Monday, February 26, 2007


Well, if you can call it a soundtrack!

It's only 4 songs, but hey, the game is only $9.99! What do you want for 10 bucks ya cheap bastards?!?!

Anyway, check it out when you get some time:

We put the first 4 songs of the 5 song soundtrack online.

I totally realize it won't be everyone's cup of tea as it's:

a- a very cartoony game
b- has a bit more TWANG than any other game I've ever worked on.

But this music works GREAT for the game I feel; a great sense of the silly/slapstick/kinetic vibe we are going for.

Hope you enjoy it!

Back to tuning!



Last week, an article ran in the LA Times about the Interactive Arts and Sciences awards ceremony. GOD OF WAR won a shit ton of those great awards last year and they mentioned me in the piece; talked a bit about my experiences with the show.

The gist was that the Academy want(ed) the awards to be serious and important like the Oscars but that maybe we- as an industry- are not really the kinds of folks to appreciate or participate in such an event. As the head of the academy put it, maybe we simply need to be sitting at the kids table and eating ice cream.

Now I like Joseph Olin (head of AIAS) alot; very nice guy who works his ass off to make AIAS the stellar org. that it is. The DICE conference he oversees is the highlight of the year for most of us game makers. His is a thankless job and even so, the man gives it all he's got. I am very proud he represents us.

But I take issue with his 'ice cream/kid's table' statement because it can be read as an implication that the Oscars are BETTER and more NOBLE than our awards; that the people who populate the movie business are more mature than we are.

Bullshit, Joe. They are not more mature; they are just more full of themselves. I LOVE the fact that game makers are real people who don't fall for the bullshit of the Oscars.

Hell, did you SEE the Oscars last night?

Hell, for me, watching yesterday's Oscars was a pretty eye opening experience. I TIVO it these days, watching the red carpet arrivals around 2 hours after the show starts airing. This gives me enough TIVO buffer to skip past commercials, boring dance numbers, speeches from folks that- while I appreciate their accomplishments and contributions- don't really interest me all that much. By the time I'm watching someone get the BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY award, the live show has concluded in real time. Just gotta make sure to stay off the net and not answer the phone during the last hour so the surprises are not spoiled for me.

Not that there are any surprises anymore.

But it's not because there are no twists and turns from time to time (I mean, who the hell saw the best pic for CRASH coming last year?!?)...but there are no genuine surprises because the Oscars get less and less relevant as the years go by. Hard to be surprised by something you don't really care about.

As a movie loving, wanna be director kid, the Oscars were everything to me. Me and my other film loving buddies from Alabama (all 2 of them!) woke up at 5:30am - each and every year- to see the announcment of the nominations; at lunch, we argued over who would win and why; we made sure to see all but the most boring looking flicks that were up for the best picture. It was our Super Bowl and World Series rolled into one. Yep, there we were: awkward as hell movie geeks sitting in the cafeteria bitching (loudly!) about Spielberg getting snubbed for directing THE COLOR PURPLE, while the movie itself was nominated in all the other categories. Well, as you can imagine, we were HITS with the ladies.

So yeah, the Oscars used to mean something to me. But now, while the Oscars are still kind of cool, they are mostly lame and silly and pretentious.

And sure, some of it's because I'm older. But I think most of it is because the veil has been lifted on the 'glamor' and 'glitz' of the lives of these so called beautiful people.

Because of the internet and because of the tabloid shows and mags, the stars are revealed to be just human. Hell, in some cases, they are revealed to be humans with some pretty serious flaws.

And because of the internet and the sites like AINT IT COOL NEWS and BOX OFFICE MOJO; and some revealing behind the scene docs on some of the DVDS, the film making process is no longer all that magical either. It looks like work now, because it is work. Fun work at times, to be sure, but still a job that needs to get done. And a job that serves the corporate masters that now own pretty much every one of the studios and who clearly care much more about the bottom line than the artistic outcome.

So to watch these folks on Oscar cast talk about how IMPORTANT the movies are and, thus, how IMPORTANT they are, is just silly. To watch Jack Nicolson 'holding court' once again, and hear folks from the stage make 'in awe' comments to him as if he were Don Corleone is just embarassing. To watch ANOTHER fucking too-long montage that digs back into the 100 years of CINEMA to show us film clips from movies only kids at USC CINEMA school care about, while some overblown, wanna-be inspirational orchestral score blasts away (or worse, the fucking music from THE NATURAL...what the hell is with that song?!?) all just feels like bullshit. Calculated bullshit. Maybe at a time, it mattered. But now, the magic is gone. Is it just me?

