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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

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Comments (32 posts)

Underdog15
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 10:53:37 AM
Reply

I'm sure everyone can argue over the most appropriate management styles in each situation, but the fact that everyone must buy into the same vision is absolutely true. The time to argue about the vision is while the vision is in development. Once that's established, everyone needs to buy into the goals surrounding that mission and vision.

The same applies to sports, anyone's work, and any non-profit.

I just hope Jaffe doesn't do too much micromanaging. He's right about the vision, though.

Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/28/2010 10:54:55 AM

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Ergi
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 10:54:58 AM
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Man do I like perfectionists..

Last edited by Ergi on 5/28/2010 10:57:05 AM

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Jawknee
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 11:05:21 AM
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I think a great majority of developers just settle these days. This generation was supposed to raise the bar and Sony for the most part did that with their line of AAA exclusives. But too many developers have settled for the "easy to develop for" console and turn out game after game that look like glorified PS2 games and perform even worse then some PS2 games when you take into the account the rampant screen tearing that some developers just let slip by into the retail versions of their games.

I'm glad Sony taps dedicated people like Jaffe who aren't willing to "settle". Otherwise all we would have are FPS's that looks like Halo. With people like Jeffe, the teams at Santa Monica Studios, Naughty Dog and Guerrilla Games, Sony has spoiled us with top of their class artists and developers. Quality control seems to be a high priority of Sony's and i like it.

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jlch777
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 4:11:57 PM

Agree with you completely!
I played all Prince of Persia games from the PS2 and PS3 but the Forgotten Sands feels so outdated from a graphics and gameplay perpective.
I don't Know, after playing top quality games like U1 and 2,Killzone 2,God of War 3 i cant stand mediocre products.

Waiting for the GT5 unveiling at E3 anxiously...

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inkme101
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 11:12:30 AM
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this is why im a prick all the time! it just works out better all around! LOL

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 2:31:24 PM

sadly that is true, be a prick and you get what you want.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 5/28/2010 2:31:34 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 4:01:41 PM

You catch more flies with Honey. :)

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Kangasfwa
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 9:30:43 PM

Anyone who has worked with the public knows World is right.

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Underdog15
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 10:15:09 PM

yup. except me. My job rocks. I work for a non-profit helping high risk youth. I get to be a hero for being nice and supportive of people.

Pretty sure my kind of job is the minority, though.

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Nlayer
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 11:13:59 AM
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Well, I'm not too familiar with how a game developer team should operate. But at my previous job; my boss was a hard-ass and a control freak and he ended up fired for it. The person who replaced him was someone I trained, and he was really nice. Our department got higher sales and a better reputation for it too.

Again, probably a lot different from making a video game.

I am glad that Jaffe is making sure the game is good though. It's good to see. :]

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Shams
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 12:44:52 PM

The basic principles of project management have been formulated to be pretty much common across all industries. But yes, I imagine the business of making games can be less forgiving than even restaurant business for example.

Between the demands of evolving technology, a fickle audience, exponentially inflating budgets, massive competition, short time-frames, and the task of managing incongruent mindsets of artists, engineers, and business men, I would say that game development is one of the most demanding industries there is...right next to sending a man on the moon.

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Shams
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 11:22:36 AM
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Maintaining management authority or vision and being "nice" needn't be mutually exclusive. Moreover, one requires the other.

Unfortunately, we Americans have difficulty understanding the notion of respect (it starts at the tongue). We think one must either be an a-hole or be a push-over, a rebel or a slave, a wolf or a lamb. Egoism is really a disease which makes right into wrong, wrong into right, and one can't learn from it until one relinquishes it.

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Natalisrubbish
Saturday, May 29, 2010 @ 12:05:56 AM

Well put shams! I agree 100%, you only received as many thumbs down as you have because the truth hurts most people. I'm giving you a thumbs up though, it's deserved. (-:

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Karosso
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 11:55:21 AM
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Is this the reason why after five years we still don't have a F$#%&*ng game from him? because he was too nice?
Your problem is that you blog more than you work Jaffe! Stop being too nice to yourself first, them you might actually get something done.

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Jawknee
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 12:11:18 PM

"Your problem is that you blog more than you work Jaffe!"

How could you possibly know that? Yes he blogs quite a bit but i highly doubt blogging it takes precedent over his work.

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Karosso
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 12:30:51 PM

I know Bro but, every time I hear from him is about something other them a real update on what he is working on.
Come on Jaffe give us something!
Is not that I don't like the guy, I am sure that what ever he is working on will blow us away, that is the reason why I get so frustrated with all his blabbering...
Come on, he gave us GoW and TM, two of genre defining games, can't wait to see what the hell he is bringing to the table this time around.

Last edited by Karosso on 5/28/2010 12:31:27 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 12:34:46 PM

Yup, i agree he needs to throw us a bone but I'm sure the the wait will be worth it. :)

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piratedrunk
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 12:43:10 PM

The only reason it seems like he is "blabbering" is because he likes to share his thoughts more than other developers and so the gaming media tends to make an article every time he says something.

I think it says a lot that every time he opens his mouth people listen and it is probably because he makes great games.

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Jawknee
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 1:21:14 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself PirateDrunk.

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main_event05
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 1:50:42 PM

kojima blogs a lot and even maintains a podcast and look at his work

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 2:33:25 PM

MainEvent, I like your Asian women :)

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main_event05
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 5:40:42 PM

Yuko Ogura.
The hottest most annoying woman in the world.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 6:23:45 PM

How is she annoying? Not that I wouldn't put up with it ;)

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main_event05
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 8:34:27 PM

Her voice. her voice is really nasal, but thats not here real voice, her real voice is sexy. look her up on youtube.

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Karosso
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 1:08:39 PM
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@ Jawknee and Piratedrunk
Dude, I have the same feeling, it will be one of the best games of this generation but can't we at least know what its about?
So far Sony has not hushed its developers and we keep on getting AAA+ titles so, I'm ok with the amount of time he is taking but, just give us something to hang on to...
And yes, I get that the guy likes to speak his mind but, maybe its my fault to listen to it too much.
My conclusion is that no matter what he is working on, it will be a D1P for most of us here, but boy oh boy am I tired of listening to all his comments about this and that...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 2:35:05 PM
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Well I'm glad I don't have to lead a team, I have a massive problem with confrontation and it takes a lot to actually make me behave like a hardass.

How about being such a hardass that you actually get somewhere with your game Jaffe?

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Karosso
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 2:49:18 PM
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Ninja, Please!
If you go to work dressed like that, you won't even need to act like one, just give them dirty looks :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 5:24:00 PM

lol, depends on the time of year. It's just a hoodie and a black scarf. But if I brought the sword I'd either be arrested or hauled away by the men in white coats :)

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main_event05
Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 6:15:44 PM

Both if you are lucky.

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Milonakis
Saturday, May 29, 2010 @ 2:00:58 AM
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So did Jaffe being nice result in no Twisted Metal?

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The X Factor 9
Saturday, May 29, 2010 @ 6:18:44 PM
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CALLING ALL CARS wasn't ho-hum...it was downright HORRIFIC.

I love the games that David Jaffe has created over the years. God of War and Twisted Metal are two of my favorite games EVER.

But seriously...enough of David Jaffe until he creates another good game. After the embarrassment of Calling All Cars, he should keep his mouth shut and continue working on his fabled "new project".

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BikerSaint
Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 12:00:10 AM
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I think Jaffe wasted valuable time putzing around on that gamer interns wannabe "Tester" show.

Wrong move!

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