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God of War 2
God of War 2

An Interview with David Jaffe on God of War and Industry Trends

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Leo: Alright Fellas and welcome to Game pack Podcast #3, this time around we have a very special guest. The original God of war creator David Jaffe. David How are you doing man?

David: Saturday morning not too shabby man how are you?

Leo: I’m doing good man. I’m glad to have you here, and of course I am accompanied by Kurt, our content creators and writers and editors. How are you doing Kurt?

Kurt: I am pretty good.

Leo: Awesome Dude, and Jay our Nintendo writer.

Jaydyn: Hello

Leo: and Devin our PlayStation writer

Devin: Hello

Leo: Alright David so let’s talk a little bit about the game prices. You know you have been in the AAA space for a while and games went from I think in the PlayStation 2 days was 50$ at the time.

David: I don’t even remember, I hear a lot of people go back to the Super Nintendo days and talk about (at least in America) they were paying 79$ for Stunt Racer FX. I know they ranged depending on where you live from 49$ to 79$ but I think PS2 might have been 49.99 but I really don’t remember anymore. 

Leo: Yeah I think it was 49.99$ I remember PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 era was 60$. And of course with the PlayStation 5 Sony specifically, is raising the price by 10$ on their AAA exclusives.

David: Horizon is gonna have it I’m sure.

Devin: Ratchet and Clank 

David: So I mean not all their games to be fair but a lot of them like you said, the big AAA ones they’re saying they are going to be 70$. 2K looks like they are going that route, Ubisoft looks like they are going that route.

Leo: Returnal is also going to be 70$.

David: (surprised)- Returnal is going to be 70$? That’s surprising  but okay.

Leo: That is surprising as it is an arcade game. I mean Housemarque is a great developer don’t get me wrong, but I don’t know if I want to pay that kind of money and I don’t know if Sony is getting( I don’t want to use the word arrogance) you know they have been there before. 

Leo:  They  have all the success and that is great and I am happy for them but at the same time I also understand that the game prices are going up in the terms of development. Budgets are just getting crazy dude. I think I was reading somewhere that back in the day Grand Theft Auto was made by 25 people.

Leo: Grand Theft Auto 3 specifically in 2001 and was a lot cheaper to make.

David: Oh my god dude you have no idea. Let’s put it this way, we made the first Twisted Metal for 850 thousand dollars, the last Twisted Metal which was in 2012 cost about 21 million dollars, and we made Twisted Metal Black which was in development at the same time as grand theft auto for about that same team size. That game {Twisted Metal} was probably eight million dollars if I remember correctly.

David: And now there are a number of AAA games that first party games are over 200 million in a lot of cases. Yeah that metric has changed across the board has had a number of effects on everything from production to politics within the industry. It’s absolutely insane but you know that’s where we knew we were going because that’s what everybody wanted.

David: We want more and more success and more mainstream and it’s gonna be a really interesting thing to watch though because it’s tracking with movies in so many ways, but games have a very big problem compared to movies. Which is there is a relatively low ceiling of audience. When it comes to the kind of games that are being created for those budgets there’s a really strange relationship going on. 

David: If you look at what just happened this last week with ROBLOX which launched their IP and now they are valued at I don’t know how many billions but it’s more than these AAA video game companies like Sony makes and stuff, or the companies like Ubisoft more valuable. 

Leo: I think I was reading it was around 30 Billion.

David: Yeah those games cost very little to make they have low ceilings which means they have all kinds of audience members that are able to come in and partake. You compare that to the last of us part 2, this is reportedly over 200 million dollar video game and the number of people who are going to be able to really play it and enjoy it compared to something like a ROBLOX or a Minecraft or even to some extent a call of duty multiplayer is you know is insignificant 

because you’ve got crafting you’ve got difficult enemies you’ve got stealth, navigation and so its really weird that the money is going into these games more and more and more that are ultimately there’s a finite amount of people who are going to engage with that stuff. It’s going to be really fascinating to watch whether this goes.

