Friday, March 30, 2007


Hey guys, a few CAC updates:

#1- Geoff wrote today and told me the GAMEHEAD Calling All Cars! segment would air next week, not tonight as planned. He says they got crunched for time so guess who got bumped? Fuckers! :) Still, nice thing is, the segment will now air closer to the relase of the game which WILL PROBABLY BE...

#2- on APRIL 19TH! So about 20 days away. It's as official as things get in this realm. We plan on submitting to format next Friday and if all goes well, the 19th of April will be launch day.

People have expressed confusion as to why these smaller games keep getting pushed. Well I can't speak for any but a few but the thing with downloadable content is that we're still learning how to get our heads around having so few masters to answer to.

What do I mean?

Well, for a disc based product you have SOOOOOOO many people who MUST know the launch date and after a point of no return, that date can not slip.

You got the folks who manufacture the actual disc and manuals and you HAVE to have the gold master to them by a specific date or your game will not make you promised ship date. In downloadable games, those folks- for the most part- don't exist. You send the code off to the Playstation Network and when they are ready- once it's cleared everything- they just put it up. So we're not worrying about getting it to the factory on time anymore.

With disc product, you get paid- as a publisher and developer-by the brick and mortar retailers who buy your game. Best Buy orders 200,000 copies of GOD OF WAR II? They pay us for that. We get paid when a retailer buys the games from us, not when a consumer buys the games from the retailer. And we HAVE to have games out by end of key quarters in order to make sure we can make a certain amount of cash for that quarter which keeps stock holders happy or some such stuff I don't fully comprehend. But if- for example- we look at March 31st as the end of a quarter- and most do- then you best beleive that we need those games sent to the stores by that date or that quarter profit looks bad,bad,bad cause we didn't get paid for, for example, those 200k copies of GOWII from Best Buy. But in downloadable games, there's not really a retailer we need to get cash from. We sell directly to the gamer (yeah! so cool!) and right now, the games cost so little to make and we don't get the kind of sales volume we get- yet!- with download games so there's no big bottom line issue to worry about. So the pressure of hitting end of quarter is not so big with DL games. So that worry is gone.

Advertising is another master that disc based games must kowtow to. Game pubs may lots of cash to buy air time- well in advance- for game commercials as well as print ads in key months of magazines. If the money is spent already but the game is not ready to come out- and you don't have another ad to put in the place of the game that is running late- you've wasted the cash that was earmarked for you game...and often times, you can't get it back because the company has earmarked the rest of the cash for other games that ARE coming out on time. So you gotta be careful about slipping your sked if the company is spending dollars on the ads. But with DL games, there's not much advertising- yet anyway!. At the moment it's only PR and while it sucks to go to the press and say you are slipping, it doesn't cost anyone anything except maybe the fact that in the future, gamers will take a 'yeah, we'll beleive it when we see it' attitude with you and your team.

So the only master we really need to serve in all this- from a release date window- is the consumer. And because of this- and because the games don't cost that much which means adding a few more weeks onto the schedule is not even a blip on the financial radar of a big time publisher- we tend to ask for more time to make the games better. Sure, you can spend TOO long in the game making process, for sure. But the thing is, with games that take 6-10 months, you are often times JUST discovering your game play in like, month 7. So once you know your game, you want all the time you can get to refine and playtest and tune.

So that is what has happened with CALLING ALL CARS!

Miyamoto is well known for saying (paraphrasing): a great game is forgiven for being late, a bad game is a bad game forever.

And so we feel consumers will forget very quickly that a game has slipped the schedule if it's a great game. But a crap game will never be forgiven even if it comes out 10 weeks BEFORE the publisher promised it.

So I hope that clears things up. I feel as we do more games like this, we'll learn to hit the shipping bullseye more often. But this is new to us too. Remember, my last game took 3 years! 10 months is a heck of a switch!

Ok, wife's got cake downstairs. A friend from when she was a little girl is visiting and I wanna go chat a bit and fuck dude....CAKE!!!!

Have a great weekend ya'll; and don't forget GAMEHEAD next weekend!

And I THINK the first episode of BONUS ROUND I did this week airs this weekend on Or next weekend. But I think it's up...what, tomorrow?

And the ATTACK OF THE SHOW segment we did will air next friday night! Check it out!

See ya'll!


Monday, March 26, 2007


Let's have 5, let's have 6! Let's have a dozen and pretend their donuts!

Ok, going a little 80's movie crazy there.

