Monday, June 23, 2008



Two things have me very pissed off:

#1- G4...come on guys. What is with this ultra sensationalist headline? I HATE Spiderman games?!? Would you PLEASE show me where in my 2 posts about COMIC BOOK GAMES (not Spiderman games, by the way but hey, good try) that I say I HATE- or even come close to saying I HATE Spiderman games...or hate ANYTHING?!?! What the fuck Patrick Roche-Sowa (author of the article)? Did you go to school for journalism or for tabloid reporting?

Always loved G4, love doing stuff with them. Appreciate the interest and the body of this web article was great. Accurate, fair, all that good stuff. But the headline just sets people off...and that's ok, that is your job. But the problem I have with it is that it's a fucking lie and it's a lie attributed to me....

#2- Always flattering when gaming press feels I've posted something worth putting on their sites via links and stories. I am really grateful for the interest. So thank you, gaming sites. But damn, some of ya'lls readers are just fucking stupid. Have you read your comments section? You guys need to post a reading comprehension test that must be passed before anyone gets into your site. Suddenly I want to take THE POWERS of out superhero games? I want the games to be ALL story and no gameplay? I want to remove all swinging from Spiderman games?!?! Where are the readers getting this shit?!?! Probably from the sensationalistic headlines and not from the actual body's like: fucking READ THE SHIT before you make an ass of yourself and comment, people. What the hell...

Ok, chat later ya'll!


Follow up on the Spidey/Marvel/Superhero game deal...I had a fun discussion last nite about the very issue on neogaf (if you don't go there daily, you are missing out on the best game talk around).

Thought I'd repost some of my comments from there on here given that alot of these neogaf reposts contain stuff I wish I had written in the original post but just kinda didn't...sort of clarifies my stance on the issue, especially for those people who assumed I was simply calling for more cut scenes ( to help with story) in super hero games....

Out in Utah next two days so I may not get a chance to post. If not, chat with you guys Thursday!


ps. To those who have asked, yes I played Ultimate Spiderman and enjoyed aspects of it very much and feel it was one of the best Spidey games ever. Some great moments. That said, it still suffered- to me- from the rinse/repeat syndrome.


POST #1-If you read my post on my blog, you'll see I'm not saying that a super hero game needs a great story told via cut scenes to be good. It's not that I don't want to DO the cool superhero things...I totally do. And it's not like I feel that a dud of a superhero game would be great if the story were great. What I am saying is that I want to take a journey into the Marvel Universe in the same way I step into Solid Snake's universe or Link's universe or the Call of Duty universe. I want to be immersed in an experience, not play a tech demo...which is- to me- what alot of the superhero games end up being.

It's like they do some cool powers, do the window dressing of setting the game in the licensed world, and then have the player tackle 3-4 generic goals and then rinse/repeat. To me, not only is this dull- once the fun of using the powers wears off- but it (and this is the gist of my post on my blog) goes against what makes comics great in the first place.

I agree- for example- the combat video on 1up looked great! In the same way that the Indy Jones combat video Lucasarts showed last year looked cool. But if history serves, I would not be surprised if combat was the crux of both of those games and it's combat combat combat all day long and to me, not only does this get boring, but it doesn't speak to the promise of playing a game set in a comic universe, or Indy's universe.

I hope that makes a bit more sense?


ps. and by the way, I appreciate some of you may not have liked/loved Calling All Cars. But I don't think that limits my right to have an opinion about the industry or game design in general. I mean, when I think back to your last game I think abo-....oh wait, that's right. So Shut the fuck up. :)


POST #2: The license holder is ultimately responsible for the quality of the product they allow to come out into the marketplace. They choose who they work with, they have language- I assume (as most license holders do)- in the contract that says they have to approve milestones and approve the game in general before it comes out,etc.

And as I said in my post, Marvel is making money and so are many of the publishers and devs who work with them. They seem to be doing good business and I don't fault them for that.