Leo: I think you are absolutely right and the risk is just too high to develop something new unless you’re an indie developer but even then indie games cost money too.

David: Indie games are the bright spot to me in terms of game design, here’s what is really cool to me about this is that in the last week besides the ROBLOX story and you know there was a great NPD game out for February where hardware is up games are up. 

Everyone is buying games. It’s great. Regardless of how big of the title is or how big in scope the title is. Last week they reported that let’s see it was a loop here which is why this crazy tiny indie game has sold half a million copies in five day. Little nightmares two has already sold a million copies which is you know for a side scrolling very weird in a wonderful way artistic adventure game and then Valheim has sold now six million copies in a handful of weeks

And all of theses totally run against the herd of big production lots of money to create one of those, Valheim is early access right and so there is also on the flip side there is a clear appetite in embracing on the part of gamers the willingness to try things that don’t look like the last of us part 2. They don’t need to look that way for what’s looking like millions of gamers to engage with this stuff.

God of War comparison

I Mean this industry has always been interesting every year there is something new but this is the hardest time I have ever been around the industry to read the tea leaves. It’s like “I don’t know what is happening out there.” How much of it is only tied to the pandemic and how much of it is going to sustain once everybody gets healthy again I have no idea. It’s really cool.

Leo: Yeah it is a very interesting time right now and with the new console launches right now and all the crazy delays, you know people are waiting for the next big thing and all these studio purchases it’s definitely an exciting time. 

It’s also concerning I would say as well in different ways, people are like “oh where’s gaming going, are subscription services the next big thing?” You look at something like game pass or PS Now, what’s going on with the VR market this and that. What’s going over here or what’s going on over there. I think it’s all over the place right now. 

Are there any particular studios that you’re really keeping your eye on?   

David: I’m fans of some studios, of course I’ll look at what is happening in Sony first party not just because I know those people and like those people but certainly Naughty Dog and Sony Santa Monica Represent. Kind of the vanguard of just the highest level of development. In terms of production value and whatnot. So that’s always fun to watch

But I love Wayforward which is this amazing developer that’s never really broken big, but they do a lot of side scrolling and kind of almost classic Nintendo games with really nice production value. I like that, I like the guys who do the Steamworld Heist games or the steam world dig games. I have just become aware of these guys called “Movie Games” and their publisher but they’ve put out two games in the horror genre recently. One is called “The Beast within” and one is called “Lust from Beyond ” which believe it or not is a kind of adult only X rated horror game game.  

Its on steam and I played the demo think it would be fun to play on my stream it looks crazy, and there’s something really worth watching with that publisher because I know they call themselves movie games and I have an interview hopefully coming up soon with the director of Lust from beyond, but they really do seem to be better written than most horror games. There’s something about the beasts within the stores and what they ask you to do as a gamer. And the pace of those games where it feels like whoever is guiding that particular publisher genuinely understands interactive storytelling versus just straight up storytelling.

Than what you might find in games like Resident Evil 2 Remake, which I adored but that feels more like a game and the Movie Games do kind of feel like you’re living an interesting story. 

I am always looking at stuff like that, I tend to find developers that are doing more interesting things more engaging to my brain versus just big production value developers which are great and impressive but I don’t really play games for the production value I play them for the gameplay. 

Leo: That makes sense, I was going to ask you do you think a modern day Twisted Metal survives in today’s climate, have you ever thought of or hoped that someone would try and make a spiritual success to that on modern hardware?

David: I think that at this point when you say Twisted Metal it means a number of different things. I think the IP of Twisted Metal is still very valid and still appealing. I don’t necessarily think the best way to exploit it is straight up. Let’s make a 60$ arena based car combat game. I think you could potentially do that for free to play kind of like Rocket League did and put your best foot wayward in that respect. 

