just not into his games, you’re entitled to your opinion. But you can’t deny the guy’s success, or on what he’s added to the games industry. Also, if you look at his history on what games he’s made, namingly the two franchises that made him a household name; Twisted Metal and God War, and analyze them, each were different game experiences from each other, and whether or not you liked them or not, they worked. It’s not about if you’re right, or if the “mainstream” crowd of games is wrong, at the end of the day, it’s all about if it works and sells well. Many people make this same argument about Halo, and this falls under the same case. Love it or hate it, it sells, and sells really well.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    @7 Oh good lord. Like I already said, I do not have a “vendetta” against David Jaffe.

    The news article was about David Jaffe and his opinion on the priority of gameplay over story. I simply argued the point that he’s the last person to argue the subject, based on the fact that he’s never created any games of any real depth.

    There is no “vendetta”. It’s a simple observation.

    “But you can’t deny the guy’s success, or on what he’s added to the games industry.”

    He created a bunch of games with weak gameplay that sold on violence alone. They’ve added nothing to the games industry… except maybe the depressingly more frequent habit of developers relying on QTEs to create any sort of sense of dramatic action and suspense in their games.

    Popularity =//= quality.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    @8 Erm, if by your reasoning Jaffe is the last person to make judgements on gameplay, due to his previous output… Then who are you to critique him? Are you a succesfull games dev, with a couple of triple A titles under his belt?

    Just. saying, hey for all I know you could be :)

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Ireland Michael

    @9 “You have not created something, therefore your are in no place to critique it” is one of the oldest and ridiculous arguments in the book. By that logic, nobody can ever have a negative opinion about something unless they’ve created something similar themselves.

    When you become a creator, you are the one held responsible for the quality of what you create. For a creator to talk about a standard of quality that they they themselves have never reached is what’s commonly known as “trying too hard”.

    He is no Hideki Kamiya. Heck, he’s not even a Tomonobu Itagaki. And on the western front, the likes Ken Levine and Dan Houser have already proven that merging story and gameplay are perfectly doable… when you actually have some talent.

    Jaffe is an amateur at best.

    Eh, nobody likes a critique. Good thing I couldn’t give two flying fucks if some person on the internet don’t like what I say then, eh? If someone isn’t actually capable of arguing their point in a detailed and knowledgeable fashion and instead resorts to ad hominem remarks instead, they’ve already proven their idiocy.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Gadzooks!

    Jaffe popularised QTE’s. Anyone who cares about gaming would revile him for making prominent the worst, weakest gameplay crutch invented.

    Plus he’s a bigmouthed american asshole.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. OrbitMonkey

    ^ “I simply argued the point that he’s the last person to argue the subject, based on the fact that he’s never created any games of any real depth”.

    So that wasn’t you? Cuz reading that it seems like your saying Jaffe shouldn’t criticize cuz his work is crap… But then you say…

    “You have not created something, therefore your are in no place to critique it” is one of the oldest and ridiculous arguments in the book…”

    Now those 2 statements are contradictory at best you know? Either Jaffe CAN have a opinion, because everyone can, or he CAN’T because he’s not created anything of anyworth… Which is it?

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Joe Musashi

    @12 Check and mate. Nicely done :)


    #13 4 years ago
  14. TD_Monstrous69

    @8 How exactly do his games not have depth? Surely you didn’t overlook the smaller aspects of the God of War games that add on to the experience? Sure, the quick time events can be annoying, and I do agree with you a bit on other developer’s overusage of them, but they served a purpose in God of War, to break up the constant button-mashing hack-and-slash gameplay that were the God of War games. As well aa add a bit more satisfaction to killing stronger enemies within the games. Another aspect that never gets mentioned from these games were the puzzles, and how they were implemented within the level design. It added the challenges of memorization and timing to a genre that hadn’t really had it before. If these things hadn’t been done, God of War would be nothing more than a shameless Devil May Cry clone. And @11, speaking as someone who values free speech, fuck off!

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    @12 They’re not even remotely contradictory, and this is why.

    I never said he couldn’t judge the poor quality of something else. I said he doesn’t have any place to parade high quality gameplay in his own work, because it’s not there.

