Thursday, August 07, 2008


1997-1998 were some of the worst years of my life.

I weighed 220lbs and lived in a place I really didn't care for (Foster City, California).

Here's a horrific video of what I looked like back in the day:

Pretty bad/sad, ya know?

Alot of what was making me so unhappy was the stress of my job. I had just come off the massive high of Twisted Metal 2 and had no freaking clue how I would ever follow it up. Granted, it wasn't just me who made that game. There was a whole team of mega talented folks who made the game, not to mention we had a huge help from Lady Luck cause, to this day, none of us really know WHY that game turned out so well. It just kinda...did.

But at 26 years old, I had an over inflated sense of my importance. Not to belittle my contributions, cause they were significant. But it was not all me. Not by a looong shot.

But I put the pressure on myself to follow it up with another big hit. Which was made triply tough given the fact that I was producing AND directing/designing the new title. What a mistake that turned out to be! Producing always took a back seat to design...and since I made the final calls on the team, I over designed the game when I should have been building the team and making sure the team was happy and functional. Instead of searching for balance, I went in search of the perfect game design doc and thought, once we had that, all would be well.....HA!

Before production even began, we went thru three full design documents, each one consisting of well over 150 pages and at least $100,000 of concept art!

Stunning...just stunning.

Over the next few days, I will update this entry to share some of the amazing concept art from the game we were working on during this time. It was called DARK GUNS and was to be a top down Raiden like shooter that had tons of personality, felt like Mad Magazine meets R Crumb, and was going to capture the growing casual market on the PS1 (Frogger had just shipped and done over a million units...I assumed its success meant a new audience was buying PS software that wanted simple games...I failed to take into account the value of nostalgia and a world famous brand!)....

Will also try to conclude with a gameplay video if I can get the game running and capture good enough footage right off my tv (no way to import it here at home)...

Which makes me wish PSN would do a feature on Qore soon dealing with cancelled first party Sony games. Would be so cool to let the public see a bunch of the stuff- some of it pretty far along- that never made it out the door.

Ok, well it's late...lemme just start with a cover...will put up more over the weekend:


wtfgrouch said...

"The views expressed here in "Debriefing" are those of Mr. Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of Sony Corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment America..."

I laughed out loud when that scrolled by.

Hey David, watching this video reminded me of the TM1 or TM2 magazine ads that had the pass codes hidden in the art... Do you remember those? I always thought that was genius. Don't know what made me think of that? Oh well..

Good post!


Tom Scholes said...

Oh hell yes, concept art :)

GrYnder McDuff! said...

Hahah wow. I've been seeing a lot of videos and stuff recently from the 90's. The 90's were the shit. (For me, anyway. I was a kid, and being a kid was cool :|

Anonymous said...

lol Dave I found that video on Google a few days ago and just used your comment about being able to make something out of a coconut and a crayon for my petition at without knowing you just posted the same video with the comment in it.

Anonymous said...

Sweet fucking jacket!


j/k thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

aww cooool GORE!

Anonymous said...

Wow. It's Going To Be An Awesome Summer!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dave, that old TM2 interview was a semi-life changing event for me. Until then, game designers were faceless programmers and technicians hidden behind a curtain, pulling the strings for the Mortal Kombats, Mario Karts, and Megamans. So it was fun for my friend and I, both being huge fans of TM1 and TM2, to see a designer and hear him talk about his game. I myself am a film-production student and this video is one of many encouragements to keep following my dreams and push for something "more."

grasshopper said...

Aww cool...I didn't know ya ever got anything somewhat playable out of it. Scoot over Dave I wanna play :)

It would be cool if they would finish off and release a few of old PSone games that never made it over the PSN. If people can be excited for a new old school Mega Man I don't see why not.

Anonymous said...

HAHA. Cool to see and hear more about some dead games like that. I love reading and seeing games that never came to be. It's kinda like an Archeologist digging through ruins of a long lost city to me.

I wish more developers would cover the making of their games more. Include footage of Alphas and betas and show how they truly evolved or in the case of Dark Guns cease to exist.

Anonymous said...

