Friday, June 08, 2012

Why I Left Eat Sleep Play

I'm always bummed when people on the net act as if I did some terrible thing by leaving EAT SLEEP PLAY.

They say stuff like 'it's his company and he left it and now he's gonna go start another company! How long till he leaves that one too!?!'

And I'm like ,'How can I do a better job at communicating the "why I left" situation because clearly I'm screwing that up big time for some folks.'

A bit of press has hit about what we're hoping to do with the new company in San Diego. If you don't know, the plan is: fantastic free to play browser games with some adjustments to the free to play biz model in order to make free to play appeal more to gamers.

As the news has hit, I see more of those 'Jaffe left EAT SLEEP PLAY so he sucks!' folks commenting on the sites. And that really bugs me because it makes it sound like I abandoned that really talented team in Utah. And that's just not the case.

So here's me trying to make it a bit more clear (and also procrastinating a bit because I got an overwhelming mountain of work that piled up during E3 week):


#1- Eat Sleep Play is in Utah. I'm am in San Diego. I don't want to direct games remote anymore. I've done remote game directing/co-directing (Twisted Metal series) and internal game directing (God of War) and I prefer internal. And since I'm not moving to Utah, my only choice was to leave EAT SLEEP PLAY.

#2- Eat Sleep Play was majority owned and founded by myself and Scott Campbell. I admire and respect Scott as a person, friend, and game maker. But post Twisted Metal he and some of the team wanted to do different kinds of games than I wanted to do. While I have no idea what they are working on, I know Scott and some of the other key team members have wanted to do smaller mobile/social stuff for years. I imagine they are now doing that and I think that's fantastic. The best games come from teams who are passionate and I bet they will knock their next titles out of the park because of that passion. I wish them the best.

But why should I stay with a company- even if I co founded it- if it's not excited to be creating the stuff that excites me?* And why should I spend the time and energy trying to force my will on my partner and team mates when clearly THEY want to do other kinds of games than I want to do? That's hard enough when you are in the office with those folks. Try forcing a direction when a talented team doesn't want to go in that direction from 1000 miles away. The game would suffer as would our relationships, health, spirits,etc.

#3- Hard as Twisted Metal was for us to create, it's not like I walked out on my kid. I stayed till ship and beyond. And hell, I STILL plan to work with Sony to do a bit of tuning and balancing (just trying to find the time). It's not like I showed up day 1 and left 6 months later. I was at EAT SLEEP PLAY for 4 years and 10 months. We shipped 2 games I'm real proud of (aside form the network issues and trophy bugs that still plague some users sadly).  How long is long enough for some folks?

Ok so there you have it. Those are the 3 reasons I left EAT SLEEP PLAY. Nothing new. Been saying this to the press and folks on twitter since February. But there it is, all in one easy to read/find place :). Now I can link haters to this blog post when they come at me about leaving the company. And if this doesn't make it clear enough for them then hell: I guess you either are predisposed to want to find issues with me or I simply suck at communicating.

Either way- thanks for letting me try to explain!

Talk soon- later ya'll!


*excites me as a game designer. As a gamer, I love a lot of the mobile/social games out there and I'm excited to play those from EAT SLEEP PLAY if that is what they are working on.


Unknown said...

I think some of it is coming from concerns for the future of Twisted Metal. And we all hope there is a future for Twisted Metal. Not only questions about will there ever be another TM but most of us remember TM with out you and Scott and we are worried about what Sony might do with "their" IP. Scott made great "car combat" games in Rouge Trip and Critical Dept but Twisted Metal has and always will be my favorite games and there is just something magical about when you guys team together. I am looking forward to both of you and Scott's up coming projects but still looking for a glimmer of hope that we haven't seen the last of the magic you guys make together.

Good luck and best wishes to both teams and thank you both for the years of entertainment.

Miggy11 said...

When the announcement came out, it was a week before Twisted Metal was released. I think this hurt sales because people thought that Twisted Metal would be abandoned after launch.

Obviously this did not happen, but this whole situation with you leaving the company should have been clarified better (even though I understood why).

Anyways I do hope that you hook up with Scott Campbell for a future Twisted Metal.

Now onto the current Twisted Metal. I am really looking to the next patch and gameplay balances.

Two things that still need a look at are:

Sweetbot and his running away effectiveness. This could be solved by having Sweetbot take 1.5 - 1.8X more damage then normal Sweet Tooth.

"Dumb Damage" from vehicles such as Meat Wagon(this is really bad) and Shadow need to be increased.

Thank You for reading and good luck on your new company.

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

I'll be keeping my eye on your blog and twitter, and checking in on those with their ears to the ground about your new tudio. It'd be amazing if I could benefit a studio like the one you've described.
Can hardly wait, keep us posted

Anonymous said...

I don't understand, if you've left Eat Sleep Play for good, who's going to continue the Twisted Metal series?

I don't want to give away too many spoilers about the 2012 game, but there were plans for a sequel in the last few endings and if you're not in charge of Eat Sleep Play any more, then are we ever going to reach a conclusion in the series at all?

Besides the future of the Twisted Metal series, I hope you do great on your new company, I don't know if you're still going to make more dark and mature games or not, but I hope it turns out good.

P.S. I hope we get more than 3 character storylines in the Twisted Metal sequel, it just doesn't feel like a TM game without a story for every character/driver.

Miggy11 said...

@sinvalor Eat Sleep Play does not own the Twisted Metal series, Sony does. When Sony and David Jaffe are ready to release another Twisted Metal, they will collaborate and decide how they will make the game. It could be an in house project or they will find another developer.

It is obvious that David Jaffe has a great relationship with Sony so I don't think he will be leaving them any time soon as a publishing partner.

Unknown said...

Stop with the excuse and just get Twisted Metal fixed and then you can be DONE with it for good. You have done an insane job bringing it back to the PS3 and by far one of my favorites. Online game is about perfect the only issue I'm STILL having is the trophies NOT unlocking! Please, Please don't "Find the time" and just MAKE TIME. Please get on Sony and relase that Patch! Thanks a Million!

Kadukunlahi said...

Leaving was the right choice for you. It is never good to work with people that have different goals from the ones you seek. The relationships between members of the team would have deteriorated badly, so you avoided that eventual outcome.

It's nice to hear you don't hold any animosity towards your former game creators and that you acknowledge and respect their vision. This demonstrates the class you have. I hope they respect yours as well.

Time to move on and create new ideas.

Good luck!

darkstar07x said...

did you fix your games trophies before you left still waiting for that "patch"

Lewis W said...

Thanks for this blog post, it has helped me understand (and sympathise with) your situation a bit more.

I possibly think that announcing that you were leaving before Twisted Metal's release date was maybe a bad move in terms of sales, but I'm sure you knew best.


When are you uploading Sweet Tooth's alternate endings here?

Trophy fix news?

It's a long shot, but any rumours of Eat Sleep Play releasing DLC for Twisted Metal?

Thank you for your time! :)

Tommy said...

That was pretty nice of you to be honest about leaving Eat Sleep Play even though you sure as hell didn't need to. I would be surprised if most game creators would show as much candor.

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