    @14 1) The puzzles in the God of War games are the worst things about them, and they’ve been done in countless other games countless times over the years. They’re simplistic, dull, and completely at odds with the vibe of the rest of the game.

    2) There isn’t any depth to the fighting mechanics themselves. Jaffe himself admitted in an interview years ago that he didn’t care about stuff like frame data or making fight mechanics deep or strategic.

    He went so far as to call it a “lite” spectacle fighters. How the game’s “normal” was the equivalent of Devil May Cry’s “easy”.

    A talented developer (Kamiya, Itagaki, Mikami) knows how to create games with depth *and* accessibility – most spectacle fighters we call it “Easy Automatic”.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Clupula

    “He created a bunch of games with weak gameplay that sold on violence alone. They’ve added nothing to the games industry” – so, do you hate Cliff from Epic, as well?

    As for Jaffe, I am one of those people who prefer story mixed with my gameplay, but I can see where he is coming from. I also found the thought of him taking time to point out things he doesn’t like about posters on the internet to be hilarious. Hell, I’m imagining him, personally visiting each negative poster to kick the shit out of them, Jay and Silent Bob-style.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Gadzooks!

    Sex minigames. Shallow gameplay and cheap titilation. Thats as deep as Jaffe gets.

    Fucking embarassing is what that is.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. OrbitMonkey

    David Jaffe the Michael Bay of videogames… Maybe they should collaborate on a Tramsformers game? *AWESOME*

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Kabby

    Make sure to interview him when Twisted Metal bombs.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Kuwabara

    ireland your an idiot, to think little of the god of war series and twisted metal which has won game of the year! You are stupid!

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    @18 Michael Bay? I’d say more like James Cameron. God of War 3 is the best looking, most bad a$$ PS3 (or any current gen platform) game to date imo, yes even better than U2 which I love as well. I know, Jaffee wasn’t involved it that one, but he set the standard with GOW.

    Can’t wait for GOW4 and Twisted Metal reboot.

    I’m calling it now. New TM is going to have some sort of exclusive / pre-order bonus having something to do with original PS1 TM. It was rated almost a year ago now but has STILL not popped up in the PSN store for download. I’m probably one of the few that prefer the original over TM2. Be cool to have it included in with the reboot.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Ireland Michael

    @19 Popularity and quality are not mutually bond. If they were, Twilight would be considered a modern literature masterpiece, Lady Gaga would be the greatest musical artist of all time, and Zumba Fitness would be one of the greatest games ever made.

    I fail to see how well it sells has to do with anything.

    @20 Herp-a-deep derp.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Actually I’d argue that popularity & quality are mutually bound when it comes to measuring quality in any entertainment medium.

    You can have the most technically perfect game ever seen, but If It hasn’t got that certain unquantifyable (spellcheck?) quality that appeals to the masses, then it won’t sell.

    Shakespeare is a good example. Many people of taste back In the day considered him a populist hack. Churning out plays full of sex & violence to excite the masses, now look how he’s regarded.

    #23 4 years ago
  24. DaMan

    OM, Just because out society’s standards have changed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see a difference. Works of art sometimes do become famous and sometimes they don’t, the sole purpose of any videogame is to put as little and make as much as possible. A better example would be food, seriously.

    Besides, videogames aren’t even a medium. they’re what exploitaion is to films and what Spice Girls is to music.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. OrbitMonkey

    Snobbery thy name is DaMan!! ;)

    #25 4 years ago
  26. DSB

    I think it’s pretty obvious that people just have opinions that are based on entirely different perspectives and values.

    Why wouldn’t there be room for people who appreciate story over gameplay and vice versa?

    I do think it’s selling videogames far short of what they can really do, to say that they should simply be a collection of mechanisms that take us towards a screen saying “NEW HIGHSCORE” or “GAME OVER”.

    Even if you’re making a fairly braindead game, you’ll still be able to take it a lot further by putting some care into the setting and the feel of it. Bastion is a pretty good example of that. Without the care put into the artstyle and the great music, it’s just a pretty basic beat ‘em up. Same thing goes for a game like Braid or Plants versus Zombies.

