Why The Industry Needs Twisted Metal
At first, I think we were all overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of the announcement. But it didn't take long for me to notice something: an unpredictable yet seemingly reasonable schism in the gaming community, evidently created by the style of the game in question.
A perfect example of some misgivings I've seen concerning Eat Sleep Play's new project is this comment- "Eh, I've moved past it." This sort of sums up the feelings of some gamers; we've seen similar comments from posters here at PSXE and in truth, you will find such statements everywhere. It's the obvious implication that since Twisted Metal: Black on the PS2, and since the time when the franchise name elicited smiles from gamers everywhere, the industry has changed. Some will even say we've "grown up" and a game like Twisted Metal is a little too...simplistic. We've got games that look and play a lot like blockbuster Hollywood movies now; we've got storytelling innovations and revolutions; we've got the advent of new technologies in the realms of motion-sensing and 3D. And in fact, David Jaffe recently confirmed that his new game wouldn't support either.
Something struck me about what Dave and Scott Campbell said during our E3 interview; they were talking about the multiplayer aspect, and how they wanted to reclaim that lost feeling of sitting next to your buddy on the couch, playing the same game. And as time has gone on, I've seen a lot of this mentality from Jaffe and Co.: it essentially says that we shouldn't take ourselves so damn seriously all the time, and that this industry is about fun, and that "fun" doesn't necessarily have to hold deeper meanings or provide deeper emotions and experiences. And while I will always say gaming must progress in order to finally obtain true legitimacy and I love the advances in storytelling and writing, I sort of agree. A certain part of the industry must stick to its roots; we must remember why we started playing in the first place, and why we still play today.
Twisted Metal is about fast-paced entertainment. It's about blowing sh** up. It's about teaming up with friends or enjoying a dark, frenetic, madcap, over-the-top car combat game by yourself. The visuals aren't designed to fool us into thinking we're watching a film, the stories aren't an attempt at replacing the novel, and there isn't a recreation of a realistic world, ala GTA or the upcoming Mafia II. No, it's none of that. What it is - or should I say, what it likely will be - is a blast and a half designed specifically for the sole purpose of allowing us to forget our cares and grin away for a few hours. That's all. In its simplicity, it's a noble endeavor; you shouldn't say you're "past it" or you've "outgrown it." You shouldn't analyze it or over-think it. Just play it. And if you don't have fun, we'll be quite surprised.
That all being said, I do believe this mindset must coexist with the progressive, forward-thinking part of the industry to give us a nice balance. I love the artistic side of all entertainment forms...sorry Dave, but the "artsy fartsy" games you seem to dislike are some of my favorites. :)
8/2/2010 9:19:45 PM Ben Dutka