There is a Tv show coming out from Sony PlayStation productions from some of the guys who worked on Deadpool and Cobra Kai series and I’ve talked to these guys and they’ve pitched me what the show is and I think exploring the IP is of great Value weather its in a show or a movie or a graphics novel or a different genre of game.

I think the problem with Twisted metal is that it was only ever a big hit in America and there were demising returns after we got past four. Even the best reviewed one which was Twisted Metal Black never did as well as the earlier ones.

The real challenge is if you’re going to spend the money to make it more than just arena based car combat which is a very low ceiling in terms of audience interest You have a problem because the IP is depending on which version you build off of is vile and its violent and its rated and dark. 

And the idea of Sony saying “Okays Here’s 220 million go make an open world GTA meets Twisted Metal” and do it with this theme that historically has only ever really connected in America, and make then make it with a hard M rating. I wonder what their appetite would be for that. I understand that The Last of us is a very dark games but it’s also a dark but the darkness is the enemy and you push against it and in Twisted Metal it asks you to revel in the darkness and enjoy the darkness, and I love for Sony to say “Here’s 200 million go make the darkest thing you can think of” but I have a hard time thinking they would pull the trigger on that.

Leo: That’s definitely true, moving on when, when did you start making The original God of War? The first game came out in 2005.

David: Yeah so I finished twisted metal black in 2001 and then I helped set up Sony Santa Monica studios. I was one of the founding members of the fours of us. They were doing a game called Kinetica after Twisted Metal Black finished up  I knew  I would be taking over as the director for the Kinetica team to work in whatever was best and I helped them finish up Kinetica at a design level for about four months and all during that time about Six months after I was noodling with about three different ideas.

God of War which was called “Dark Odyssey” at the time was one of them and we actually decided we were going to make this game Dark Odyssey around holiday season 2001. Once we got back in 2002 we worked up until march of 2005 to get the first one done. So it was about three years starting production in 2002 but conceptualizing in pre-production was starting late 2001.

Leo: That’s pretty early so that was around a three to four year development cycle then right?

David: Developed was three years conception and pre-production added another maybe six months to it.

But that was the idea Shannon and I were both like. That was our idea, Let’s build a new IP let’s build a franchise and you know everybody wants that it’s not a very clever goal but we knew we’re building a universe and characters. Everything was from scratch it wasn’t like “let’s make a WWII shooter” and lot of the heavy lifting has been tragically already been done for us because there actually was a war and its was in the real world and it was more about replicating something that either was real or someone has already come along and created.

We were playing in their playground. We had to make the game that took place in a playground that we had to create before we could make the game. There was a lot of double duty going on not just making a game but building a world. 

Leo: I imagine that’s definitely a lot of work when you do something completely brand new and you don’t really know how people are going to react to it and it’s gonna work and things like that.

David: Hopefully my deathbed is very far from today but I will chalk it up to one of the greatest experiences of my life. I don’t want to do it again but what a.. There was a filmmaker. This phrase comes to mind. I don’t want to bore your audience but I am going to tell you the quick story. 

There’s a filmmaker whose called Eddie Demetrix he used to teach filmmaking at USC and he wrote a book and in the book there was a quote who basically  said “When your directing movies there’s going to be a window in your career when your hot and you know it may ebb and flow but untimely you will be able to look back at your career and say this was the window in which you got to run with the ball, and there will come a time where the chances to run wit that ball becoming less and less. 

Until it just becomes that’s not what you do anymore. He says When you’re running with the ball never fail to appreciate how much fun it is to run with the ball.” and for me I look back at that time and whatever comes next for me whatever my life looks like that was a moment in time where I got to work with this incredible talented group of people and I go all these amazing resources of this huge company mean Sony. I got to make something with this team that really was something that was a dream form being a kid.

It was a lot of work and I never want to do it again but it was very fulfilling and I’m glad to have had the experience. 

Leo: That Does sound really fascinating for sure. I can imagine how knowing that you’ve created something special that a lot of people really love and I mean God of War I would say arguable right now is one of if not the most anticipated games right now. Every time there is a God of War article people are like “Oh my god what is going on? Is this game coming out his year?” People are just going crazy. 