    Deciding that gameplay is all there is, is like depriving a game of the things that could take it from just a good game, to a legitimate classic.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. elronathon

    I never had much time for Jaffe (though I played the bejesus out of Twisted Metal 1 & 2 on the PS1), he seemed to be remarkably loud but not very constructive with his outspoken nature…then again, perhaps selective quoting can take some blame for that?

    Either way, I thought this interview was great, he came across as honest, and enthusiastic, not just crass – as little soundbites had me believe before.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Ireland Michael

    @23 I couldn’t a damn if something sells or not. I only care if it’s good. If the game isn’t of high standard, why the hell would I want to play it?

    Jaffe’s remarks weren’t about popularity. They were about quality, about depth of gameplay… something he has never achieved in any of his past games.

    Many of the most famous works of writing, film and music were flops in their day.

    Moby Dick, upon its original release, was scathed and blasted by critics all over the world, sold almost nothing, and sank (pun entirely intended) the author’s career. Now, it’s considered one of the greatest works of literature ever written.

    Likewise, Edgar Allen Poe was an obscure writer his entire living life, and his work only became famous after his death. He is now viewed as one of the most influential writers of all time.

    Those are just off the top of my head.

    The likes of Ken Levine can boost about approaching video gaming storytelling in a creative fashion because they’re learned and actually have the games to back up their claims. Jaffe does not.

    @DSB Good post, but I’m rather curious what your own personal opinion of Jaffe’s body of work is. You tend to make most of the best and most knowledgeable posts here amongst anyone.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. YoungZer0

    “Jaffe’s remarks weren’t about popularity. They were about quality, about depth of gameplay… something he has never achieved in any of his past games.”

    Name a few games that – in your opinion – have depth in their gameplay.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. DSB

    @28 I’m not really a Jaffe conneseur. I did enjoy playing the two first God of Wars, and I recall enjoying the first Twisted Metal on the PC, but it’s certainly fair to say that he isn’t a story guy. The stories of the God of War games are clever in the sense that they’re quick and dirty ways of progressing the action, and I don’t mind that sort of thing personally, as long as it doesn’t pretend to be more than that.

    I can do both. I don’t need every game to be a certain way, it just has to play to its strengths, really.

    #30 4 years ago
  31. DrDamn

    Surely Jaffe games are also considered great works by the critics? Just because you personally don’t like them how does that invalidate his view?

    There are plenty of games I don’t like or get on with. Lots of other people do like them, so good for them. I accept they aren’t for me but obviously there is something there. I move on and play what I do enjoy. I don’t infest every article about them ensuring everyone constantly knows of my hate. What I’m saying is, get over it already.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. Ireland Michael

    @29 Gladly. This is just off the top of my head

    Street Fighter 2 – 4
    Virtual Fighter 2 – 5
    Mortal Kombat (The new one. The old ones had no depth at all)
    Super Smash Bros Melee & Brawl
    Ninja Gaiden
    Devil May Cry 1, 3 and 4
    The Disgaea series
    The Shin Megami Tensei series
    Pokemon (Yes, you read that right)
    Bullet Storm
    Team Fortress 2
    Planescape Torment
    Ninja Blade
    Heavenly Sword
    Fallout 1 & 2
    Gunstar Heroes
    Child of Eden
    The Dishwasher (both of them)
    Rock Band 3 (using the Pro instruments)
    Demon’s Soul
    Dante’s Inferno (yes, the “copy-cat” has more depth than the game it’s generously ripped off)

    Again, that’s just off the top of my head.

    All of these games have mechanics where skill and a appreciation for their nuances allow you to play them at a much deeper level than initially presented to you. God of War has none of this. It has weightless combat and a flimsy, lazy dodging mechanic.

    The Twisted Metal games also suffer from a similar problem, wherein the cars feel like plastic toys and the combat has no absolutely no depth to it at all, no subtle nuances or variations to create any sort of deep gameplay.

    @31 I could care less what some critics think. The gaming industry is showered with amateur journalist with no professional experience and little capacity for critical thinking.