I don't think so, as the viewership for the Oscars is in freefall and has been- give or a take a few special case scenarios- for years.

I think Joe's desire for us to be taken seriously is a good one. We work hard, make great products (at times), we affect the culture in a significant way, and we are NOT jokes; we are not children. We are working adults who care about what we do.

But to try to craft an awards show, or to even DESIRE to craft an awards show BASED on the Oscars, when the Oscars itself (not to mention award shows in general) is a tired old horse that needs to be put out to pasture, is a mistake.

I've bitched for years that game awards need to be done online; done as an MMO weekend like THE BURNING MAN festival, but for games. In a giant virtual world where you can wander the landscape, chatingt with famous game makers who are walking around, go to speeches by these avatars and play new demos of the up comming games and/or play demos of the nominated games; and then go to the main stage and vote in real time for your fave game of the year...and then see how the pubic votes stack up to the academy votes.

This model or not, the idea is that sure, giving out awards to celebrate your biz is the way to go. Why not? It's good for the makers and the consumers. But why are we tailoring it off the dying model that is the Oscars. Heck, even the once hip MTV MOVIE AWARDS is now losing viewers and looking old school.

There is just something old/wrong/dying about award shows. It's a model that just does not work anymore. People are too aware of the process to buy into looking at the creators of the process as anything other than...well, just people.

We need to embrace the very tech that we are celebrating! We need to take our awards online because THAT is where the fans will meet us; that is where the folks will care. That is where people will WANT to see Lord British give a speech upon being inducted into the Academy Hall of Fame; that is where people will WANT to see the game gods walking a red carpet (albeit a virtual one) and get the chance to chat with them in real time.

And hell,if that doesn't work for you, do a real awards show but air the thing on GAMESPOT or IGN or one of the other big game sites. Air it in real time, allow for fans to watch and participate in real time with voting and comments and chatting with the winners,etc...I mean, game fans WOULD want to see Tim Schafer and Ueada and Miyamoto walking the carpet...sure it's not as lucrative as say, airing it on ABC, but hell, it's not lucrative NOW. At least if you put it out there to the fans who care, you could charge for commercial time and make some dough that way AND you'd prob. get a bit more of a mature show as we'd all know we were on camera and would want to do more than sit around and shoot the shit with buddies we have not seen in years in between awards- or even while getting awards-which is what we do now.

So while we are building the virtual awards show, let's start airing the live one on a gaming site. Isn't this a no brainer?!?

I am so honored and glad we got awards for God of War. I recall my first nomination for TWISTED METAL:BLACK level design with much pride. And I would love to think the new downloadable games we are doing will have a place- if we provide great product- at an awards ceremony in the future. I'm down with awards. I think Joe and I see eye to eye on that.

I just think it's time to let go of the past and embrace...hell, to CREATE Awards 2.0.

Who's with me?


ps. yes, yes I know the whole 'pay to be a member/Capcom' issue is still alive and kicking. Please be aware that THAT issue has nothing to do with my views expressed in THIS post. That's a whole other can of worms but for the record, I agree with Joe that dues are a normal part of any academy and there is no reason we should be different. I would support a sliding scale if some pub simply can't afford it but I don't think the fee to join AIAS is THAT it?

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Heading off to LA for a few days for some personal biz (taxes; lawyers;etc). Also, some nice R&R with the wife before the last week of tuning and out last focus group next week.

Sorry updates so sparse as of late; trying to work with Incognito to lock CALLING CALL CARS down and be done!

Will let ya'll know what's up next week!

And check out FLOW AND QBERT! I think they are out today on the Playstation Store!!!

Take it easy ya'll!


Thursday, February 15, 2007


Chatted with Spike Tv's GAMEHEAD host (and all around nice guy) Geoff Keighley yesterday. Promoting GOD OF WAR II for the GAMEHEAD episode Mid March which is ALL about GOD OF WAR!!!

Then we did a bit for the show that airs the NEXT week about CALLING ALL CARS!

I always like talking to Geoff cause I think a) he's a nice guy and b) he does a great job of bringing gaming to a mass audience. He's sort of like the Dick Clark of video games!

So thanks for the time and interest Geoff (along with your crew). I was kind of in tuning hell (still am) when we did the interview so I was sort of dazed and unfocused. Hope you got some good stuff you can use! Looking forward to the show!

Talk to ya'll later!


Look how TINY that camera is!!! Amazing that they can shoot broadcast quality on a tiny ass handheld.


Adam never lets me down!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Just wanted to say hey, been swamped like crazy as we hit the final days of tuning.