Ok, real fast as I'm rushing to put some music and podcasts on my ipod for my drive to LA tomorrow morning. Heading there to discuss some top secret stuff as well as do our final focus test for CALLING ALL CARS! This is where we put the 'catch up code' to the test and decide if it lives or dies, or stays but gets some tweak lovin'!

Also, tomorrow I will be taping two shows:

#1- ATTACK OF THE SHOW- taping this at the G4 studios at 11:30 or 12 or something like that :) Don't think they air it live anymore, but they might. So if you're around, look for me on G4! I love AOTS and have done the show a few times and they are always such cool folks over there. Looking forward to it!

#2- BONUS ROUND on If you have not seen it, this is ANOTHER fucking gig from Geoff Keighley! I love this show cause it's what I've always wanted: a video game version of DINNER FOR FIVE! Sadly there's no food or swanky eatery but hey, like I need something else to eat anyway, you know? I will be on with Kellee Santiago, prez of THAT GAME COMPANY, the folks who brought us FLOW. My understanding is we'll be chatting about small games, downloadable games,etc. Looking forward to it alot. Love the show, dig Geoff, and think Kellee is as sharp as they come. Should be fun!

Oh, also, Calling All Cars is featured on this coming Friday's GAMEHEAD (Keighley again). So watch it and let me know how I did! We taped it like last month.

Gonna be doing some other shows and podcasts in the next few weeks as the game gets ready to launch. Got something cooking with the EGM podcast that should be lots of fun and I'm hoping to get the game out there some other ways as well. So stay tuned!

So hey, me and the wife went antiquing this weekend (is that how you spell it? Fuck, I'm not even going to look it up)...but it's where you go look for old shit, right? Antiques and what not. Man I loved it! This huge store FILLED with stuff from not just stuff from MY childhood but my PARENT'S CHILDHOOD and hell, even some stuff from their parent's childhoods! What a blast! I've found a new hobby! Check this out:

I found an old DAVID SOUL record! The one me and my brother used to have...he's the guy who played STARSKY on STARSKY AND HUTCH tv show...his music was forgotten faster than his acting but man, this album, It's amazing to hold this damn thing again after all that time!

I wanted to buy this but 450.00 seemed like way too much. But check it's a framed poster with original candy bar wrappers from a loooooong time ago! There's an old Snicker Bar there; even the first Butterfinger candybar design (I think it was the first).

Old, STILL WORKING stove from 1920, when my grandmother would have been using one and cooking on it. How amazing to touch something that someone from her time would have looked at as brand new and state of the art. What a cool way to connect with the past.

Ok, I gotta run, don't wanna drive sleepy. Take care ya'll; chat with ya soon!


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Joel- in one of the comments from the last post- pointed me to the Kotaku post where they showed some gameplay footage from CALLING ALL CARS!

A few things about this:

#1- I don't know where they got the music from but it ain't from our game :) The CALLING ALL CARS myspace page ( the music that will ship with the game and it sure as hell ain't the stuff they were playing in the clip.

#2- Joel asked what I thought about the comments on the Kotaku( page. Well I liked the ones who said: hey this looks like fun! There were a handful of comments that were like: what the fuck is this? This looks like Cel Damage/Shit/etc...

As for what I think about those, well look: as it should be clear from the interviews I've been doing as of late, right now in my work, I'm no longer interested in going head to head with the likes of Halo, Mass Effect, Resistance, Devil May Cry 4, etc. Hell, I don't even want to go head to head against our own GOD OF WAR. I just want to do smaller, simpler games that focus on the fun.

So regarding those comments, if they come from folks who have never even thought- and never will think- about giving arcade and casual games a shot, then I really don't care that Calling All Cars is not floating their boat. I mean, sure, I'd love to get all of our games loved by EVERY gamer, but that is not realistic. I let go of that fantasy long ago.

To make it clear- and to put some pics in this post, as I love blog posts with pics- the following games are the ones I look at now as our new competition; the following games are the ones that have players who I want to win over and make love our stuff. Games like these:

So if any/all of these games- or games of this type- float your boat, then we are going to work our butts off to make you love our smaller, downloadable stuff. We look at the above games as both our competition and our teachers. And if you dig these kinds of games BUT STILL don't like what you see with CALLING ALL CARS! then we have much to learn and hope to please you and excite you by our next game, if not this one.

But if these are not your kind of games, fair enough. You prob. won't dig the stuff I'll be directing these days. And that's cool, maybe we'll hook back up in the future.