    Inception has been critically praised by reviewers. So was Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I still think they’re both poorly written movies with nice imagery but grounded in juvenile, first grade psychology.

    “What I’m saying is, get over it already.”

    I responded to the subject of the article with my opinion. My opinion does not have to be positive if I don’t want it to be. The only reason I am continuing to respond is because are asking me questions or discussion the subject directly towards me. That is usually how debates and discussion work.

    #32 4 years ago
  33. OrbitMonkey

    You know if Jaffe had said in that interview that his games were the best fighting games ever, with unparalleled depth etc, I’d get the disdain.

    But he didn’t did he? He said that in his opinion games need more gameplay, less cutscene. That’s it.

    Let’s face it, he’s got a point.

    #33 4 years ago
  34. Ireland Michael

    @33 Any half decent video game developer already knows this. The good ones know how to integrate the two.

    His argument doesn’t even matter unless the game doesn’t have decent gameplay, and everything I have seen of the new Twisted Metal (and I was at the E3 where it was announced) shows a game that is incredibly weak on a mechanical level.

    #34 4 years ago
  35. DrDamn

    Well obviously the only critics which we should consider are those who agree with your opinion. The point I was making is that we have been here before in countless othe Jaffe threads. Some discussion on what he actually said would have been nice rather than a deliberate thread derail yet again.

    #35 4 years ago
  36. DrDamn

    So you actually saw the video we all saw too in person? That does make you much more qualified to comment you’re right.

    You are starting from an opinion that vehicle combat games are a relic best left in the 90s, how could it ever impress you?

    #36 4 years ago
  37. Ireland Michael

    @35 They can have whatever opinion they want. I’m not going to hate them for it. I’m simply think they’re wrong.

    It is possible to disagree with other people’s opinions and not dislike them as a person, you know? Admittedly, this is a mentality that most people on the internet would probably have trouble understanding…

    “The point I was making is that we have been here before in countless othe Jaffe threads.”

    If people don’t want to discuss the subject with me, they do not have to respond to my posts. That’s how discussion work, you know?

    “Some discussion on what he actually said would have been nice rather than a deliberate thread derail yet again.”

    I am discussing what he said, by stating that I believe that he is has little proof in his own games to back up exactly what he said in the interview. How that is “derailing” a thread is beyond me.

    Many other people seem far more interested in making ad hominem insults instead of actually discussing the merits / negatives of what he said.

    Actual discourse is based on looking at both sides of a debate, and if you look at my first post you might have actually noticed that I agreed entirely with his underlining point about gameplay being the first and foremost factor in a game, even at the expense of story.

    @36 “You are starting from an opinion that vehicle combat games are a relic best left in the 90s, how could it ever impress you?”

    It could impress me by actually being good, and based on everything I’ve seen so far (trust me, it’s very different when you have a giant 100″ monitor in your face showing you every little detail, and I have rewatched the footage numerous times) that the gameplay is still a relic of a time when ragdoll physic were considered innovation.

    If the gameplay actually has depth, I will gladly change my mind. But it took me five seconds of watching the Duke Nukem trailers to realise that it would be an absolutely dire game, so I’m pretty secure in my opinion about this one two. Just by watching the little details in the videos, you can see as clear as day how weak and lacking in depth or polish the gameplay is.

    #37 4 years ago
  38. fearmonkey

    I don’t see why Michael is getting blasted due to his views, I like some of Jaffe’s games, but the man is no Warren Spector…

    #38 4 years ago
  39. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Now if you’d said Jaffe’s no Peter Molyneux, this thread would have got to triple figure posts ;)

    #39 4 years ago
  40. DrDamn

    It’s not the opinion, everyone’s is entitled to those. It’s the need to express it again and again over every Jaffe thread he enters.

    #40 4 years ago
  41. Ireland Michael

    @40 That’s what comment sections are for.

    If the subject of the thread was about Molyneux, I’d be talking about Molyneux. If the topic was about pink polka-dotted elephants, I’d be talking about pink polka-dotted elephants.

    I’m not exactly an irregular poster here. I comment on a lot of stories. There just happens to be a lot of Jaffe ones right now.