As I am typing this, my 3 year old just came into my office and said: I wanna make video games just like you.

Aaaawwwww! Melts the old man's heart :)

Now she just told me not to make anymore games like GOD OF WAR cause they scare her. She walked in as I was playing thru the GOD OF WAR 2 BETA last month. Bad idea...I shut it off asap but she saw a bit of the Barbarian King battle and has not seemed to forget!

Amazing reviews on that game,eh? Congrats to the team in Santa Monica!

Ok, will post more soon, gotta get back to this final tuning.

Have a great nite ya'll!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Back when I first started as a game designer, I assumed that game design docs were like screenplays. You wrote one- usually a meaty fucker coming in at around 200 pages- had it bound all nice and neat, then passed it out to what I assumed would be an eager as hell team who were dying to know what MY vision was! Man, what a fucking joke!

Making games is NOT like that...not at all. And over the years, I've seen my game design docs drop from 200 pages to 5-10 page pamphlets. Sure, if you add up all the additional docs that get written as production rolls on (and other team members have added ideas and mechanics and assets that make YOUR original vision a MUCH IMPROVED TEAM vision, then you prob. surpass the 200 page count). But initial docs, anything beyond 10 pages and you are just writing to hear yourself write...get a fucking blog for that, yeah?

And even with just 10 pages, you still end up changing around 80% of the gameplay once you actually get into the game making process.

So as you examine this, the CALLING ALL CARS design doc/pamphlet, that we wrote some 9 months ago, keep in mind that the game you will play next month (if you are so kind as to give our l'll title a shot),that this doc is NOT the game you will play. A good 50-80% has been changed, cut, or adjusted during the game making process. And hell, reading back over this myself, my knee jerk on some of these ideas (ex: different criminals affect player car in different ways) was: fuck, that's a great idea! Why did we cut that?!?

But there is always a reason...and often times, some of the stuff that reads great on paper does NOT turn out great in execution. Better game designers prob. have a higher paper-to-game ratio, but I ain't one of them (as I keep telling you ass holes who accuse me of being arrogant, even when I fucking TELL you I'm still learning the craft!!!)...

Anyway, so here's the doc...hope you get a kick out of it...











And now, gotta get back to tuning! This thing is almost done!


Monday, February 05, 2007


I have lived in San Diego for a little over 8 months now. I like it here alot. It's great for the family, housing prices are affordable, and there's tons to do.

I still love Los Angeles tho, miss it from time to time and feel the same sense of energy that I've always loved about the place whenever I go back.

But finding places you love in your new city goes a long way towards making a location feel like home. And over the last few weeks, I have finally discovered the first place- outside of my house and little neighborhood- that I can truly say that I love.

It's a combo bookstore/coffe house in Del Mar, California. The bookstore is called The BookWorks and the coffe shop is called PANIKIN (there are a few of these coffe houses around the San Diego area but this is the only one- I gather- connected to a book store). These two stores are connected via a common wall (with an opening) and share the same floor so they really feel like one big store. For all I know they are owned by the same folks; I do not know.

What I do know is that I love being there. Love the creaking wood floors; love watching folks get all cozy as they wrap themselves in blankets (it's been cold as of late!) and play scrabble for hours; love the music they play (kind of smooth jazz or some such stuff).

I love getting a large Carmel Mocha and just sitting with my wife and talking; or just watching and listening to other people. I love reading the paper and checking up on politics and world news. And the best part is when you get tired of relaxing, you can take a break and walk into the book store and just browse. It's clear the booksellers love books. They are very friendly and seem like they would be happy to chat away about books all day long. No pressure to buy and decent seating to just grab a few books and see what books to toss back, which ones to take home

A few days ago I went with the wife and my parents and just sat and talked and laughed...that was a blast.

Anyway, while I was there I took some pictures as I just really like this place. It speaks to my soul. So I wanted to share. Here ya go:

Here's the entrance to the's in an old mall that's been around- or so I am told- since the 60's...

Here's the coffe shop....lotsa cool mugs and neat places to sit.

I LOVE this's like my ideal the place the kid snuck into when running from bullies in THE NEVERENDING STORY.

Coffe Shop and BookStore...linked together for a perfect experience!

I almost bought this seemed really cool as I read thru the first chapter. Did not buy it but I think I will go back this week and get it, as soon as I finish the other book I am reading.

I got the kid's book for my kids (duh) and thought the EB WHITE book was cool as it's pretty much a blog...just his thoughts on all kinds of stuff, sort of rambling but well written (as is the EB WHITE way)...

Man, writing this makes me wish I was at that damn coffe house right now! Maybe I'll swing by this week...