But I address them directly because they are- end of the day- the ones responsible for what happens to their licenses. And they should be the ones who care the most. Not saying they are not but if Activision can ship a Marvel game based on a hit Marvel movie using a pre-existing engine/design and a developer can do the same, it is usually in the pub/dev best interest to do so. While everyone benefits from a game that takes chances and succeeds, in this scenario, Marvel would benefit the most because it would increase the value of their brand within the game space.


POST #3: Part of the problem is everyone assumes that story=cut scenes.

Good story in games IS mission design and IS character mechanics. For me, good story in game design for a spidey game would be stuff like:

-Spidey swinging above the city when his powers begin to give out and he has to- on the fly- adjust to slowly losing his powers (one by one, but in the order you- as a player choose- so there is some strategy to which powers you keep the longest before you are drained of them all)- it begins with him battling the Green Goblin as Spidey- with all his Spidey powers- and by the end of the battle, you've lost all your super powers and all you've got is Peter Parker's very limited abilities (which=nothing but his intellect)...but you've still got to figure out how to stop the bad guy (cause, as Peter, you've still got this massive sense of responsibility)....granted, if not tuned right, this could be annoying to play, but for the sake of this discussion, assume it's tuned right. To me, this is a great example of a story scenario that you would see in the comics tied into the gameplay.

-Spidey being forced to deal- thru gameplay- with his ever present 'with great power comes great responsibility' dilemma...again, have not thought this thru play wise but perhaps over time there is some sort of guilt that builds up if Spidey takes the easy way out too often (allows pedestrians get hurt when battling bad guys, doesn't go after some bad guys that are able to be captured but do not need to be caught in order to win the mission,etc). Once the guilt meter is filled up, it begins to affect play or story/mission. Sort of like the fear meter in Eternal Darkness but less surreal and more tied into the actual mission design. A great way for the classic aspect of Spidey's character to come thru via play.

Again- it's very late (can't sleep) and I am not putting these out here to be judged as great play mechanics (I know they need work) but more as an example that- when I say story- I don't mean cut scenes and spoken dialogue but story that affects the core play itself. In essence, mission design and play mechanics taking into account the character and story elements seen- and loved- from the comics.

Good nite ya'll.



POST #4: You are not wrong...BUT this is the same sort of thinking that kept Marvel from making hit movies for years. But eventually they realized: oh wait, if we put passionate directors and writers and actors into our movies, we get MASSIVE hits...from the big guns like Spidey, to more obscure- to general audiences- characters like IRON MAN.

Same thinking- if applied to the games- would yield- I feel- similar results. One need only look at the staggering success of GOLDENEYE to see what happens when a great license is given the time and passion to be turned into a product that can stand alone WITHOUT the license. When that happens- in any medium- you tend to get gold. That scenario- sadly- is all too rare in the game biz.

Which is my main point: I LOVE Marvel comics and want to see them start making games worthy of their amazing history of great products and characters. I want to see them apply their smart logic to making films to their games division.



DBVII said...

Great follow-up post! I completely agree. I've enjoyed the swinging/city exploration of Spider-man 2 on PS2 and even to a lesser degree Spider-man 3 on PS3. That was about the only fun part and, as you say, felt more like a swinging mechanic tech demo. That's how a lot of Marvel's games are....not inherently bad, but something defintely missing. I just wish the developers would figure what was missing before they screw up the Captain America game. That character has SO much potential for an epic story whithin a finely tuned game.

Anonymous said...

Dude I hear you. Marvel is definetly slackin.

Anonymous said...

so you have issues with activision to? Don't forget, this is the company that will beat a horse not just until it's dead, but dead and mushy (the tony hawk franchise). This is the company who's income relies on trotting out the same franchises each and every year (Guitar Hero, CoD, Tony Hawk and Spiderman) and is famous for not listening to what people think about their games. At this point, with your complaint, you're right behind everyone who hates the new Call Of Duty, so just take a number, sit tight and they'll get to some point.

da criminal said...

I have no issues with Activision- I think they run an amazing business. They are smart and should be proud of their accomplishments.

Do I feel they make the kind of superhero games I want to play? Not all that much and I think alot of it is that for them, 'good enough is good enough' is the philosophy they use when deciding when to ship/design a game and it works for them cause gamers gobble it up. They are smart biz folks.