    But feel free to see alien spaceships where there are only car lights in the distance, if it helps you sleep better at night. *pinches your cheeks*

    #41 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Now that Mistwalker’s Terra Battle has surpassed 2 million downloads on mobile, the developer is now working on a console version of the tactical RPG. As part of the original Download Starter campaign, the 2 million milestone means the company will begin development on Terra Battle’s console version with details to be announced at a […]

  • Prison break game The Escapists is heading to PlayStation 4 from May 29

    The Escapists, Mouldy Toof’s prison break game originally released as a timed console exclusive Xbox One, has a release date for PlayStation 4. For those unfamiliar with the title, which is also a PC release, it tasks players’ time management skills as they do a bit of digging and crafting, and other prison-type stuff as […]

  • Dead Island 2 delayed into 2016 to ensure series is “taken to the next level”

    Dead Island 2 has been delayed into 2016 by Yager in order to ensure the sequel “takes Dead Island to the next level.” According to a tweet from the developer, it set “big goal” for the game, and in order to deliver what fans expect, the team needs more time to reach development goals. “We […]

  • Project Cars: here’s a list of all available cars at launch

    Project Cars will contain many, many cars and if we are counting correctly, there will be 74 total at launch. The standard edition contains 65 total, and when factoring the free car as well as the Modified and Limited Edition cars packs, you can add an additional nine cars to the mix. Comb through the […]

  • Competitive matchmaking support is coming to Team Fortress 2

    Team Fortress 2 will soon feature support for competitive matchmaking, which Valve says is a “high priority” project for it at the moment. According to a report from, which visited Valve headquarters recently, Valve is looking into the possibility of 6v6 or 9v9 matches 9v9, a possible quick play option and it is also […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch fixes garage, Job crashes – full notes here

    Rockstar has pushed out a 353 MB patch for GTA 5 on PC The patch fixes a number of annoying bugs related to vehicles and garages, some deathmatch issues and purchase errors. It should also fix various freezing and crashing bugs, as well as a little issue with Steam. Time will tell if the patch […]

  • Fire Emblem If will come in White Kingdom and Black Kingdom versions with amiibo support

    We’ve finally got some juicy details on the next Fire Emblem game, but the most interesting aspect is that there will be two versions of the game. According to Siliconera, who translated an interview between Intelligent Systems and 4Gamer, there will a White Kingdom and a Black Kingdom version that offer different aspects of the […]

  • Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess heads west with “Golden Toilet” pre-order bonus

    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]

  • PS4 sales help Sony’s games division swing to profit

    Sony’s PlayStation business has made an operating profit of 48.1 billion yen ($404m / £261.5m) in the past 12 months. That’s thanks to stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and PS Plus, even as sales of the PS3 have stalled and the company wrote off costs for the PSTV and PS Vita. The profit puts […]

  • New patch for Dirt Rally gives co-driver’s attitude a tune-up

    Dirt Rally gets a new patch three days after release on Steam. On Monday, we reported that the newest Dirt game has popped up on Steam’s Early Access and is available to pick up for £24.99, as well as giving you an eyeful of tasty screenshots. The patch – released yesterday – fixes some issues […]

  • New The Witcher 3 screenshots show combat, exploration and general carousing

    New screenshots released on the official facebook page for The Witcher 3 show Geralt annihilating a winged beast, out and about in the world exploring, and living the life of Reily amidst a bustling feast. We were already treated to some glorious screenshots a few days ago, but these new ones are in-game and give […]

  • Destiny: 14 things you might have missed during House of Wolves intel drops

    Destiny: House of Wolves does a great deal more than just slap some new content on the existing game structure. House of Wolves changes Destiny in a lot of interesting and very welcome ways. Bungie showed off many of these changes in its livestream, and let both me and Arekkz come and have a look […]

  • Scratch that cyberpunk itch with Technobabylon on May 21 – new trailer

    Technobabylon more like Wrecked-yo-babbling with my smooth flow about how good Wadjet Eye games are. I don’t know y’all, it’s clock off time and everything feels like a reach. Wadjet Eye makes pretty good adventure games – award winning, in fact. The latest project to spring forth from the benevolent, sheltering hand of the label […]

