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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.

Tags: david jaffe, eat sleep play, god of war, heartland

8/27/2011 9:12:30 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (11 posts)

playaplus
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 10:37:06 AM
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didnt wanna do this....but seeing as jaffe was on season 1 and he started off as a tester...and promoted to a producer.... I'd appreciate support https://casting.thetester.com/playaplus winner gets a producer job at santa monica studios

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leatherface
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 11:25:07 AM
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i thought the dark side of gaming, for him, would be having no beer.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 2:50:25 PM
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Hmmm, now I have a film to watch. I didn't know someone sued him over that. I think fans of God of War and 300 should go see "Immortals" the trailer had me thinking of GoW.

I hope TM goes well for him and I hope he can come up with a giant new IP next, though we probably wouldn't see it till PS4 with their fairly slow development. I don't know how big Eat Sleep Play is, but probably not very.

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NiteKrawler
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 12:37:15 PM

One of the people who sued him (a lady) was a member on a forum I admin at. She hasn't been there for a long time though.

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sunspider13
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 5:53:20 PM
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I like and respect Jaffe. His dedication to his craft shows with the games he puts out. He sent out a tweet on his way to PAX waiting for his flight asking people to tweet him a question. He answered just about every question that was posed to him including mine. He's A-OK in my book.

@World I am going to see "Immortals" the day after it comes out. U3 comes out on the same day "Immortals" opens. You should check out the two other films that the director Tarsem has made, The Cell and The Fall. The guy has a ethereal visual style that I like.

Last edited by sunspider13 on 8/27/2011 5:54:11 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 7:53:57 PM

I've seen the cell, not the fall, ill look into it

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milang
Saturday, August 27, 2011 @ 8:34:17 PM
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Qubex
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 1:42:13 AM
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I understand where Jaffe is coming from but you simply cannot get it right all the time. Even the greats have made duds.

I think everyone has core talents and skills. If Jaffe has the talent to design games, which he has, what are the better type of game design models that work best for him. Maybe games in the vain of "God Of War" are most suitable to his way of working and creating worlds that people can immerse themselves within.

Twisted Metal is a very different game, but yet, there are still some "platforming" elements within this game environment. Jaffe seems to like creating complex levels with objectives to achieve, such as you have to negotiate this level with x puzzles to complete this task. The strategic and puzzle element is there, even in a game like Twisted Metal.

The question is which game types actually suit him best to produce?Which will have the greater possibility of success simple because of the way he works, designs and thinks?

Is there such a thing as designers knowing their limits before even embarking on a given project.

Just say'n...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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___________
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 2:29:44 AM
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dam stright, never loose touch with your inner voice!
im hoping twisted metal turns out really good, but the lack of attention from $ony at media events and from the media itself is not exactly filling me with confidence.
been WAY too long since we got a car combat game, we need this to do well to show other studios yes people still do play car combat games.
shooters are not the only genre you can make a profit in!

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Qubex
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 5:59:30 AM
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Depends... I mean here at PsxExtreme it has been mentioned quite often and I think Ben is excited for it, or at least intrigued to see how it turns out.

It may do quite well... we will have to see if there is appetite for such a title after all these years. Could go down well.

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Nas Is Like
Sunday, August 28, 2011 @ 8:23:50 PM
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In that pic, he looks so much like Zane Lamprey (sp?) from the Spike TV show about drinking.

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