Thursday, January 18, 2007


Gonna try an odd and one of the designers on GOD OF WAR 1 and 2 just got off chatting on the IM....He was in Santa Monica waiting on GOD OF WAR 2 to finish building and I was in San Diego answering we had a good chat, I thought....and I thought it was a good conversation on game theory and thought I'd post the IM versus one day deciding to write a post about how I feel about games and then having to retype it all and try to make it sound all smart and stuff :)

So, this may be hard to follow (spaces are-naturally a break in speaker and the other designer- whom I will not ID- started talking first)....but anyway, what the hell, thought it might interest someone....or not!

See ya'll!


8:15 PM
9:20 PM
sup dude?

nothin much
just waiting for a build
how u doing?

cool; not bad. Just saw you had written.


i was just seeing if u had time to chat. You at work?

not much but about 5-10 min....what up?
Nah, at home.
Benefit of working on a smaller game is you only work late- most weeks- 1-2 nites/week!

yeah i heard
that must be nice
getting over early would be like a mini vacation
so do you like working on the smaller games now a lot more?

oh HELL yes!

well i guess since your able to get off so early

Not just that; not even MAINLY that.


Alot of it is that it's just new; a new space, a new kind of game, a new kind of that really is is always exciting.

yeah i hear you on that

it nice to think of ideas in a new mental design space
beyond that, smaller games are what I play 90% of the time these days. So I love being able to make something that I want to play. GOD OF WAR 1 was a game like the games I was playing when I was working on it...NOW
with 2 kids, a wife,'s really hard to make the HOURS needed to play big games. But I still love I find myself playing smaller, casual and arcade games...SO I guess it makes sense I would want ot make those too! Plus, on top of ALL THAT the production process is SO MUCH NICER (a year ago I had NO IDEA what CALLING ALL CARS! was...not it's coming out in a month!)....12 core man team vs. cut scenes or story shit to deal with....audience expects FUN not perfection....good times dude! I just hope there is a fucking market$ for this shit I'm working on

yeah, but there has been a lot of sucess on the xbox live marketplace
so i think there is room for both types of games

Well not ALOT of success...about 3 games have done AMAZING, and the rest have died. But I'm willing to take the risk...cause I have not had this much fun in my work...probably since old TWISTED METAL 1 and 2!

when i play now its still either a quick game of multiplayer, arcade style, or i block out time to play zelda

You are still young And that is great!


I hope when I get OLDER I can go back to the Zeldas for more than 1-2 hours...but right now, just not doable.

yeah...and i can imagine myself with a family and wanting to spend time with them and not games non stop
or i guess you could just not sleep...hehehe

yeah I mean, that's life right? It's good stuff. You just got to balance and to be fair- fair to yourself and your family-however at this point i dont have to worry about that aspect

I have- like you- worked on a game that was about as good as it could get...if GOW had not turned out so well I would prob. still be struggling to make THE DREAM I'm lucky I got to work on it and it's out of my system!

yeah, thats so awesome...i still got all these ideas in my head and would love if i could even make 1 of the games

I am sure you will get to if that is your goal.

so when you have a game idea, how do you begin to boil it down?
like, do think of the game as this kinda idea or like a more systematic approach? or does it depend on the game?

well I usually start with theme...which is I guess bad...vs. starting with mechanics. These days I start more with mechanics.
I am thinking more mechanics as I do the smaller games...the bigger games I start with the story/settling and then try to shoehorn the play into it!

right...i saw you do that with god of war, and calling all cars is more about the mechanic of driving and chase. i was listening to the clify b gdc talk and he was talking about games as little loop or algorithms

yes and the game I wanna do after that- since it is small- start with the mechanic. You can start where you like, as long as you don't neglect the play.

and then i was reading the chirs crawford book and he tries to define all these laws

Cliffy talks design a hell of a lot better than I do. I like what he says but I'm not as articulate about design as he is...I can talk design but it doesn't come as natural...I am more of a gut guy...

yeah, your style is much more about "feel" and OMIT here is very technical


it just interesting to see how everyone else designs and how they formulate ideas in their head

technical bores the SHIT out of me. That is why OMIT and I always butted heads...he is very technical...