  • Skullgirls 2nd Encore brings exclusive new features to PS4, Vita in northern summer

    Skullgirls, the little indie fighter that could, is getting another crack at it. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the second re-release of the one-time troubled 2D versus fighter from lab Zero Games. Having survived the shut down of its developer and collapse of its publishing contrast, Skullgirls re-emerged as Skullgirls: Encore, adding in a ton of […]

  • Danganronpa series generates “impressive” sales for Vita exclusive

    Danganronpa is selling quite nicely, thank you, says NIS America. Danganronpa is a series of murder mystery visual novel puzzlers in a similar vein to games like 999. Two of these have been released for Vita in the west – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Speaking to MCV, NIS America CEO and president Takuro […]

  • I have no idea what is going on in J-Stars Victory VS+ but I kind of like it

    In this J-Stars Victory VS+ trailer, we see – uhh. Well. We certainly see some things. Look y’all, I was a massive weaboo in high school, but that was back in the dark ages when we had to take out Manga Entertainment VHS tapes from dingy little specialist rental joints that were literally underground, and […]

  • Please just watch this terrific trailer for Toren

    Toren is the kind of game I dream about when I drift off to sleep at night. This indie puzzle adventure strikes a spark in my little soul in the same way as Ico and Tequila Works’ Rime do. Mysterious, almost ethereal fantasy setting – check. Chance to actually walk around in that setting – […]

  • Play classic MS-DOS games on your own tweets

    In today’s episode of “what will they think of next”, someone’s figured out how to post playable versions of classic games in tweets. For some time now, Twitter has allowed you to embed various forms of media in tweets, most noticeably YouTube videos, simply by pasting a URL into the compose field. Turns out this […]

  • VR: Unreal Engine to add HTC Vive support

    The biggest digital PC game distributor and the most popular game development engine have both backed VR. It’s going to happen. An upcoming Unreal Engine 4 update will expand the development suite’s support to the HTC Vive, Valve’s VR headset. In this glorious new future where work on one of the most important engines in […]

  • WWE 2K15 PC supports modding

    WWE 2K15 may be the series’ PC debut, but it’s already getting into the spirit of the platform. WWE 2K15 does indeed support mods on PC, 2K’s Marcus Stephenson has confirmed. @ElementGamesTV you can. Now buy. — Marcus Stephenson (@stephensonmc) April 28, 2015 As Destructoid points out, this opens the door to all sorts of […]

  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead is one step closer to your grasping little paws. Overkill’s The Walking Dead will be published by 505 Games, Overkill parent Starbreeze has announced. 505 also published Payday 2, Overkill’s previous title, so the two companies have established a working relationship. In a press release, the publisher said the co-op title […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pre-orders net Advanced Warfare DLC

    Buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for later, enjoy bonus Advanced Warfare content now. Blacks Ops 3 is being supported by a rather cunning pre-order incentive even more likely to get you to lay your cash down sooner than you might otherwise. Gamespot reports a Black Ops 3 pre-order will receive a couple of […]

  • Steam Game Ban system lets developers determine who to block

    Steam users can now be blocked from individual games by their developers. Steam has always supported multiplayer bans for disruptive users, but a newly-implemented system allows developers to ban users from individual games using their own anti-cheat systems. Game Bans are enforced by Valve, but are enacted at the developer’s request and discretion. This change […]

  • Far Cry 4 devs matching Red Cross donations up to $100K to aid Nepal earthquake victims

    Far Cry 4 developer Ubisoft Montreal will match any pledges made to The Red Cross up to $100,000 to aid Nepal after the 7.8 earthquake struck the area in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Ubisoft: “Having spent the last few years working on Far Cry 4, a game heavily inspired by Nepal and […]

  • Tales of Zestiria retail listing notes September release date, PS4 version

    Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, and while it’s confirmed as a PlayStation 3 release, a Dutch retailer has it listed as coming to PS4 as well. Of course, listing it for PS4 could also be a typo, not that I would personally know about that sort of thing, really. However, according […]