David: A lot of that or all of that at this point which is Sony Santa Monica and Corey’s doing but I love the fact that certainly I was there to lay the foundations with a great team of what that is. 

To me it’s interesting a lot of people online will come at me and I guess because I’m more interested in honesty than making friends when it come to what I talk about online and so I’ll rub people the wrong way and they’ll come at me and they’ll think there insulting me because they’ll be like “oh you’re all upset because the new God of war is doing so well” 

Even though I did a review of the new God of War I adore it I think it’s phenomenal and it’s interesting because to me it really is the older I get and the further I get away from it and the more I watch succeeding without me it’s actually really nice to know I don’t have to do any of the work anymore but my sort of legacy of what I got to do to build that engine that’s still out here in the world.

And it reminds me of when I was at comic con many years ago I forgot the guy’s name which maybe that’s telling. I don’t really  follow Batman all that much. I don’t care for Batman, but the guy who created the Joker was there. And he was drawing images for fans of the original joker he had designed. He was an old dude like 80 something, and I remember looking at what he was drawing and it was so different from the Joker who was in vogue at the time which I think was Heath ledger’ joker. It was so cool to look at go and all this stuff changes and ebbs and flows and evolves and devolves and what not, but ultimately the Joker whos on screen right now or had been on screen recently 

With Christian Bale that DNA is because this guy and his artist or whoever worked with created that back in the 30s. Its was very similar feeling, Kratos can change and adjust but ultimately I am one of his fu**ing dads and that never goes away and that’s really cool man I love that.

Leo: Do guys have any questions in regards to David’s experience with God of War?

Jaydyn: I do yeah if I may interject for a quick second. So you were just saying there Jaffe that watching God of War succeed while you were on the sideline, I am curious how it felt to see when he started going down hill with Ascension and the multiplayer? 

David: First off I thought the multiplayer was really good. I thought it was fun, I mean it wasn’t my kind of game necessarily but boy I’ll tell you, to do melee combat in a 3D space over the internet is not an easy thing. I was impressed by it.

I honestly haven’t played ascension the last one I played that wasn’t the new God of War was God of War 3 which I really enjoyed. I mean I understood why it was going downhill. I understood why it was less and less interesting, you always have to sweeten up the drink you know you’ve always got to add a little more salt after you get kind of used to what it is.

Here is what I think actually happened. I am stubborn, Corey is stubborn and he did God of War 2, and Stig I don’t know how stubborn Stig is bit Stig was at a time where one and two had done really well and three was going to be the first God of War on PlayStation 3 and so clearly there wasn’t a lot of people to fight.

I think by the time four rolls around especially because three was critically loved but I don’t think it delivered financially or sales wise. I know it was a big hit but it wasn’t as big as I think they wanted. That wasn’t the games fault that was because we were right at the apex of GameStop going “hey would you like the new God of War for four dollars less its a used copy” and so the number of developers that were losing significant sales unless you were making a multiplayer games, to use sales that were weren’t getting a cut of which was totally GameStop’s right but look where they are now.

All it really did was accelerate publishers to think about and develop digital distribution faster, but anyway ascension came along and got to worry had not ruled the roost as much financially as they wanted and I think Todd Pappy who’s one of the best designers I’ve ever worked with who directed that game. 

It was Todd’s first gig directing, I wasn’t there Corey wasn’t there anymore Stig wasn’t there anymore and I don’t know if Todd knew if he had enough people there at the time to tell him “hey you can fight, its okay to fight against management, its okay to be the bad guy when your directing a game because your job is to ask for all kinds of things that no ones wants to give you because if your doing your job right your making people uncomfortable because your pushing everybody to not just push the rock up the hill but also make that rock really freaking cool and it’s hard.