You know Jaffe there's sometimes when I sit down and watch a movie or see a movie advertise on tv and I go WTF are they thinking this movie is going to lose its ass and not make a single penny...(Meet Dave, Speed Racer, The Love Guru) just to name a few this year. Sometimes I just don't understand where people are coming from with the shit piles of things that get released. Sometimes when I look at release dates for games there are just random games that I've honestly never heard a word about. It's just amazing to be that more stuff doesn't get canned, but then I here games like 8 days and The Getaway from Sony are canned/put on the back burner...Man I just don't understand it...

Anonymous said...

hi jaffe

i'm aplying for a games development course and i#ve been given a task to complete in order to win a place

just 2 questions

1: do ou think its worth it to make a career from this

2: what would your perfect design of a handheld console

that is all, thank you

Anonymous said...

I watched this Twisted Metal Interview a couple months ago and was startled by how pathetic you looked. It's good that you acknowledge it though.

PlayStation Museum said...

David, what were the other genre affiliations that Dark Guns went through as it progressed? Mike told me that it controlled like Robotron. He thought it was a great game, which means a lot to me. Also, I have a question about an incident during the development that I'd like to keep private.

Anonymous said...

at least you dont have to say u look alot worse now. that was 10 years ago but u look better now. cool shit man

Anonymous said...

Dude i've never seen anyone so fat (don't be offended) you look much slimmer and cooler in the other interviews now.

I hop you can answer this question on your blog with twisted metal update!



or was it the other way around ??

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a very different look for you, Dave. I understand the whole thing about shitty years. Hell, the last two have been nothing but shitty for me. I am currently on a six month sabbatical from school and I'm just using this time to realign myself and get all my shit in perspective. Thus far, it all goes very well. It's funny in the interview you mention wanting to get into comic books and how you can't draw worth shit. That is the exact industry I am trying to break into myself as of this moment. I've yet to send any proposals or scripts (by the way, I can't draw a straight line if you put a gun to my balls, I'm damn bad too, haha) but hey, I have no intention of backing out from this pursuit and if what I am cooking is as good as I feel it is, then maybe I will contact you and see if you want to do some comics.

Now if you will excuse me, Mr. Jaffe, I'm off to listen to the badass Twisted Metal Symphony. Which came with Head On ETE. Which I love to death and honestly I rave to EVERYONE about being the best videogame deal in history. Fuck the Orange Box or any shit like that. Twisted Metal: Head On Extra Twisted Edition is THE deal. Thanks alot for it. And thanks to all at Eat Sleep Play.

P.S. So when can we see the new TM?

- Mr. X

Anonymous said...

David, don't be self-obsessed! Enjoy life outside of yourself!

Enjoy... censor bar art!

Anonymous said...

Funny even in your "worst years of my life" you still looked better than me :P

I can't imagine working on something for a long period, pouring all that energy and hard work only to have it canned.

Unknown said...

I understand you were heavy at the time, Dave, but believe it or not, this interview changed my life. I still have the PlayStation Underground disc it came on, somewhere. At the time I was in high school, writing game reviews for the school paper and just trying to figure out where I was going after graduation. I devoured every interview and sound byte I could get about games and development, but it seemed like an endless sea of those goofy Nintendo promo VHS tapes (for games like Donkey Kong Country) and designers were just these nameless, faceless cogs in the system.

Then I saw this video, and I thought "here's this guy talking smartly and candidly about making a game, and what goes into it and what it takes. I have to get in there somehow." I've pulled out that "coconut and a crayon..." line in so many job interviews and bar conversations it's not even funny.

Fast forward ten + years, and I handle PR and marketing exclusively for some of the biggest names in the business. It's all games, all day and I absolutely love it. I can't thank you enough for taking the time do this interview all those years ago.

Anonymous said...

David, how did you end up losing so much weight?

Joel said...

it is really great to know that you managed to get much healthier since then.

THAT SAID, i would have KILLLLLED to see that interview back in the days when i was playing twisted metal 2.

that is the only game i've ever played for over a year without feeling the need to buy another game (which ended up being crash bandicoot 2)...

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