right...but for me i also like figuring out how it works, like what mechanics can i throw in to make this idea or image into something fun,but sometimes combining the 2 is the real i was just curious of how you kinda see it in your head

it is....and it's why I still don't know if I feel story and gameplay mix all that does not need story....and the PRODUCT may benefit SOME FOLKS who are hard core from story...but the VAST MAJORITY of folks just want fun....see NINTENDO and the emerging PC CASUAL GAMES market for proof.


would love to get you to play a rev of calling all cars when I am in the Santa Monica office next week.

i was thinking like what if there is a story game and for the mass market just make almost like a interactive movie where you can hit buttons like a mini game but i dont know if that would work either
it would BUT- and this is just my if my mom would enjoy that BUT however i was talking to OMIT and she just likes playing and beating the game when she has 10 x damage on and she still enjoys it and almost would rather play it that way, b/c there are still the parts that she likes without being too hard and she can get the story

I think it's a very small group that wants story and play to merge right now...I think most average people who don't consider themselves hard core are not looking for story or theme or emotion beyond the normal emotions games have always given (competition; tension; anger; comradere;etc)...I was playing SCRABBLE with the wife and dad-in-law over the break and we had a blast and no one was like: ya know what this Scrabble game needs? A STORY!

lol...right, but that game is based upon the pure mechanic and social interaction
which a lot of wii kinda style games are going for
my whole family loved playing the wii sports
and never b4 had we all sat around and played a game

right and that is what I mean...I THINK, in the same way people go to movies for stories and to have certain buttons pushed (sadness, thrills,etc). they play games to have other buttons pushed (tension, competition, social networking,etc).

but is the reason people dont want story, is b/c they haven't experienced a good 1, or for the mass market the controls on the hardercore mechanics get in the way of letting the story shine through

This is my long way of saying that I've pretty much stepped away from wanting to do story least as my CORE focus...but that is just me! Still love them, just not sure how much farther I can go with it.


I think the reason they have not experienced a good one is that games may not be the best vehicle to deliver one. Games- as games, not just video- have been around for over 4000 years since they invented Parchesi in all that time, can you think of a game that has told a story or made people emotional LIKE a story?

like maybe this medium or the current approach isnt going to work for the kinda story that will really make you feel emitions that arent so survival based (ie: fear)

yeah...people have always played games
1 day at usc ray bradbury was there and i asked him what he though about video games
he told me that man will always have their games, and then signed my book

right...and after GOD OF WAR- where I put all I had into trying to crack the nut of story and game- I have come to the personal realization that - for me- all the work we put into it resulted in a story that was maybe 1/20th as powerful as an average tv drama...Loves the Bradbury!

however i though ico was very powerful
but maybe im just gone of those small % of people looking or can appricate the story
but how that guy tells stories is interesting, b/c he leave a lot untold
and lets you kinda fill in the blanks of what is happening, rather than force feeding you everything
i guess its kinda like the sims too
people want to create their own stories

Yes this is true and ICO works as a whole, satisfying experience so I can see potential there. But so much of what made ICO work for me was NOT the interactive but the art and sound design and visual added to the experience but it was the periphery elements making you feel, not the gmaeplay.
And to me, until the CORE of what games are- INTERACTIVITY- are the things that are the story telling tools, it will always feel like we're just missing the target.

right, the entire package is very cohesive and doesn't ever take you really out, but the puzzles and combat arent the best
and maybe thats why the game didnt do so well
that why i still love multiplayer games
b/c its all about the interactivity
and not just against a machine, but with your friends
it creates that virtual social factor of you and your family playing scrable

The MOST fun I've had in the last 6 months with a game was UNO on XBLA...played it for like 3 hours a few weeks ago...

thats why i would like to see games explore a lot more of the co op or multiplayer experience
and create mechanics that really play upon these natural tendencies people have
yeah, uno is a blast
especially with the camera

see THAT would be a cool game!
Hey, gotta run!
Good chatting with you...I will talk with you later...



later, yeah you too!

would you mind if I cut and pasted this and posted it to my blog? Good conversation about game theory! And I won't have to retype it all!
I will ID you as a designer on GOD OF WAR 1 and 2?
Or no?

i dont really care

Great! Thanks!

i love talking about design, game theory, and the human mind
thats what design is all about!

me too!
Chat with you later dude!

later man

let me know when the playtest is

love me to see the game

I will! See ya!