I am just saying- for ME- I would rather more time be spent on these titles and they have more comic book focus.

Anonymous said...

neogaf the best gaming talk? Allow me to LOL.

Try browsing other forums and maybe you'll find places without idiotic gifs, contentless posts full of smileys and fanboyism everywhere, not to mention the typical neogaf user who thinks he's so hardcore for playing console games (while shitting on PC games and "casual" games), even though he knows nothing about the games he talks about.

Hints: somethingawful, evilavatar, shack

erico316 said...

i do agreed with u spider man games had gone down hill.
o and calling all cars ruled i brought the first day its came out
great game.

davis said...

da criminal:

The only problem with games that are based on comic book characters is that often times the stories aren't based on the actual comic canon.

They are the usual "all heroes must unite as it's almost the end of the world again" kind of stories. These stories aren't taken with much regard and are easily forgotten.

But how else can you get all your favorite heroes and villains together?

I think the creators need to take a set canon story, and work around it. Comic book stories are MADE to be video games! Well, not really, but look how cool they work together:

Let's say I'm making a game for the storyline Operation: Zero Tolerance (90's X-Men story):

I'd start off the story with Cyclops, Jean, Storm and Wolverine captured by Bastion and having them try and break out of Bastion's compound-- save Xavier, then have a side-story...

Iceman trying to run from the Prime Sentinels and save Cecilia Reyes. Have Reyes join the cause (make her playable), then recruit Marrow as a playable character.

How about a story that everybody might know? Giant Sized X-Men #1: X-Men getting off Krakoa-- battling living creatures off the island, then finally the boss, Krakoa itself.

xetiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
xetiro said...

Hey David :)

I'm from Portugal.

My dream is to be a game developer, I'm currently studing Computer Sciences on the university.

Has you can imagine you are a big "reference" for me.

So I would like to pick some advices and some answers from you, because I have some doubts about how can I enter on this industry as a game developer.

I will leave my contacts, with the hope that you can contact me some how on your free time, by Messenger or Email.

My messenger:
My email:

Keep the good work.

Rúben aka xetiro

paul simpson said...

these games are almost always games based off the movie version of the comic book. so in that way they are merchandising and very often (apart from a few star wars games) meant to be forgotten after it has served it's purpose as merchandising.

I am wondering what a comic based video game that is completely unprovoked by a movie would be like.

i imagine that the problem with working from licensed material that was also recently adapted to film is that if any game is a product of commitee thinking then this one is a product of 3 committees of thought. i cannot imagine that ever lends itself to any kind of creativity. imagine MGS without the individual vision of hideo kojima.

are there any examples of videogames that were made into a movie that made a good comic book based off the movie.

PM said...

Dude ANON, the gifs at neogaf are awesome.

About the Comic games topic, they have been doing this since super nintendo. did you ever play Spider-man, Maximum Carnage, Batman Returns, X-MEN. If so you would realize that they were basically all the same game just with different backgrounds and sprites. They were all Streets of Rage style beat um up games, almost no story, just walking around the streets and beat up bad guys.

Rey said...

what i want is a game about Psylocke i would pay $60 for a action pack game based on her.

asurastrike said...

The problem with comic book games, is that they aren't giving them to a real developer that can put their own artistic idea into the game. Instead they license the characters out to these mega developers like Activision, Ubisoft or EA and they end up being buggy, formulaic, licensed games.

Rey said...

hay Jaffe what did u think of Alone in the Dark?

what did you think of the driveing part where everything is crubling or falling apart around you? looks like a good idea for a level in Twisted Metal. dont you agree?

Dan said...

Regarding your notes on G4, I hate that network. They used to be dedicated to gaming and electronics, now you'd be hard-pressed to find much other than a COPS marathon, or something about Japan. Perhaps if you're lucky, you might catch X-Play or Attack of the Show. But G4 is trying so hard to be Spike TV, and doing the impossible: failing that goal.

Steerpike said...

