Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Hey ya'll.

Well Criminal Crackdown is no more :(

The TITLE, that is :)

You can see the game's new name up there in the image above.

So what happened?!?

We were in a mad rush to reveal the game at GAMER'S DAY a few weeks back and all the legal checks had not yet come down giving us permission to use that name. Unlike some other companies that seem to have no problem giving their games titles that SOUND pretty darn close to other games, Sony likes to give us as much room as possible between our game names and other game names. Which is nice. But challenging as well because there have been ALOT of video games made over the last 30-35 years so it makes it tough to find a name that is fresh and appropriate and fun, while at the same time being something that will not get you thrown into a court room.

This kind of name changing happens all the time with game makers. It's just somewhat rare for it to happen in the public eye (there's that phrase again!)...

But, for example, TWISTED METAL was going to be called: URBAN ASSAULT...then it was going to be called CARS AND ROCKETS...then it was going to be called HIGH OCTANE.

GOD OF WAR went by the name DARK ODYSSEY for at least 2 years before we settled on the final title.

End of the day, the name really- to me- does not matter. A name (just like the cover of a classic album) takes on value and meaning when it is associated with a product people really love.

I remember lots of folks were like: JET MOTO!?!? What the hell is that supposed to mean? But it was a great game (I think) and the title grew to mean something great to thsoe players who loved the series.

So with ALL that said, Criminal Crackdown is dead. I assume it's because MS has a very sweet looking game called CRACKDOWN coming out and the titles were just too close for comfort...but I am just guessing.

I wonder if we'll also have to change the title of GOD OF WAR 2 to something else since GOD OF WAR 2 sounds a bit too much like GEARS OF WAR? We'll see.

So Criminal Crackdown was rejected. So we struggled with all kinds of names...names like: CRAZY CROOKS; ROBBERS ON THE RUN; FELONY FRENZY, and on and on and on.

We hated them all.

Then Adam- one of the designers on the title- came up with the title that stuck. And I love it. I love it more that Criminal Crackdown. I think it just fits better.


So there ya go. Let us know what you think!

Oh, and Happy Halloween! Be safe and have fun! I can't wait to take the girls out tonite. One is The Cat In The Hat and the other is a pumpkin! I LOVE the fact that my oldest girl is a character in a book versus a character from a movie or tv show. Go reading!

Ok, gotta go work!

See ya!


Monday, October 30, 2006


I was talking to my wife this weekend about how bummed I was that I'm very quickly becomming one of the most hated men in video games.

I told her: I just don't get it. I try to do interviews and blog in the same way I talk to most people in my real life (i.e. being a pretty nice guy, when I'm not ultra stressed out). And yet, more and more, I'm seeing people who are like: FUCK JAFFE! HE'S AN ASS!

Now, sure, some of that is to be expected. When you are in a public role, you can't escape it. And when you pursue a public role (like I have), you're really just asking for it. And when you pursure a public role where MOST of the folks who buy your products are avid net users, you are pretty much fucked no matter which way you slice it.

Now yeah, you gotta chalk some of it up to the fact that some folks are just little babies who will complain and bitch about ANYTHING as long as they can do it hidden behind a stupid-ass user name. That stuff does not bother me in the least. Hell, most times it's kinda of funny (albeit pathetic).

But that's not what is happening here, at least that's not what it feels like. It feels like I've really offended some nice, normal, forward thinking people. And I don't want that; not in my real life, not in my 'public' life. I like gamers alot and feel a strong connection with fellow geeks, with folks who love games and movies and comics. So it bums me out that every step I take these days, I keep putting my foot in my mouth.

So I was talking to my wife about it; about WHY I seem to be doing it....and she really opened my eyes. She's real smart that way :)

I told her: look, I'm just a normal guy who doesn't want to bullshit people and do the PR dance. I want to just express how I really am; what I think. I'm not saying anything that most other geeks don't say when sitting around shooting the shit.

And she says: that's your problem.

And I go: why?