And there ya have it! Hope you could keep up and it was as interesting for you guys as it was for me :)

If not...sorry!

See ya'll soon!



acousticvan said...

good read, Dave.

PlayStation Museum said...

That was very interesting. I find it entertaining reading two video game creators philosophizing about games.

Dave (Da Criminal), for Calling All Cars!, do you create a design document that identifies the storyline, characters, levels, ...etc? I ask that because recently the museum was donated a shoot'em up (soon to be featured) that included the original 172 page design document. As a gamer, I never realized that so much effort was put into designing a game. 172 page design document for a simple overhead shooter (that was never released)?? I suppose I'm asking if this is standard to create a design document as well as conceptual art or does it depend on the studio? And will 'simpler' games like Calling All Cars! not require design documents?

Anyhow, I suppose when you get older like you myself, you start to become a video game philosopher. Speaking for myself, I mainly enjoy games where I don't have to read a storyline and sit through unskippable cut scenes. My available time is short and I like to just pick up a game and start playing without thinking. That's a big reason why I like shoot'em ups and action/platform games.

da criminal said...

playstation museum, I can only assume you got your hands on a DARK GUNS design doc...did you?!?! Oh my god, how funny! I wonder which version you got cause there were TWO was an on foot design doc, one was a ufo doc! So funny...and yeah, it's a long story about how stupid and inexperienced and insecure I was that I wrote a doc that long for ANY kind of game, let alone a fucking shooter! These days my design docs tend to be around 8-15 pages tops! :)

Where did you get the doc? I am glad you have it but wow, didn't know anyone would even still have one :)

Arnaldo Licea said...

Awesome chat. I believe that there can be more than one type of game, that's why our industry kicks so much ass. You can have the gamey games like Calling All Cars! and Wii Sports where its all about fun and the social aspects (like playing a board game with your family or friends).

Then there's the more cinematic games where gameplay is still important but presentation, story and character are more important to keep the player in the game. But the thing with these games is that most designer don't know how to juggle well the gameplay and the story and mostly focus on the story. That's why you sometimes play the same rooms with the same fights and then a cut-scene to move the story. And then the cut-scenes do no reflect the gameplay aspect in some way and if feels like cut-scenes take place in parallel worlds because they don't relate with what you play, or don't look the same.

And I know what you guys say about not having time anymore. I'm 20 yeas old and I never have time to sit and play a good long game like Zelda or FFXII because of school, work and portfolio development. Yeah sometime I have those pockets of time where I stay up late to play but those are quickly becoming rare occasions.


thecapps said...

The video that you posted in the previous entry has me really excited for . I will be buying it the day it comes out. This is going to be in 1080p and you're aiming for 60 fps, right? If so, should look really nice on my tv. Last question is, are you planning on using any of the tilt features of the PS3 controller?

Been playing some Marvel: Ultimate Alliance lately on my PS3 and some of the boss battles with the tilt features being used like in Resident Evil 4 and God of War are pretty interesting. Basically where instead of pressing X or square you jerk the controller a certain way. It makes it more exciting to have to jerk the controller in different directions versus just pressing a button. The concept is cool and would be better in the game if it was able to recognize the movements better. The game is pretty entertaining, by the way.

NO FEAR said...

That was awsome! Thank you for sharing that.

I have to say after reading that I'm definetly in your camp. I love to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon with a 3-4 hour game session and bust through 1/3 of a game, and my 3-4 hour Friday nights with my Clan online.

It is as much a social situation as it is a gaming one, and it keeps me out of bars which helps the family and my budget.

Week nights I'm sometimes too burned out from a long day to get all jacked up and I don't have 3 hours to commit to an online war with my clan, the online aspect is cool but with timezone as an issue I just can't stay up till 1 am on a week night to play with west coast friends.

So I like to just jump in and do some hour or half hour spurts. If there were more online casual games with the same type of playstyle as the bigger more involved games (ie just as fun but without 11 games of 5 minute rounds)than I'm all over it.

Eric said...

