Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Death (and Future?) Of Twisted Metal

Twitter follower @Vyprstryke tweeted me this morning:


I wanted to respond here on the blog as I get the 'what is the future of Twisted Metal' question often enough (which is a really nice question to get cause it means the series still has fans!) that it seemed best to put my quick thoughts all in one place. So here's my take on Twisted Metal's future:

#1- I said it would for sure be the last Twisted Metal game I worked on, at least for a long while. I can't speak for Sony's plans for the franchise other than to say I've heard nothing about a new one. But I've not been a Sony employee since 2007/8 (?) so I am far from a Sony insider. For all I know they ARE making a sequel and I've simply not been informed. And to be fair, even if I had been informed, I could/would not tell you :). Just like with TM PS3's secret existence, I do not feel it is my place to decide when a publisher- who owns and pays for the game- wants to reveal its secrets. 

#2- As for Sony making a new TM, TM PS3 got some great reviews and some terrible reviews which has placed it at a 76% metacritic. It sold fine. Not a dud, not a hit. When all is said and done, I hope Sony will be satisfied that it made a decent investment in the game and in us. But it was not a mega blockbuster or even a big hit (was it even a 'hit'?...not sure what is in between 'dud' and 'hit' but I think TM PS3 falls into that category)...

#3- I HOPE Sony makes a new TM one day. Heck, once we get the new studio launched and we've brought some new IPs to the world that folks enjoy, I can see myself dying to go back and do a new TM w/the new studio and with Sony. But for now, I really want to do new things. But one day, sure, I'd love to return to straight up car combat. But I'd want to do it super small and all digital. So a launch would look something like:  5-6 vehicles, 2 levels (with 1 or both being able to be broken up into at least 1 other level map), 3 modes (TDM, DM, and 1 new, fresh mode), 8 weapons, a 4 level single player campaign with a single end boss, inexpensive stories for each of the 5-6 characters (aka TM2 but with darker visuals).

NOT cutting edge visuals at all. We would find an art style that fits the game but allows us to keep the budget down. Or we'd go photo real but just accept we're not going to compete with current gen visuals and budget/charge accordingly. I think TM works because of the play and the world and the genre. While bleeding edge TM visuals would rock, I don't think the genre is big enough to merit the cost.

And that gets put out and- if it's great- we can count on the fans to show up and we make our money back and a small profit. And if it's AMAZING, we can count on even more. And then we see if there is interest in doing add ons and such.

And heck: if the new free to play models I'm thinking of for our new games, perhaps we put out a f2p version as well. And before you balk, I assure you, it would not consist of you buying missiles and paying for a faster car or for more armor. It would not be pay to win. It would not be micro transaction based. 

But again, this is just me pie in the sky thinking out loud. None of this is planned.

#4- I think the dark Twilight Zone-meets-CreepShow-meets-Se7en world of Twisted Metal is ripe for more products and I hope Sony does something with that universe. Heck, I hope Sony reaches out to me to ask me and the new crew to do something with it. But instead of a super expensive sixty dollar game, I'd love to do a next-gen Twisted Metal/Sweet Tooth all digital graphic novel or a small, indie style adventure game (super low budget) or- as I've said in the past- a low budget Tooth slasher movie, etc. But whether we are involved or not, I really think that TM is a cool world that can yield a great deal of success outside of the vehicle combat niche. In fact, I would venture that the property would be substantially more successful if it were expressed in other game genres and other media. 

So those are my thoughts on the franchise as it stands on July 31st, 2012. I still love the Twisted Metal games Scott and I and the rest of the talented team have made over the years. I am still very proud of the TMPS3 multiplayer. And I still love, love, love the TM universe. 

But right now, I'm happily exploring new universes and am excited to report back my findings and the findings of my new team to the world when the time is right! 

And with that, I'm outta here! Oh, one more Twisted thing:

Tooth's machete from the Twisted Metal PS3 movies and its current, unseemly resting place: the trunk of my 2005 Toyota Corolla. I really need to frame this damn thing and hang it on my wall. 

