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-


Saturday, July 28, 2012


Hey all- wanted to get the last two alt endings up from TWISTED METAL for PS3. These are from Sweet Tooth.

Ending #1 was/is the ending that shipped on the disc.

Ending #2 is here:

Ending #3 requires a little explanation:

I made this video on my own using iMovie when I was struggling to try to find the tone for the movies. As some of ya'll know, the game was originally a T and then became an M. But the movies were written and shot to be T (at least the first shoot we did) and so it was a real struggle trying to find the fun, comic book flavor of TM2 (the T rating) and merge it with the dark, depressing flavor of TMB (the M rating). It was especially hard when 80% of our footage was written and shot to be T and when- in order to make our deadline- we had to smush the 3 planning (and shot) endings of each characters down to a single ending for each character (comprised usually of elements form all 3 endings).  Whew- long explanation...SO this was what the darker version of ending #3 would have looked like. If you've seen Tooth's actual middle story ending that we shipped with, this ending is where we took the used middle portion from. Biggest difference is once Tooth gets up to the hospital...well, things change. Take a look:

In the original version, the man inside the mask- the human who was still deep inside fighting to protect his daughter-won over the beast that is Sweet Tooth. The man inside forced Tooth to walk away and let Sophie live. But Sophie has a line where she says she'd 'rather die than live as the daughter of a monster'. And with that, she jumps out of the window, killing herself.

The above video was me taking the story line darker for both the M rating (because we now could go darker) and because it just didn't seem like Tooth fans would be ok with him taking the 'noble' high road and walking away, letting Sophie live. It just didn't feel right for the world/character.

No idea if this video above will even run. I posted it as private to share with our TM marketing lead as he and I spent a lot of time discussing game's tone. Because this was an internal video never meant to be shared, I used licensed music I had sitting on my iTunes just to set the tone. Now that I'm making the movie public, I have no idea if it will be allowed to be posted.

Ok, that's pretty much everything!

Hope the TM fans out there have dug some of the 'what could have been' stuff from what I am fairly certain will be the last Twisted Metal game made. At least for a very, very long time!

Hope ya'lls weekend is going great! Talk soon-


Friday, July 13, 2012

Coolest Thing At Comic Con 2012...so far!

Saw this walking to my cab late last nite:
'Big deal', I hear you say. 'It's just a white van...'

Well that's what I thought too...but then I saw all these people crowded around it and I had to see what was up. So I did...and check this shit OUT! 

Van has movies playing on the windows to make it look like zombies are inside-banging on the glass-trying to get out! I imagine it's mostly for Halloween to put on your windows at home (and yes, I'm going to look into getting it this year!)...but man, it really looks super creepy on a van. There's no way they could get a permit to drive this thing around with these movies turned out. It would create a ton of distracted drivers.

And check out the back windows! I'll take a video if I see it again tonite, but as you can tell from just these 3 frames, these are not stills, but an actual movie.

Ok back to the con! Will post lots of pics soon! So far, a total, total blast! Loving it! Hope to see you there! 


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Roald Dahl Appreciation Blog Post

My buddy Gary Whitta posted this on his Facebook page and I had to steal it:

Just seeing the familiar spines that let you know it's a Dahl book makes me very happy at a core/gut/spiritual level. As I wrote on Gary's FB page, I am only now discovering Dahl in any meaningful way. I grew up- naturally- knowing about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but that was more from the movie. And I knew a little about James and the Giant Peach & Danny the Champion of the World since I saw my brother (who is 2 years-ish older) reading those. But I never personally read any of Dahl's stuff until I read BFG to my daughters about 8 months ago. It really was love at first chapter. 

Since that time, Dahl has become one of my favorite- if not my number one favorite- authors of all time. My youngest daughter- who is 6- says the same :). We just finished up Matilda and jumped right in to George's Marvelous Medicine! 

It is a total joy to read this guy and I love there are so many books he's written that we've yet to read. I personally can't wait to start on BOY as I'm eager to hear about how he grew up.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fantastic Twisted Metal Song/Video!

Thanks Broken Pixels for this amazing song/video! Damn, ya'll shoulda done some of our marketing for the game! I love this!

If you are at Comic Con this week, turns out Broken Pixel will be at this very cool event:


Who knows- maybe they'll perform this song! :)


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sunday With My Ipad2

I love my ipad.

Specifically my ipad 2*.

I love the way the ipad 2 fits in my hands, the weight of it, how it feels so smooth as I glide my fingers across the cold metal back. The whole damn user experience, start to finish, just makes me giddy. The last device to capture my heart this fully was the Atari 2600.