Thanks for that post. I enjoyed it. I reveals a lot about you as a designer.

But CliffyB as more well-spoken? Come on! Did you read what he said about Guns touching the environment? and how designing games based on talking is "hard"? I don't think he's played Okami...or he's being very Western in his thoughts. I feel that you're much more pithy and pointed when you talk about design as opposed to CliffyB.

Firen said...

Very thought provoking. I hope with your realization of how great XBL is you could influence Sony to create a more community friendly Playstation Network. Right now, it irritates me to be in a game of Resistance and have something messaged to me. The only way I can read it is if I QUIT the game. This conversation lead me to believe you understand the state the industry is in, you understand what steps need to be taken to improve the situation and hopefully games like Call All Cars can strengthen PSN.

Anonymous said...

please STOP using ALL CAPS all the TIME. it makes it SO HARD to READ. Only hollywood SCRIPT writers write the way you RAMBLE.

Anonymous said...


Dave that was pretty thought provoking, game developers do need to make smaller games just for fun.

I mean I don't have all the time in the world to play big games as much as I used to anymore.

I just started playing FLOW on the net and that game is simple and and to play it'll be a great addition to the PNP network. Anyways I can't wait to play Calling all cars when it comes out.

Anonymous said...


"I just started playing FLOW on the net, that game is simple and fun to play it'll be a great addition to the PNP network. Anyways I can't wait to play Calling all cars when it comes out."

I just needed to correct what I said.

Anonymous said...

being a game designer sounds like fun. I wonder how the concept for Calling All Cars came up. Could you go over that in your Blog?

I dont need a story in my games but I like some kind of progression.
I personally think the arena sports games are sooooooo played out. It's always the same CTF style formula and there are enough games that already do this really well.

PlayStation Museum said...

Da criminal,

I didn't get the docs to Dark Guns, but I would have loved to see it as well as the game. Sorry to get you excited! Maybe someday I will see the docs and actually play Dark Guns. Shannon Studstill may be getting a call from me. I have yet to see screenshots of that game anywhere.

The game I received the docs and various alpha builds was Payback (aka Violent Seed). I will be posting movies of it very soon.

I also got ahold of another shootem'up (not Dark Guns) that was completed but SCEA rejected it because it wasn't up to certain quality standards (this is what I was told by anonymous sources not affiliated with SCEA). The game was really kick ass too. It was a hit on the PC and at the arcades.

tapion440 said...

Jaffe, any thoughts on the game Spore? I really didn't think too much of it until I saw this video:

I really enjoy listening to Will Wright speak and am now completely blown away by how far his team is taking the whole "evolution" concept.

Spencer Wasden said...

“...and after GOD OF WAR- where I put all I had into trying to crack the nut of story and game- I have come to the personal realization that - for me- all the work we put into it resulted in a story that was maybe 1/20th as powerful as an average tv drama...”

For me...God of war came pretty close to cracking the nut. But after playing it a few months ago I realized why emotional stories don’t work well in games.

One Prime example is: Spoiler Alert!

Kratos fighting himself at the end of the game.

You had me man, I was feeling some complex emotions there...when I learned I could revive my wife and child while fighting off my own demons –who were ME! - I felt something. (Notice I keep writing “I” because I was Kratos -sounds lame, but it’s true when you really get into a great game.)

BUT! Those emotions were quickly stripped away as I “DIED”. Death is why games can’t create emotional stories. And when thinking about it 99% of games use this design as a risk/reward...

Slowly, but surely after each time I died I slowly started hating this Battle of Kratos. I just got to the point were I appreciated it, but instead of beating this part with the initial emotions I had I left with anger and frustration. It’s like watching a powerful moment in a film, but then all of a sudden the video glitches backwards and plays the same scene over.

After the second time of watching the same scene in a row it loses its magic. Narrative Games are “currently” created to have these repeating scenes and therefore will never have the –true- story magic.

NO FEAR said...

I just saw the 1up interview, like I said in the post before "there's not a lot of Sony love from that camp" But like I hoped and wished for you blew them away.

Let me toss out a film analogy of 2 gun man meeting in the street at high noon. After a Bang and a cloud of smoke there is DJ blowing the last draws of smoke from his twin six shooters and gives them a twurl as he holsters them.