I think the biggest issue I have is when people act as if I don't know I have a new mountain to climb here. I KNOW you are only as good as your last game; I KNOW people are sick of seeing me all over the net/mags/tv and just looking for me to fuck up. I get it, I understand it. And I am actually cool with it. I think all those responses are natural. And I am willing to work my butt off- along with the team- to make sure we earn your respect. I am looking forward to having to win folks over again; I'm also looking forward to winning over a whole new audience who would have never have looked twice at God Of War. I'm not looking for a free ride.

But when I hear the question- and I often do- of: 'do you think if it wasn't for your name, anyone would care about CALLING ALL CARS' it makes me annoyed a bit I guess. Cause I'm like, look: I'm not trying to pull a fast one here. This is the stuff I like to make now, if YOU don't like it, that's fair. But at least give me a bit of credit for trying to branch out and do new stuff. Isn't it what we ALL complain about that games are too predictable and corporate? Well how do you think it gets that way? People get safe and secure and never branch out.

Now maybe I am branching out in a direction you think is lame or stupid. That's fair. We can have that discussion. But at least give me a little credit for reaching...and give us a shot if you like the kind of games pictured above. We're gonna do our best not to let you down.

But again, if all you like is BATTLEFIELD and HALO and DEAD RISING, then keep on walking. Calling All Cars! may not be a game for you...


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Random, Ramblin' Stuff


Coupla media things I wanted to bring to ya'lls attention if you are interested in hearing me gab even more! Check out:

#1- INSOMNIAC PODCAST- I am the mystery guest this week...lotsa fun doing that one! Check it out at:

Click on DOWNLOAD LATEST EPISODE to give it a listen.

#2- ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY INTERVIEW: Wow, I made the big time! Give it a read at:,,20014359,00.html

#3- Finally, a quick interview I did on the floor at GDC with some readers of this blog. Tons o' fun! Check it at:

Ok, back to the blog!


Hey ya'll...been busy trying to lock down CAC with the boyz at Incognito; we are almost done but NOT quite. I will be getting a build in today- I hope!- that has some of the code that we hope will keep scores close without making the players feel much- if anything- is happening behind the scenes. I spoke to some of the guys who worked on the old Midway games that CAC was inspired by (NFL Blitz; NBA JAMS) and it turns out those games had a crap ton of behind the scenes code that kept the games tight. We don't plan on pushing it anywhere near what the older Midway games did but at the same time, our job is to make fun and sometimes fun needs a little push in the right direction :) I may or may not let you know if the 'catch up code' as I call it, actually made it in the game.

Ok, so some random hits...NO time to edit so deal with the typos, bitches!

So the show was great; I loved it; best one I've been to. Often times tho, the quality of GDC has to do with if you get lucky/smart and go to the right panels/roundtables. As I am very passionate these days about the smaller game world, I hit most panels dealing with that and thus, had a great time, learned alot,etc.

Saw a pretty interesting panel from the designer/coder of FIFA 2007 on creating emotions in sports games. Man, I gotta tell you, with all the talk of emotion thru in game characters and plot points and twists and turns, I LOVED this panel cause here was a guy who was like: let's deal with emotion THRU gameplay! Granted the emotions were things like victory, shame, pride, etc. but hell, those are the kind of emotions I think games do really well. So I loved that talk evnn tho it didn't go as deep as I had hoped it would.

Chatted with my buddy Heather Chaplin, one of the co-authors of the great 'behind the scenes of the game biz' book SMARTBOMB. She's always fun to gab with but what was interesting is, as we were discussing games as art- a frequent point of discussion between us- I caught myself saying: yeah, I'm not all that interested in games as art anymore because, honestly, I have nothing to say.

And when I heard myself say this, I was like: is this apathy or maturity?

It's actually a nice place to be, whatever it is. It's nice to care and have an opinion but not be all chomping at the bit and dying to share it with everyone. I mean, sure we could have made Heartland- and may still make it one day- but from a MESSAGE standpoint, what's the point? So here's a game that says: I HATE GEORGE BUSH! I HATE THE IRAQ WAR! I HATE HOW AMERICA HAS LOST ITS REPUTATION AROUND THE WORLD IN THE LAST 6 YEARS,etc,etc,'s what? The folks that agree with me will nod in approval, the folks who don't will call me an ass...and there will be one more opinion out there that we've all been hearing for years. Maybe if I had something NEW to say, something fresh, ok then it makes sense. But I really don't. I just want to make games that make people feel like this:

That is really all I want to do these days....

