Jaffe On His Career And The "Holy Grail" Of Game Design
David Jaffe has been around for a while and his accomplishments speak for themselves.
But as always, there's more to the story. The Eat Sleep Play co-founder and God of War designer delivered the PAX 2011 keynote address, and gamers learned a lot about his insipriations and general history.
He describes breaking into the gaming industry, and his fast promotion from tester to associate producer (we like the part about building 3D levels with LEGOs during his lunch breaks). Throughout, he kept listening to his "inner voice," which allowed him to avoid recommendations to make God of War like Devil May Cry. Unfortunately, he admits to "losing touch" with that voice, as his environment began to change and he embarked upon a project that ultimately failed.
That project was Heartland, which described as "Red Dawn" meets "Saving Private Ryan." It was supposed to be a political allegory and overall, Jaffe was reaching for the "Holy Grail of game design." That, by the way, is to make players cry at the end of a game..."for the right reasons," of course. But he wasn't following his inner voice; he was making it so he could create the "next big thing." Ultimately, the development team disbanded (some left to work on Warhawk), and that was that.
Then, after Eat Sleep Play's first game, Calling All Cars, didn't meet with great success, Jaffe again questioned if he lost touch with his voice. He also admitted to dealing with some "serious anger issues" for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was a lawsuit that said he had plagiarized God of War. But he worked through that, watched the 1940 film, "The Shop Around the Corner," and realized that "gameplay travels." Great things endure, even after the people who made them are gone.
And now we have the upcoming Twisted Metal, which is part of Jaffe's recovery process. Heck, if we're reading him correctly, it is the recovery. No wonder he wants to make sure it's perfect before it leaves the studio.
8/27/2011 9:12:30 AM Ben Dutka