Later Ya'll-



Kilrahi said...

Thank you for the detailed answer Dave.

I'm sure I'm not the only fan who appreciates it.

Maybe there is a niche for Needles Kane perfume . . . (think of all the different smells from possible from the crypt!).

ISKREEM said...

Thank you Dave for the glimmer of hope. The fruits of your labor
paved way to some of the most glorious moments of my entire life.
So long as the TM universe abides by its forefathers constitution i would play other genres and pick up merch for all my favorite unstable deviants. Thanks again. Sorry you got burnt on such a divinci.

K-Mitch said...

It's a sad truth, but one I did see coming. I loved every last bit out of TMPS3, for both the nostalgic feeling and the incredible new ideas and graphics, but it was clear that it doesn't have a big enough market. In a way, though, that's a good thing, because it means Twisted Metal won't ever become a forced franchise, and will hopefully come back again when the time is right. Don't get me wrong, if a new one came out next year I'd buy it in a heartbeat, but it won't match the feeling of excitement and anticipation I had waiting for this new one to come out after so many years. Good luck exploring new games and ideas, Dave, and if you ever decide sometime down the line that you want to do it all again (and that smaller, digital idea sounds great), I'll be buying it first day.

MarinoB said...

So Twisted Metal PS3 was expensive? I can't imagine how. It was basically a multiplayer game with a "single-player" tagged-on part derived from the same MP assets, poorly presented and with some good cinematics in between. And to make things worse, the meat of the game-the MP- specifically the net code is trash. I would be really surprised if that game cost more than an 1/8 of what a blockbuster game like Uncharted costs. I bet a AAA Sony studio would have made TM with 5 million or less. Is under 10 million expensive for a PS3 $60 game?

R.Bunk said...

I know this post won't be popular with your superfans, but here it goes...

Dave when everything is said and done I am pretty disappointed in you as a developer. I grew to know you as a developer with God of War and I was surprised to find out you had worked on TM and TM2. Honestly though, I am starting to feel like TM and GOW were flukes.

How you guys could allow Twisted Metal PS3 to ship with such terrible net code is beyond me. Grouping up and getting in a game can not be a chore for successful online.

Why did patching take so damned long? What did you guys do with the data from the Beta (beta seemed to have less online issues)?

IMHO you guys kind of killed Twisted Metal with this edition.

Maybe you should try to stick with a company for more than 1 game. Every since you been bouncing around we haven't seem the same quality out of you, as a fan of yours it's a little sad.

R.Bunk said...

BTW Fix a Flat is dangerous.

Kilrahi said...

Dave’s history of fun games isn’t a fluke. Talent doesn’t just disappear. The guy has a HUGE history of fun titles that pretty much defines the latter half of what made my late childhood, and early adulthood, fun. Further, this is his livelihood, and while it may not be possible, let’s not take a piss on his self-esteem as he moves on to his next title. I for one will be following his new studio to see if what they produce will interest me.

But, as a hardcore TM fan, I have to point out something in order to be true to my appreciation for the series.

It's kind of interesting, top down dungeon crawlers were considered dead too. I am a huge fan of these games because they're the only video games I can get my wife to play.

Yet, for years, ever since the first Champions of Norath on PS2, they have been all but dead, and ESPECIALLY on consoles. I have read numerous reasons why too. Developers, and some elitist reviewers, kept claiming this type of gameplay was dead and buried. Archaic. A relic of the past. BORING.

As a fan this was so frustrating though because I KNEW better. Fun does not go out of style, and when presented well, it will always be marketable (witness Heavy Rain, also from a “dead” genre). Games like Sacred 2, that would attempt the genre, were OKAY, but the flaws in their construction were readily apparent to the fans. Buggy, weak attention to gameplay, bereft of storyline and imagination! It was clear to fans why they didn’t sell. The genre just needed a CHANCE! A shot in the arm! A real SOLID effort to bring them back.