Yeah the headline was misdirecting but the picture of you seemingly grabbing the photographer's camera and pulling, what can only be described as, a "I'm gonna fuck you up" expression.

Did you ever play Spiderman on the psone? I personally loved it. It had decent looks, great voice work and loads of Marvel fan service.

The gameplay was also broken up into little, different styled chunks like on foot action parts, web swinging parts and fun boss fights.

Jack said...

Hey David,

Marvel and videogames = CPS2

Its such a high standard to live upto been playing all the old cps2 stuff on PSP and it is just sooo good.

Sega now have the marvel license so i dont expect anything decent to come out for a while.

Saw your post about Disney, you have probably already seen it but in case you haven't get a copy of enchanted. I have no excuses to seeing this film don't have any kids and am getting old. But it really is great and I have recommended it to all.

Hope you are doing well.

davis said...

One of my first posts on this blog was wanting to see Jaffe take on a superhero game.

He's a superhero fan, but has yet to make one. I'd like to see what he can do to this genre.

kurobara said...

hellow david

i am from mexico

x) kratos in soul calibur IV

tmforeverTMA said...

Marvel is going downhill, indeed. Maybe they need to re-spice the series, by putting them in a game involving other superheroes? You know, like DC, Capcom.

P.S. I'm very pissed my name is "tmforevertma." I wanted to capitalize "TMA." Giving off spirit for TMA. My name looks likea fucking three year old made it!

tmforevertma said...

P.P.S. Could a future TM game ever be as big as God of war?

Anonymous said...

will cars go underwater in twisted metal ???

tmforevertma said...

Sorry for posting so much. Well, my friend has Autism, he wants me to put his fanfic of TM on your blog. Here it is, Jaffe.

Twisted Metal Armageddon
Author: Jack Red
The contest is
Twisted Metal it has it's
far shares of winners and
losers but this time some
thing special comes along
that has never been done

Calypso announces
that this year will be
armageddon because i'm
bringing back all the
drivers to the tournament
given them not only the
sole survivor but also
a single wish.

The 12 combatants
are ready to go at it
but Calypso made it clear
that this is going to be
the most we have because
I'm brought 24 more
combatants into the contest
to make things more interesting.

Calypso said, "The
world is still your battle
ground just remember this
time there's no stopping
enjoy while it lasts", A
few moments of silence he
tells them the contest is...

Now said by Calypso,
they are off fighting one
of another like it's no
tomorrow which is very
entertaining for Calypso.

Already alot of the
big towns and cities are being
destroyed with hundred to
thousands to possibly millions
of people killed with the contestments
really raging on.

As it continues things
gone worse already the sky
turned from pale blue to
blood red in secs and even
over seas are no longer safe
as some of the contestments
are over there fighting trying
their best to survive.

Days turned to weeks,
weeks turned to years well
surprising there's rebels
out there with rocket launchers
or bomb to lay on the ground
hoping one of the drivers maybe
be killed by it if that wasn't
enough here's the news to you...

The so called war goes
on as if they don't care for their
own well being and the safety of
others the world is looking better
each day being the way things are
the destroyed cities & towns to states
to continents it's up being turned to

Finally the end is near it's down
to Minion and Sweet Tooth in New York while
Mr. Grimm is battling Outlaw in Australia
just went everything is going to be finished
Calypso gets in a vehicle to hope maybe
win his own contestment and make sure everyone's

Hell on earth Minion kills Sweet Tooth
and is now face with Mr. Grimm who killed
Outlaw by a power missle they are faced in
Alaska then Calypso heard the news that only
two of them remind however they both want
to get even with him so he stays in hoping
to give the winner who he wants.

Just when it looks like Mr. Grimm is
winning Minion opens the gates of hell under
him sending there so he could meet Calypso
for his prize but something went wrong all
the contestments are out of hell and are very
pissed to see Minion wasn't dead yet so they
take him on hoping to take the win from him.

Calypso was told that the impossible
happened everyone's back in the contest and
now taking Minion down finally he loss his
chance to get his prize now it's back on
everyone's going in all directions to places
not damaged or not damaged enough it went on
for 12 years since everyone was back from hell
with their vehicles as their own given powers
from down below.