Kudos to 1up for being honest and not editing some tuche moments from the interview. It's funny at the end of the regular 1up weely they coment on liking CAC and how you threw their own crap back at them.

Friggen nice man!

I have 1 issue with the sounds in the CAC video. Please for the love of god put in seperate volume controls for the sound effects. Too many repetetive sound effects can be fucking anoying.

"Boing" "Crash" "Whurr", "Boing" "Crash" "Whurr", "Boing" "Crash" "Whurr"

That would rake on my nerves and kill some of the fun factor. I know it's a matter of personal taste but with me having the ability to tone down that 1 aspect of the game would make a huge difference.

Laquer said...

Great post sorry i could get threw it all sorry... anyways i wouldnt mind a moviwe type ish game

LJ said...

A bit tough to follow who was speaking at some parts, but definitely an interesting debate. I still think that games as a story telling medium are viable. I just think the Japanese currently do it better than us. Somehow they are wired to make games like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. We're just a little behind the curve over here. I'm still waiting for an American game to make me cry. But hey, I'm still working to become a developer to tell stories. So, I think it's definitely viable. Just going to take a lot of work.

ortholomeux said...

1st of all...all of this makes 100% sense.

2nd of all: you guys need to realize that we aren't making god of war whatever here...this is completely the opposite and you can't expect dave or anyone to just roll over and keep making the same game.

let us grow a little and sample our new wares...we promise they will be fun. in the meantime, chill the fuck out and let us do something godammned different, mmmkkaaayy?

BPK said...

That was a very interesting read. Videogames are often stereotyped as mindless but there is a lot of thought that goes into them. I share the sentiment that a game's graphics need not be mindblowing for it to be enjoyable. IN fact, I'm having as much with gripshift as I am with Resistance (no lie).

Spencer Wasden said...

Wow...this may be a joke, but you never know with the internet. Either way it’s pretty lame.

“you guys need to realize that we aren't making god of war whatever here”

Ummm...who in the above posts said, “Man, Calling all Cars is just like God of War...”

“you can't expect dave or anyone to just roll over and keep making the same game.”

Ummm…who in the above posts said, “ really need to drop this PSN shit and make real games.” If anything the majority of the peeps who post here have nothing BUT support for CAC/DL games and David!

“chill the fuck out and let us do something godammned different, mmmkkaaayy?”

You forgot one...

3rd of all: -IF- fans wanted Orth’s opinion you would be the one doing 1up/Gametrailers/etc. interviews...mmmkkaaayy???

Christopher said...

Good post. I enjoyed it because I am lead programmer at a small company and I like to see how other designers and directors think compared to my boss. When you posted that excel sheet not too long ago it reminded me of tasks my boss lays out for us.

PSFanboy said...

Hey Mr. Jaffe, I'm sorry this comment isn't about your post but I just wanted to say that you sir are a God of War! It was so refreshing to watch you in the 1up interview. Coming back at Luke's condescending BS with a swift kick to the balls, one after the other. Not even a kick so much, it was more like you ripped his balls off, threw them into the air, pulled out your flaming swords of spirally death, and obliterated any trace of Luke's masculinity. God knows Luke needed it! For that single great feat, I will purchase your PSstore title "Calling All Cars". Thank you and keep up the great work.

Jack V. said...

Interesting, though I prefered your 1up interview. More on that, later, though.
I see your point about not having time to play video games - something I fear upon finally leaving school - but I honestly cannot bring myself to agree with you when you say games aren't meant to tell stories. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, MAN?
Okay, I'm sure a lot of people just tend to look for gameplay. That's fine, and it is incredibly integral to my experience also. But when a game has a story that is completely worth telling, then you can't help but enjoy it all the more.
...but that may be because I do a lot of writing in my spare time, and like my stories.

About the 1UP thing. You give some good freaking interviews, I'll give you that. I definitely envy the guys you work with, because you seem like a nice guy. Even when drunk at the playboy mansion...
Personally, I'd have wanted to hit the 1UP interviewer. He had such a way of asking questions that felt...well...unfriendly. You owned that interview, though. Congrats to your level of charisma!

Nomad said...