She says: Because you are in the public eye amongst gamers. And you CAN NOT just type and talk when you are in the public eye like you talk to your friends or co-workers. Because, like it or not, what you say carries weight. NOT because what you are saying is necessarily worthy of weight but because you are in the public eye (as far as console video gamers go). And so when you go "Dude, Xbox Live Arcade is lame compared to Sony's Downloadable Games", this is 100% fine to do sitting around, shooting the shit with your buddies. Everyone does it. You may not even mean what you are saying, but are saying it for the hell of it; to get a rise out of someone you know is a hard core Xbox fan. Again, this is totally fine with your friends. But when you do it on a blog or in an interview, it comes across as being more than just shooting the shit; or taking the piss out of the competition. It comes across as REAL. And that is why people are getting upset. They don't view you as a guy just sitting around gabbing and tossing off stuff that may be true, may be biased, may be just you goofing around, or may be just you saying something that is true for one day but not true for the next. They view it as the opinion of someone who works for Sony. And to some of those guys, that means war!

She told me she was watching The Dixie Chicks on Oprah and the lead singer- who said the Dixie Chicks were ashamed of Geroge Bush- didn't get why she could not just express her opinion like everyone else. And hearing that, it was clear to me why I've made a bit of a mess of things in regards to whatever public image I may have. It's because I really did just want to be 100% me with everyone. And that's a nice wish. But now I see that it's naive to assume that you can do that when you are NOT just a guy hanging out at Taco Bell while bitching about the latest game release or the latest hardware slip up.

When the spotlight is on you, I guess- within reason- you do need to put on a bit of a show. Nothing fake, no lies. But you need to realize that what you say is never a tossed aside flip comment. Whatever you say lives on.

So new leaf time for Jaffe, folks.

I'll never lie and never sell you bullshit. Ever. I just don't want to be a part of that. But I will hold my tounge more often than I used to and I will think before I speak/type. And not because I want to come across as a likable guy. But because it's the right thing to do. And because I LIKE gamers and even if they don't like the games I make, I want most of them to like me. Because we are brothers in our geekdom, I feel. We all love games and comics and movies and we should all be getting along alot better than we do and saving our real hatred for those folks that really deserve it: the jocks.

I'm kidding! Jeeze, I'm kidding!

Ok, back to work!

See ya!


ps. and if you happen to be someone reading this who works for a gaming web site, please for the love of God, do NOT make this into a news story. I mean, it's your job so if you think it's news, go ahead. I guess that's part of it too. For some reason, some sites out there insist on turning 80% of my posts into news stories. And I guess I need to be ok with that as well and know that this is always a possibility.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Hey guys...just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in!

Here's context:

Ok, so this hits on Joystiq today:


It's basically a summary from an article I did with N'gai, the longtime tech reporter (and all around nice guy) from Newsweek. I really appreciate they failed to put a link to the actual article on their site. At least I think they did, I may have missed it.

Either way:

...here's the ACTUAL article, not an out of context rehash of it:http://ncroal.talk.newsweek.com/default.asp?item=243757

And here is my response to the whole thing, if you care about such things:

Wow...I just can't win. But that's cool. I can appreciate how I may have come off as an ass, especially in this somewhat out of context verson of what I actually said to N'gai (and what N'gai actually printed)....for what it's worth (and you can see proof of this by clicking the link to the newsweek site), the gist of it was:

I think BIG epic games (besides mentioning GOW, I also mentioned FALL OF MAN, GT, and one other one) are LIKE Operas (story; music; spectacle; special fx;etc) COMPARED to these smaller games for XBOX LIVE and SONY PS3...to me, the smaller games are LIKE pop songs. And then I explained that there are great pop songs and there are shit pop songs. The great pop songs are from bands like THE BEATLES and ROLLING STONES and the shit ones tend to come from folks like Ashlee Simpson. I then made a CORRECT comparison saying XBOX LIVE ARCADE (which- by the way- I said I LOVED) was more like an oldies station. And it is...I pay my cash/year for the service, I deserve the right to have an opinion. And my opinion is that the VAST majority of games on the service are OLDIES, classics from the arcade days long gone by. Doesn't make them bad but they ARE OLDIES. And I was explaining how Sony downloadable games are putting the focus on NEW games AND older games.

I DID kinda take a jab at some of the newer games on XBLA and say they are like ASHLEE SIMPSON. That was just me mouthing off and cracking a joke and not realizing how shitty and petty it sounded until I saw it in print. I dig castle crashers (and I've played it as we had an early version in the office); I LOVE UNO; and GEO WARS is one of the best games of last year. So yeah, sorry to those folks on those teams who took offense. But my oldie comment still stands as so many of the games we get on Wednesdays tend to be old games. Hard to say that is not true.