And it was SO AMAZING to watch folks playing Calling All Cars at GDC and they were pretty much doing what they are in that stock pic above! People always seemed to have smiles on their faces and were laughing and talking smack. It was so nice to know that- for those folks who liked our game- that we did that; that we gave them that feeling! See, to me, that's a damn nice feeling! That's what games do better than any other medium!

So hey, the Game Design Challenge went great! I was REALLY worried about it for like weeks leading up. But it went off great and even tho I came in dead last, I was proud of my entry and thought it was just tons of fun. It's odd...maybe I've just grown up but I generally did not care about losing. It was the first time in my life where the addage 'don't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game' really made sense to me. I just really appreciated being there and pitching my stuff!

Here's Eric Zimmerman (Diner Dash fame); Harvey Smith (Deus Ex); Myself; Clint Hocking (Ubisoft Creative Director); and Alexy Pajitnov (Tetris and this year's winner!)


Me and my wife went to Old Town, San Diego this weekend and toured the Whaley House. It's supposed to be one of the most haunted houses in the world and we did see something odd. In the upstairs bedroom we kept seeing this curtain that divided the bedroom and closet move in an odd way. All the windows in the room were closed and the curtains on the windows were not moving at all. Just this one curtain that divided the closet. And it didn't move like it was being blown around, it moved in a stiff, irregular sort of way. The docents of the house say they have heard many people talk about the curtain but I don't know. I want to buy into Ghosts and stuff...I LOVE ghosts! But this curtain seemed almost too constant to be anything supernatural. Has anyone else been to the Whaley house? Anyone seen the curtain moving?

Either way, it got me thinking about how much I love ghosts and stuff. There seems to be a pretty active ghost hunting community here in San Diego and I may just sign up for a tour to go with them on an investigation. I love that stuff man.

PICS: Coupla random pics from my trip and the net I wanted to share:

GANDALFFE? JAFALF? I dunno, but I love it...from the freaks at neogaf, naturally!

Another NEOGAF classic! Man, I wish they had used a new pic as I've lost like 20 pounds since this pic! Still, Jessica's hot so I don't mind as long as she doesn't!

Another JAFFE LOVES HERMINEY (I KNOW!!!) pic from Adam!

SITE FOR SORE EYES! Man, I found this little corner of old arcade games in the Metreon Arcade across from where GDC was being held. It was like stepping back in time; all those old arcade games lines up, a dark little corner. It was like coming back home!

Ok, that's it for now. Gotta get to work! Talk to ya'll soon! Gonna be in Utah next week doing what I feel is our last tuning session. Then I hope to squeeze out ONE more focus test and then that's all she wrote! We'll see how it goes!

Talk to ya'll later! And sorry for the typos...not even gonna re-read this before I post. Too much to do on my TO DO list! See ya!


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


My understanding is that CALLING ALL CARS! will be playable tonight at a GDC event. And then on the show floor for the next three days (starting Wednesday)!

I will not be there tonite (I was supposed to be there but last minute tuning needs came up) but I will be all over the net this evening in hopes that a few GDC goers will post impressions.

Having the game at GDC is a challenge as press and other game makers are the main folks playing your baby. And they are the toughest critics of all.

But short of some tuning here and there, what they are plaing at GDC is about 95% the game that will ship. Granted, internet play will not be on display (the heart of the game...with the soul being split screen)...but that's not our game's fault; it's just the set up they gave us (no net connection)...

So I hope folks will be nice to our kid and really like it (maybe love it)?

We'll know soon enough! If you see any player impressions on the net, please shoot me a comment? I would appreciate it.

Talk to ya'll later!


Sunday, March 04, 2007


Ahhh....what a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Sitting in my office with the spring like March breeze blowing thru my window; oldest daughter is outside on the swing I just installed, being pushed by her grandpa. Wife is on the couch downstairs, reading a book.

Man, this is nice. I love that spring is almost here!

Speaking of spring, you know it's getting close when GDC rears it's head. And GDC is this week, as you may know.

I am on two GDC panels, so stop by if you get the chance.

Panel #1 is on Tuesday night- around 6 I think- and deals with the indie game scene. Odd they would choose me for such a panel as Calling All Cars, while being small, is hardly independent. From my understanding tho, they want me on to talk about bigger companies- like Sony- getting into the smaller game space (sort of like how big movie studios have their indie divisions like Sony Pictures Classics). Certainly I could/would/should never design an ultra indie darling like flOw or Dawinia, but I am digging the smaller titles so maybe I will have something worthy to say. Either way, I am excited as the first two days of GDC are devoted- in part- to the small/casual/indie game scene...a scene that I am very rapidly falling head over heels in love with! In fact, I have DEFCON's eerie music playing in the background as I type...thanks Steam!