This year Diablo III came out. It is not a perfect game. The story is not AMAZING, it’s just passable (at least it’s there though, complete with cinematics which is something the earlier attempts can’t claim). It also jettisoned some ideas that, it’s arguable, were part of what made the series so strong. However, at the end of the day, it is easily the BEST overhead dungeon crawler in YEARS. It is exciting, it is presented well, and what do you know? The damn thing is selling.
Like Sacred 2, the new Twisted Metal certainly has some moments that make it fun and there is a lot to be proud of. Many, many people who bought it will enjoy it for a VERY long time. I got a good two months out of it, even with my many . . . frustrations. I spent $40.00 the other day just to go to a movie and get a treat . . . I think Twisted Metal was the better deal.

But, is Twisted Metal dead? More to the point is car combat dead? As a fan I am biased, but my answer is an emphatic no. Yet, for car combat to come back, it needs a title that is comparable in quality to a Diablo III. It HAS done it before (witness Twisted Metal: Black – car combat was “dead” then too). Regardless though, I am certain most will agree that this new Twisted Metal was not a Diablo III level event in terms of “oomph” factor, and so it should not surprise us that it didn’t revive car combat.

The real tragedy is that people will use it as an argument for putting the final nail in car combat, and Twisted Metal’s, coffin, and the fans will be stuck back at home in frustration knowing the genre can still be amazing if only a title would come along with an “oomph” factor.

Kilrahi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The REIJ said...

I played TM n loved it!!! So did my friends who played with me.

DJ, you make great games like dis, We're goin to keep playing em!!!

Jordaan Attorneys said...

Hi Dave. I'm here in South Africa. I've been trying to buy your game for months now. It is just not available. All the shop owners complain because the game is popular.

If it is like this in Sa im sure its the same elsewhere. I suspect the slow sales is due to people not being able to buy it rather then not wanting to.

You can walk into almost any shop and buy a call of duty game. Why is that?

Billy Pawella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billy Pawella said...

While I would have loved to seen more Twisted Metal from you, and the amazingly talented team at Eat Sleep Play, I am
equally as excited to see what you will continue to bring to the industry.

If this truly is the last of Twisted Metal we will see for awhile, I don't think you could have gone out on a better note.
Despite some minor gripes, nothing could detract me from the overall experience which brought me back to a place that I've been having an increasingly struggling time to find recently, where I could enjoy a game for being just
that, a game, in its purest form.

Thanks for the great times with the franchise, I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors.

Lewis W said...


I think MANY T.M. fans would love to see a "smaller but cheaper" version of the game. Hell, even if it looked like TM2 graphically, it would sell THOUSANDS!! :)

Hopefully that remark about not being able to tell us about a sequel REALLY means you're making a sequel, but I doubt it does.

I think TM fans would love to see a new SMALL TM game once a year than wait 3 years for a massive PS3 title.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Roll on TM patch! :)

Lewis W said...

P.S. In a smaller and cheaper version of TM (maybe on PSN), DLC vehicles and levels would be easier and cheaper for you to make. Faster profit, I'd imagine.

After all, you have a very strong fan base with TM, and you know for a fact that most of the fan base would buy any DLC you released.

Best Business Brands said...

Twisted Metal is a series of vehicular combat video games published by Sony Computer Entertainment, and developed by various companies during its tenure.

Jason Bann said...

Pretty good post. Have always been a Big TM fan

sinizter kane said...

The only problem I had with tmps3 was the lack of charactors, driver profiles was always one of my favorate parts of the game and I really wanted to see the drivers of death warrent and all the other new veicles, if it was more like the origionals and less of a short movie about sweettooth it woulda been much better

sinizter kane said...

Head on is probly my fav tm game, the real twisted metal 3

Loren said...

I sincerely hope we get another Twisted Metal game in the future. I've loved the series from the beginning.

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Anonymous said...

No can do, Michael. 989 Studios was defunct since 2005.

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