And no, I don't think my games are as good as the Beatles, I don't think GOD OF WAR is perfect (I said that in the N'gai interview), and I don't think I'm the shit. I am just a guy doing the best work he can who has enough of a self-esteem to feel that my opinion is worth expressing when asked for it.

So there you go. Hope that helps some of you rational folks get a sense of where I'm coming from. If not, I guess we will never see eye to eye. Please continue to hate me. At least we gave it a shot.

For you irrational folks who are just a bunch of asses, I invite you to go down to the nearest corner and fuck yourself.



Monday, October 23, 2006


I always love seeing concept art from the old ATARI games. They were such simple titles that the designs were usually 2-5 page pamphlets with little sketches on them vs. full blow design docs. And sure enough, as we began the work for CRIMINAL CRACKDOWN, we found ourselves working in the same way. Here's some work from one of our AMAZING concept artists on the game, John Wu.

I LOVE this image and want to have the whole team sign it when the game is done; have it framed and hung in my office. I think it's so cool.

So the press for the game has been really, really good so far. There have been some folks who are like: what the hell is Jaffe doing?!?! THIS is his follow up to GOD OF WAR!?!?!

But I've been thinking about it and the best way to try to explain it to folks is that sometimes movie actors take a break from making the big epic summer tent pole films and instead do an off Broadway show. They do it to get back to the pure aspects of the craft of acting; to get away from many of the elements of movie making that have little-to-nothing to do with the thing they love the most (i.e. acting). I think this is similar in many ways. I wanted to do this game (and games like it) to speak to the pure designer in me (while also giving players a great time for their money). And some folks get it; but a handful of them don't. And that's too bad and I hope they come around and at least give our game a try at the demo level as we are working really hard to make sure they enjoy it.

On that note, I really appreciate the gamers out there who are like: if it's fun, it's fun...I don't care if it's deep and epic or small and shallow...as long as I'm having a good time. And to me, isn't that the whole point?

Here are some other comparisons about the Sony Downloadable Games service I've tossed to the press in the last week...these are ones that stuck with me as being pretty appropo...I know my analogies get me in trouble but I dig them and hope they help explain where I'm coming from. Worst case, you'll get a laugh!

Games like GOD OF WAR and RESISTANCE are our industry's version of the Opera. Games like CRIMINAL CRACKDOWN and BLAST FACTOR are like our pop songs. And there's nothing wrong with pop songs as long as they are GOOD popsongs (i.e. THE ROLLING STONES vs. JESSICA SIMPSON)...

Games like GOD OF WAR are our epic, summer movies whereas games like CRIMINAL CRACKDOWN and/or flOw are our indi films or our HBO ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING.

Games like GOD OF WAR and DEVIL MAY CRY are our 7 course meals; games like CRIMINAL CRACKDOWN and SWIZZLE BLOCKS are like jumping right to the dessert.

So there ya go...I like those analogies and feel they speak much to how I feel about the whole Downloadable Games section of the Playstation Store.

Ok, need to get back to work. Talk to ya'll soon!


Thursday, October 19, 2006


We announced our new game today: Criminal Crackdown for Sony Downloadable Games Service. I am SO SO SO excited about this game; I am having such fun working on it and it's just great to be able to finally show it off a bit.

People have seemed surprised that I've gone from working on these big epics to making these smaller games but I have to tell you, I am so proud of this game and what this game has the potential to become. It's not going to change the world but I really think it has a good shot at being pure fun. Fun in the way that the original NBA JAM was fun, fun like BOMBERMAN, fun like the first few games in the NFL BLITZ series. Will we be as great as those classics? Man,I wish. BUT that is what we are striving for. Wish us luck!

So here's a link to a clip that explains the game pretty well...It was a shot for me to pitch the title to Sony execs at Tokyo Game Show. I didn't make it and my boss' boss had the idea for me to do this. And me, always looking to be a ham, jumped at the chance to make an ass of myself!


Pleaseforgive the grain, but the actual game runs 1080p at 60fps...the final game is very nice looking....and I have to say, this video- because of the resolution- just doesn't do it justice!

Goodnight ya'll!