Well Dave I'm glad for your new direction in the game industry most game developers don't look like their happy in their interviews, they look stressed out and tired from all that hard work.

patient0 said...

It's interesting to read this, especially from a developer who has worked on both epic and casual games. My main concern as a gamer who favors more epic experiences is that as you mentioned, Nintendo and the rest of the casual gaming market are seeing a lot of success right now. I worry this will shift too many developing/publishing resources to that space. We all know what happens when any company, game publishers included, see dollar signs. Casual games have their place, and can be fun once in a while. However, I like to put my limited time (I'm older, though do not have children) into meaningful games, rather than brief, shallow experiences which do not hold my interest.

I wish you luck with CAC, and I fully intend to at least try the demo myself. I respect the desire to work on something different, but don't forget that there is still an audience for bigger games.

da criminal said...


I think you can make epics without stories...simulations where you create the story via play seem to be going in this direction and can be very satisfying.

And heck, I still enjoy story based games when I have the time to play them...I just don't have the time that often.

That said, I think story games require a suspension of disbeleif on the part of the player that goes WAY beyond that of a movie or even a play. My own experiences palying story games suggest that you really have to give the game alot of leeway and kind of view/play it with your eyes half closed and brain half focused in order to REALLY buy into the fact that you are living a story vs. playing a game that is- from time to time- interrupted by story telling (no matter how great that story may be).

But that's just me.


patient0 said...


For me it actually goes something like Plays > Games > Movies as far as suspension of disbelief potential. I'm not entirely sure why, I'm just notoriously bad with movies. It's not that I don't appreciate them, I just tend to make comments during them because of my lack of disbelief. To use your line there though, that's just me.

Anyway, the idea of an epic without a story kind of intrigues me. In most of my game playing experience, deep games have generally had a story to move them along. Are there any examples of games either released or in development you can think of that use that idea? I'm having trouble visualizing it. That does potentially sound like the sort of thing that could interest me though.

Arnaldo Licea said...

An epic without a story? How can that be? You'd really need a story for something like that. And even if you don't have dialog or narration, the visuals would still tell a story (kinda like a painting or a photograph). So how do you think an epic without a story would work?

Yeah, suspension of disbelief is pretty hard to pull off on games because you're constantly cutting from section to section with load times of cut-scenes but I think it can all come down to presentation and how you develop the characters and the story by transitioning properly from gameplay to story segments (that can be tied together in a way).


ortholomeux said...

spencer wasden said:

"3rd of all: -IF- fans wanted Orth’s opinion you would be the one doing 1up/Gametrailers/etc. interviews...mmmkkaaayy???"

exactly. i have no interest in being interviewed about opinions etc. regarding our industry. i want to make great games. so occasionally i'll post my opinion on an internet blog (like you often do here) and pretty much leave it at that.

there does however, seem to be a general theme on this blog about dave just getting back to making god of war games...and maybe he will, but the point i'm trying to make here is:

nobody wants to eat cereal every morning. sometimes you want eggs....and after you eat some eggs for a while...maybe you move onto protien shakes or go back to cereal.

variety. spice of life, and in this case, it works in your favor since the meals are being served up by a chef you dig...dig?

i have to get back to making games...

Known Aim said...

I completely agree that story is over rated. I think that big budget game companies have perhaps encouraged stories more than anything else, as they seem to be trying to run the gaming industry like hollywood... is this the case?

I think that as playerss we develop our own experiences of the games... I dont remember any of the characters names or plotline in diablo (other than that you kill a devil type character), but I can remember hanging out at my freinds house playing it into the wee hours of the night...

I think character development is so much more important than story because people can develop either like or dislike for characters very quickly... having a variety of characters that players can associate with is key.

Also... I was watched an interview and read some of your blog today (and will continue to do so) and all of the talk of calling all cars got me thinking about PS3...