Now once again alot of them are dead
there is a winner his name is Mr. Grimm, he
wants the souls of the people of died in the
contest because it you were here the world is
no doubt destroyed Calypso grants his wish
but this time he said since you did escape
i can't let you stay on earth it's the deal
after all Minion was the devil he did ask me
awhile ago if someone who escaped Hell to win
my contest he give me the power to send you
there just before Calypso opens his new home
to him Mr. Grimm reaps him and takes his soul.

The End is here can you believe that it's
finally here whose happy about if i sure
not i want more man this is my kind of
story i know i am not the only one.

Special Thanks goes out to the Twisted Metal team you guys do a great job making the series
what it is especially for gamers like me i hope one day i can meet you all.

Anonymous said...

dunno if jaffe will able to read this , and this comment really doesn't relate to any disucssions above.
However, rumours are spreading that a god of war movie is a coming. I was just wondering would the god of war film be better in CG with all that fancy digital 3D animation, like for exmaple that final fanatasy film: the spirits within, or better as an actual film with real actors/actresses?

correct me if im wrong, but woudnt it be better if it were made into a CG film. Several advatages for this. One it would keep the vast and enormous landscapes/creatures that were present in the game, and the vastness has no limits since it all done by CG. On the other hand, if a movie were to be made it would be rather costly if it were all in a movie set, and it might not be able to capture that vast landscapes.

expectations of people who have played god of war might be dissapointed in the film if kratos (being an real person actor) deosnt come across like he does in the game. (i.e he might not look like him, sound like him, or might not have the same build as him) if an actual movie with actors/actresses were to be made.

i do have other reasons...but let me know what ur people thoughts are


jackred666 said...

that is my fan fiction story it was my first I ever made for the series wow I'm shocked he got it on here and Dave I agree that Activision is going a great job staying in the business today.

Dan said...

Great post, David!

If we were to draw parallels to the movie side, I'd say you have just as much credibility if not more than a Sam Raimi or a Jon Favreau...

So.. with that in mind, if Marvel were to approach you for a game in the same way that they approach directors like Raimi or Favreau to do a movie, (with the creative freedom and money to go with it)....

Would you do it? and if so, which hero would you most like to take on?

Gary said...

Its not Marvels fault its the Devs the problem with movie games they get rushed they're not good they're poor. If Marvel spawns a proper game it can't be movie based its has to be like Ultimate Spiderman and the amazing The incredible Hulk: Utlimate destruction.

PS. Hey David when is Europe getting Twisted Metal and maybe Mickey Mania (Damn game was actually good) on PSN Who knows get new blood for Twisted Metat PS3.

orion said...

I really, really miss those days when people were just trying to make a fun fucking game that's it just a FUN fucking game!!!

Patrick said...


Patrick Roche-Sowa here, author of the article. Just wanted to apologize. I don't call myself a journalist (for some reason, people expect G4 to be full of reporters???), but i will admit the headline might have been a bit inflammatory. Truth be told i used that headline because we have a character limit on them and have to get creative.

But i do sincerely apologize, and have changed the headline. Sorry if i misrepresented you, but sometimes through the long workday, you don't think about the repercussions of a few words. My bad, i owe you a coke.


Rob Shock said...

Hey David,

Sorry I'm late to this party, but this all reminds me of one of the most enjoyable games I played on the original PlayStation. It was The Amazing Spider-Man, based on the Fox Kids cartoon show of the day. It was published by Activision and deved by Neversoft. I suppose the franchise was moved to Teyarch so NS can focus on the Tony Hawk brand.

Anyway, it perhaps didn't tell story through gameplay like you suggest, but it mixed it up very effectively leaving you feeling as if you just been through a Spidey adventure, and it actually focused on gameplay rather than focusing on "swing mechanics" and little substance like Spider-Man 2, which in my opinion is the most overrated video game in history.

So I don't know if maybe you've played the game, but if now I urge you to give it a shot. It uses some great voice acting and the dialogue is classic Spidey humor that will having you howling in places.

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