I get the sense with Ascension Todd was more “I’m trying to be a good gut, I’m trying to be a nice guy that I am and I also have this job to do” and maybe in that case Todd just didn’t give himself enough freedom or the studio didn’t give him enough freedom to really go I really want to make something cool.

I didn’t play it. I heard it was good but I know it didn’t do that well comparatively speaking but I wanna do something really cool versus, I just wanna do that but I don’t want to rock the boat too much. Now that’s me Monday morning quarterbacking. I don’t know if that’s what happened but that’s kind of what it feels like what happened .

So how did I feel? I was so disengaged from it by that point I had left God of War a while ago. It’s not that I didn’t care, I wasn’t apathetic but it wasn’t on my radar. I was like “Oh yeah no I told them they should have freshened it up. Okay back to my sh**” You know it wasn’t on my mind.

Leo: Interesting, Devin you have any questions?

Devin: I say that you recently read the God of War Comic book that fills in the gap between three and 2018, what did you think of it? Did you like how they filled in that gap?

David: Eh well it was only issue 1 I don’t know if it’s a limited series. I get the sense that it is a limited series. I don’t know how many more issues are to come.

Overall there were some really neat ideas in it. What’s really fun also by the way I’ll get back to your question but I want to tangent for a moment.

God of War

What’s really fun is when other people outside of the God of War universe come in and bring their own stuff. I remember specifically an Oscar-nominated writer they paid this guy a million ducks, David Self, who had written was called 13 days which was about the Cuban Missile crisis and they hired him to write the very first version of the God of War movie which of course never got made.

I read the script and it was good and all but there was a pint in the movie if you remember the first God of War there’s this place called Pandora’s temple, which is this giant temple on the back of a titan crawling through the desert and the idea was the guy who built the temple died inside building it. 

But he never stopped; he spent his entire life thinking it was not complete. That was sort of our story and what he did with it was really interesting. Somehow he had given this designer of the temple a magic item or the character himself was magic but as he was designing the blueprints the temple was building itself in real time. So in the movie what would have been happening Kratos would have being going through Pandora’s temple and he wouldn’t have only had to deal with the challengers the sort of Indiana Jones booby style traps and monsters and whatnot but the literal temple based on the mood and creative spirit that was hitting the designer at any given moment was changing around him in real time.

I thought that was the coolest thing right? So kind of similarly when you read the comic book there’s an idea that I’m like “Oh I wish that would have been my idea that’s so cool” which is Kratos has.. I don’t even remember at his point. I think they are the blades of Chaos.  I know of Athena, he’s got all these different blades at this point it’s all confusing to me. 

I think whatever blades he has at the end of God of War 3 he’s somehow in the comic because I remember them being chained to wrist but he is somehow able to take them off and he’s throwing them away and that’s sort of the whole point of the story at this point. He’s like “I can’t kill myself I’m going to be cursed forever but at least I can get rid of thesis things that remind me of my awful past” s he takes them and throws them away and they stay gone and he does to bed, 

But every time he wakes up it’s almost like a Twilight Zone, there back. So he can throw them into the ocean and ride his horse 100 miles away and go to sleep in a cave but when he wakes up the  next day there’s the blades of chaos waiting for him. He can never be away from them, that’s the idea. He makes this decision he says “ okay I am not gonna sleep I am gonna just say awake I will not succumb I’m Kratos, Morpheus the master of dreams is not going to stop me I will not deal with this anymore, these blades” 

He starts having these weird loopy hallucinations and he doesn’t sleep for day and he winds up in Egypt and animals start talking to him and talking about his prophecy and what he’ll do in Egypt and so there’s all of this really cool story telling happening in the comic, but it’s like the ideas are good but the read is not good. Its really fast and it’s a five dollar comic its 22 pages there’s not a lot of dialogue not a lot of words 

It’s just a lot of images of him kind of wandering around throughout the world and I read the whole thing in six minutes. It almost reads like a pamphlet that you would get at E3 like “hey come to play God of War 3 at e3 and get the free dark horse comic book”. It almost feels like a promotional piece versus an actuarial substantial comic book you know. So I have problems with it and the art is all over the place. Sometimes they draw Kratos beautifully and other times you’re like that doesn’t look very good. 