I currently have a PC and an XBOX 360 and have been trying (like you said you were in the video) to get a Wii (did you get one?) and havent really considered the PS3. Both the 360 and Nintendo have exclusive titles that make their console appealing... and calling all cars is really the first game that has made the same true for PS3.. (Resistance didnt really do it for me). This makes for an interesting predicament that Im sure more people are asking than you would think... does the 10 or 20$ game warrant the purchase of the 600$ gaming system? Im a university student and dont have an HDTV in my household... or my near future... and it just feels kind of silly purchasing such a powerfull piece of hardware for a game that could easily run on a PS2... or even some of the more advanced cell phones (I could be wrong on this). Anyhow... I think Ive been long winded enough here... Ill keep checking the blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about that "Known Aim" so far I don't really have enough interest in these consoles right now I'm 24 and in college right now.

I have enough money to buy all three consoles but I haven't been pumped to play a new game in a long time since 2006 and exclusives or having more games doesn't do anything for me, I only buy 3,4 or 5 games a year depending on if it's an original title or killer app.

Hopefully 2007 will be an better year for gaming for me, Calling all cars looks pretty great, I'm not insulting game developers or anything like that because I've been gaming since the 80's and I enjoy playing games but I hope to god video games don't become like tv or movies.

Spencer Wasden said...


Maybe I missed the boat on this “Jaffe make Epic/GOW games” theme you’re talking about. Yes, the words God of War and Epic are being tossed around quite a bit, but I don’t see it as asking Dave to quit where his heart/gut is. But as I said before I have only really noticed support for CAC on this blog. That’s why I couldn’t comprehend why you would come in and smack down potential CAC consumers with (what I felt) was an out of place rant. And I personally responded to it because I genuinely think you’re a cool guy from what I’ve gathered from reading your blog. And for the’re still my hero.

But again...maybe I missed the boat because it wouldn’t be the first time. Either way -yes- you make games and I don’t so please for the love of God make great ones!


P.s. please update your gaming section more often please. :)

the7daytheory said...

I'm new to this blog and I'm not sure if this is the appropriate location to post this, but I just wanted to say thank you David. Just for being who you are.

Your honesty and intelligence is greatly appreciated.

NO FEAR said...

IMO GOW was about as good of a story as you can get in an action game, and it's about as good as I want it to get. Any more story and your pulling me away from my personal involvment.

That said, I'm still into epic games I just don't always have time for some. I think there is plenty of room for "casual" games for the PS3 that Nintendo can't touch. Just because I want fast pick up and play games doesn't mean I want to skimp on the Physics, and Graphics.

Anonymous said...

Too much chaffe. Can't you boil this down?

Anonymous said...

Dave have you seen the clips for "300" that movie looks and feels like God of war, if your still interested in doing the God of war movie you should get Zack Snyder to direct it.

And Gerard Butler is perfect for Kratos that guy does an perfect job as King Leonidas. Well these are just suggestions not trying to tell you what to do seeing how your comfortable in your new position.

Here's a clip:

NO FEAR said...

Not that 300 looks bad, I want to see it but, that scar that crosses his eye...where do you think they though that up....hmmmmm Must have been a common wound back then for those battling supernatural beings.

invading_space said...

I was wondering if we will see fully realized games (graphically) on the PSN network (Warhawk being rumored)? I firmly believe there are certain stories (i.e. myths and legends) that would work extremly well as smaller downloadable games due to their nature.

Matt Dickinson said...