And when I get a Sunday morning like today, one where the kids are at the grandparents and I'm able to give my brain a few rare hours to not think/stress/fantasize about the new game/company, I like nothing better than to crash on the sofa and get lost in my 100% powered up Ipad2.

So that's what I've been doing. All morning. It's been amazing. But now, the real world calls and I need to get up, get the day started. But before I do, I wanted to share my ipad2 journey! :) 

So here goes:

#1- Played Games
Specifically these:

I'm late to the party it seems on the wonderful AirMail. Game is developed by N-Fusion  and published by one of my favorite mobile game publishers Chillingo (known mostly for publishing the fantastic Angry Birds and Cut The Rope, but they also publish a lot of less known but just as amazing games such as the new Catapult King and the- to me- classic physics-puzzler-meets-Mario-Platformer Storm In A Teacup).

Then I played some of this:

Been playing this on and off for a while, and I love it. It is supported by micro transactions but- so far- I've been able to get through every combat scenario on wits and planning (which is why I love turn based strategy games like this) and have not spent any more cash than my initial investment (forget what that was, but I would happily pay up to 9.99 for this great game). In all games- but it's very apparent in a turn based strategy title- you want to know if you are winning or losing because of your skills. In a game with micro transactions it's so easy to utterly confuse the player into not knowing if his failure is because he needs to try again with a different set of tactics or because the developer/publisher has put up a pay gate where 99% of the players simply can't pass unless they pay. So, so, so stupid and damaging to games but it happens all the time. I love that- again, so far- this game doesn't have that problem. Check it out if you like these kinds of games. It's from Atlanta based Drowning Monkeys and published by Aypoa Games

One quick note: 'hard core gamers' who complain about mobile games must not actually be playing them. Because if they were, they would see that there are so many interesting, unique, and fresh titles (mechanically and thematically) being made for this space. The above two genres- for example- are dying breeds on console but there is a home for them on mobile devices. I loved Sky Odyssey on Playstation 2. I loved Jean D'arc on my PSP. I can't find similar titles on console right now (but I am very excited for the new turn based XCOM) and I love that when I am craving those kinds of play experiences, I can just turn to the Ipad.

#2- Read Books 
I finished this today: 

Readers of the blog and the tweets know I dig Senior Smith. This is one of his best books and I tore through it in just a few days. It's funny (as expected) and wonderfully, creatively vulgar (sweet!), but it's also really inspiring, smart, and kind of sweet (hearing him talk about his family and friends and fans).

And then I started this:

Over my adult years I've become a news and political junkie. That obsession- mixed with my current love of Sorkin's The Newsroom-guaranteed I would click BUY the instant I saw this  in the itunes bookstore. Written by a former president of ABC NEWS, it's a behind the scenes look at the news division of ABC as well as a Westin's take on changing business of news in general. I'm only 1 chapter in but I'm already hooked. 

#3-Surfed The Web
When Jobs intro'd the first ipad in 2010, he claimed using it was 'the best web browsing experience you've ever had'. And damn, he was right. Here's what I surfed while lying on the couch this morning:

Planned my Comic Con panel schedule for next week...

Read a cool editorial about why folks are still interested and captivated by Bill and Hillary Clinton. 

Saw what friends were up to, wished my oldest daughter a Happy Birthday (yeah I had seen her in the morning but you can never say it enough to your kids!:), sent messages to a few friends. 

Stopped in to see what the word was with the most hard core Twisted Metal fans in the world. And in case you are one of them and are wondering: yes, I'll be reaching out to some of ya'll as well as working with Sony/ESP to tune the game this week.

I stop by NeoGaf to see what's up 2-10 times/day. 

So far, I've yet to have the career in the movies that I dreamed about growing up. Reading the always fun Deadline Hollywood allows me- just for a few moments a day- to pretend I work in that other cool industry :).

Can't go a day without checking in with Harry. The Talkbackers are about as entertaining as the site itself. Damn, and I thought game fans could be harsh. Sheesh! Plus if not for AICN, I'd never have heard the world's best forum poster name (DannyGlover'sDickBlood) nor seen with my own eyes one of the net's best ever memes ('Sexy BeanPole Tomboy).

Ok, so that was my Sunday morning with my Ipad :). I dug it.

But now, got lots to do! So I'm off! Talk later this week- hope you are doing great! 

Thanks for coming to the blog! 


* If you were wondering: no, I don't have the new ipad yet. The retina display is great but not enough to get me to take the plunge. I probably won't get the New ipad unless the kids break this one (and I'm stunned that hasn't happened yet given how often they steal it from me).