Jaffe: "We Must All Be Slaves To A Project's Vision"
David Jaffe knows a thing or two about game development. He also knows that when you're in a position of authority or power (in just about any business, really), you just can't be "nice" all the time.
Although we still have no idea what he's working on over at Eat Sleep Play - apparently, it's not a new Twisted Metal - Jaffe still opted to talk about managing a team through the crucial pressure moments of development. He wrote about his attempt at being "nicer and kinder" over at his blog, and as you can see, the result wasn't satisfactory. He admits he may have acquired a reputation of being difficult to work with; a "hard-ass" for the sake of the project's vision. So, he tried to "better" himself by calming down and being less of a "pain." The result?
"**ck that. Doesn't work.
Can I still be nice? Always. But not at the expensive of the game's vision. Thank God no real harm was done to our current game because of it. Nice wake up call tho. Grateful for the lesson.
Here's the reality: on a creative project there's the vision that once it's locked, we all must be slaves to. Protect that vision at all costs. And sometimes that means you open the doors a bit to let the vision grow and be improved by the right members of the team who 'get' it. But not everyone on a game will always get it and so it's key to know when an idea improves and when it takes away from the game's core."
You know what happens when you settle? You produce a mediocre, ho-hum project. ...and how often has Jaffe's name been associated with something that can accurately be described as "mediocre, ho-hum?" One of the most basic rules of management is that you can't be everyone's friend all the time, and you certainly can't please everyone all the time. Feelings will get hurt. Tensions will rise. Someone - preferably the leader - has to be a "hard-ass." Because at the end of the day, you'll all toast something like God of War II and sleep better than you've ever slept.
5/28/2010 10:23:14 AM Ben Dutka