I think video games can't tell detailed stories. I think that, if they're an art form, it's better to compare them to music, dance and painting. Dance, because 1-player games, especially those before the 32-bit era, required memorization and learning the layout of levels and enemy patterns, which might be loosely, abstractly compared to learning dance steps and keeping in time with the music (with the notes here being the almost-rythmic timing of the ninjas jumping out of trees which you have to avoid or meet with an attack, each swarm coming at you in the same spot of the same level every time you play). Well, that might be a kind of hair-brained comparison. But with stories and games, and I haven't played hardly any PS2-era games, but I'm big on 16-bit and earlier, and the best games I think only offer only a scenario or a simple quest (save the princess, escape from the dungeon), and leave the rest to music, sound effects and in-game art (the subtle, pixel-based kind being among the best). If they have a story, it's a hero myth. It's not a detailed examination of the lives of a stock broker or what life was like back in the Jim Crow era laws, or whatever, it's just something like "An evil force has arisen, and you are the lone savior who must rise up and defeat him." I mean as a kid, U would skip the story-parts at the beginning of games because when renting NES games, you often didn't get the instruction manual, but then it didn't really matter as far as the game was concerned, either. I know there's always been text adventures, and some of them have good writing, but every time you have the player read, listen or watch a story, you're keeping him from playing a game. The actual interaction element is temporarily suspended (sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly). You can't actually wholly interact with a story and expect it to remain a story! The reason for this is because stories have to be linear, they have to be from A to B, and they have to take place in the past. Movies and TV seem to tell things in the present tense (like games), but virtually all traditional storytelling (or even just anecdote-telling among friends) is done in the past tense, and usually the DISTANT past tense (even time travel stories still obey the same, intuitive grammar). I mean with Zelda you're supposed to be playing an adventure in the mythic past, right? But the crux of the problem rests on the fact that if you're able to change the ending, or the path that the character takes, you're telling MULTIPLE stories. Because a story only has one ending (there is only one past), and if it's a good story, you know the ending is essential to understanding what's going on, and deriving some meaning out of it. I know games can be beautiful, they can have very beautiful craftmenship, and if you play something nice like Ys or Another World, you can be really swept away, EVEN if you're using a savestate and skipping ahead without following the story. Because the art and music/sound is nice enough that you're just swept to someplace different. I mean if video games are gonna try to tell stories, they should at least take their cues more from silent cinema than modern Hollywood, because the kind of stories that are told in silent movies are mostly visual. And there's some great silent films. Just watch Sunrise. But then try putting Sunrise into a Nintendo machine! Ha! Yeah right! Try putting A Man Escaped and Annie Hall into a video game! haha, it won't happen!

invading_space said...

Remeber that story doesn't have to be told aurally or written. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Game designers need to creatively work story not just in the cut scenes or by dialogue(written form as well for dialogue/narration). The player and how he plays is part of the story, if not the story.

Anonymous said...


Don't worry so much about taking the story out of the games. Bottom line: "If it is fun, people will play it". I have fun at the movies. Always have. Always will. I also have fun playing games. If a great game somehow feels a lot like a movie, more power to it. Does this mean L shaped blocks need a reason to hook up with T shaped blocks in Tetris? NO! But it is certainly not wrong to have games that are heavily story driven either. I know you never said it was "wrong," but seeing as you are talking about the subject quite often, I assume you have something against story-based games.

I don't mean to offend anyone, I am just talking. I can do that quite a bit sometimes.

If it is fun, people will play it.


Dr. Anonymous

P.S. - Awesome work with Calling All Cars!

Joel said...

oh, i cant even begin to explain how much i liked this post.

you two both have some very great ideas and points about videogames.

i know EXACTLY what you mean about story in videogames... in fact, i was in an art college taking Game Art and Design, and i stood up in front of my class, and told them that story based videogames arent the future of games, and that we should focus on the gameplay, because thats the game, the rest is all filler.. seemed to me like everyone was writing movies, and trying to make a game out of it.

stories are not the game. the game is what you do in it. the interaction. and THAT is what we need to spend our time designing. thats how to make a game FUN to play.

i do, however, think that a game can have a story, but like you said, i think it should be part of the gameplay...

..and what was said about online games, and what not, the social aspect, that is so true, the act of playing with someone else, and wondering what they are thinking, and hearing them laugh or curse, saying, holy that was SOOO coool..

those are SO important in games, and i love whichever one of you said that we need more CO-OP games.

my first coop experience was TWISTED METAL 2. playing through the story with a buddy, oh my goodness, that was the most fun i'd ever had in a game.

and like i said before, about taking game art and design in school, when we had to come up with game ideas for the game-mod we were making, my idea was for a co-op game, where two players worked together to solve "platformer" style problems... think one player lowers the bridge while the other person runs across it, or other such player interactions. building that story between two players, during gameplay is CRUCIAL to creating an enticing gaming experience, in my opinion.

im keeping my eye on the game coming out soon, entitled, ARMY OF TWO. it looks like it has a lot of those ideas in mind.

in fact, thinking about it, how cool would God of War be with a second player along your side. can you picture the type of co-op tagteam style combos you could do? /orgasms

anyways, thanks for the good read, and i also enjoyed reading many of these comments, especially the one written by Matt Dickinson near the bottom of the page. excellent post.

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