Panel #2 finds me competing for the GAME DESIGN CHALLENGE crown against last year's winner Harvey Smith (lead designer on my top 5 all time fave game DEUS EX) and Alexy Pajitnov (he of Tetris fame and all around genius). In other words, I am fucking dead. And not just dead, but 'killed in front of industry peers whom I would like to impress as one day I may be knocking on their doors for a job' dead. And get this fucking challenge: design a game where the user interface is a needle and thread and a piece of fabric. Yeah, you read that right. A needle and fucking thread interface. Dead, I tell you! Dead!

But that's ok. I have an idea that I think is kinda cool, both theme wise and play wise. And end of the day, all you can do is pitch what you like and hope for the best. I'll let you know how I do!



Me and the wife saw Music And Lyrics with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore last week and I've been in 80's love mode ever since. NOTE: I just re-read that sentence and it could mean two things. I PROMISE you, it means the thing you think it means...not the thing it would so cool if it meant.


If you have not seen the movie - and you like romantic comedies- go see this flick. It's really good. And if you were a kid/teen in the 80's and have a fondness for that time period, you MUST see this flick if for no other reason than to see Hugh Grant play an Andrew Ridgely style character who was one half of a WHAM! like duo. Check this out, the opening of the film:

Not ONLY does the song SOUND 100% autentic 80's but the fucking video is spot on! I LOVE the fact that the doctor looks like a GQ model...and the red flashing heart under Hugh Grant's shirt at the end is perfect! Totally 80's!

So yeah, I got the soundtrack on my ipod the day after seeing the film and was jamming like an idiot to it while driving to LA last week for our second to last CALLING ALL CARS focus test.

Our biggest issue with the game right now is that when the battles are close, the game is a BLAST! We get amazing scores and people are laughing ,swearing, and having a great time. But when we get mismatched players- as in any multiplayer game, video or not- the scores drop as both players get bored.

We are debating if we should put in some NBA JAMS style catch up code that gives players who are lagging behind a bit (like 10 points behind or so) a bit of a boost in various areas of the game. Not sure how we feel about this for a number of reasons. Maybe we put it in but give players an option to turn it on/off. We will see but I sure as hell ain't letting you guys know what we decide as I feel that would blow the magic of the experience.

But anyway, I'm in 80's mode, listening to tons of 80's music and dreaming about Alladin's Castle at Brookwood Mall again...the old, long gone arcade I used to practically live in. Ah, those were the days. Man, I've searched the net for pictures of that place for years and have never found ANYTHING. How I miss Alladin's Castle :(

So hey, have you guys seen this book yet:

What a great book to trigger those amazing arcade 80's memories. I wish it was a huge coffe table sized book but it'll do. And it makes me so excited to have a game coming out this month that really speaks to the love I have for those old arcade games...from like 1978 up to like 1993, there were some amazing games in the arcade that changed my life and molded me as a creative individual.... and while I probably will never make an actual arcade game, Calling All Cars, to me, has the soul and spirit of an arcade game and that makes me very, very excited, happy, and proud.

Folks will get to play Calling All Cars next week at GDC and then, in a week or two after, the game hits. We'll see the reviews, see player comments on the's an exciting but stressful time. I really want people to like the game but you just never know. I am very proud of it but who knows what gamers expect these days. Will the gamers be willing (or have a desire) to put on their 'arcade hats' and have appropriate expectations for a game like CAC or will they come to CAC expecting the same depth and breadth that they want to see in HALO3 or KILLZONE 2?!?!

I have moments where I feel we've made a balls to the wall blast to play that will keep people coming back for more and more...and then I have moments where I'm like: fuck! This thing is gonna give all the Jaffe haters all the ammo they need to just bury me.

Some people are like: dude, don't worry about it so much.

And they are right. And I've done this long enough that by this point- most times- it doesn't worry me. I know we did the best we could. But there are those times when you catch yourself hoping for the great reviews and the fan board praises....but it's key not to think on that too much, not to come to depend on that too much.

All you can do is your best and HOPE you and the team have done enough to guarantee folks that the game will provide the most important thing of all: a good fucking time!

Ok, I'm off. May update from GDC...if not, talk to ya'll soon after!

Take it easy!