It’s very spotty but the story is telling I think is actually quite cool, I’m gonna wait and see how they compile it, if its eight issues I’m like okay I’ll wait for the 8 issues and ill but the trade paperback but I have no intention of spending another 5 bucks to read 22 pages in 6 minutes when it drops next month. 

That’s a long answer to your question of “what did I think of the comic” I bet I could have gone “Eh that’s pretty good it’s a pretty good comic”

Jaydyn: Yeah but what kind of content would that be? We need the tangents from you.

David: That’s all I got, baby that’s all I got. I just go places we’ll see where it takes us.

Leo: In regards to God of war did you guys always know you wanted to make a Greek mythology game, what other mythologies did you guys experiment with? 

David: That was built into the initial pitch. I wanted to do Clash of the titans meets gladiator. My pitch at the time and a lot of people don’t know whose this is anymore so I changed the writing but it was originally said what if Paul Verhoeven who’s a movie director directed Clash of the Titans

Paul Verhoeven if you don’t know does very kind of valiant, adult but really fun movies, he did Starship Trooper he did Robocop he did total recall. It was sort of that heavy metal magazine vibe but a lot of people were like whos Paul Verhoeven so I changed it to Ridley Scott who just had the big hit with Gladiator and people understood it more.

I grew up loving clash of the titans the original I grew up loving Harry Hausen I grew up loving just Greek mythology in general. I knew I wanted to do something with the monsters and the cool Indiana Jones temples and architecture and all of that stuff. So that was always the very beginning idea. A Greek mythology action adventure game inspired but sort of modernized for the audiences of today.

But inspired by the Harry Hausen king of fantastical prestation of Greek myths.

Leo: That’s Awesome dude because I was always fascinated by Greek mythology ever since I ever saw the Hercules Disney cartoon. The Hydras the centaurs like all that kind of stuff. When you were a kid you were always “like is that real does that actually exist” so you know you always liked to believe these silly things and you go to school and you read mythology books and why not that’s what people believed back then. 

David: Well there’s a whole different conversation but let me say just two things about that. One is if you look at the God of War design document the original and I sometimes give that away on my stream to contest winners I have copies of it that I give out. It’s like 25 pages. 

The first thing I have ever wrote for it when it called Dark Odyssey and at the back of it we were debating what is the art style and I had a couple of images suggesting you know we could photo real, we could go hyper real and then I have images from Disney Hercules and I’m kind of like “ Hm there’s an option that we could make this much more you know Zelda cell shaded and it would still be valiant but let’s make it cartoony. 

It wasn’t given serious thought but that was one of the considerations was let’s take visual inspiration from Disney’s Hercules

I mean Greek mythology is awesome and then halfway through the first one I had been thinking about where Kratos could go next and Cory came on we started talking seriously about the big story we wanted to tell. Which dealt with Norse and Egyptian and ultimately dealt with Jesus and the wise men and the rise of today’s gods and what would happen to Kratos in 2020 and all that stuff. 

I wouldn’t say it was planned out in the way that we knew exactly ether it was going to go, but we had a very big bright breadcrumbs at the mid point God of War 2 we were like this is the master story that we were trying to tell. And you know Corey and I didn’t agree on everything and then I left and Cory left and sort of Stig came and took it his own route. 

So I don’t know if what Corey’s doing right now with God of War is trying to get that train back on those particular tracks or if he’s like yeah that’s really great Jaffe but I really took the Norse mythology I’m telling a totally different story now.

I don’t care its his baby now but that’s sort of how we did it though. 

Leo: The God of war 2018 did you ever want Kratos to go Norse?

David: Yeah, Let’s put it this way I designed God of War 3 for about a 3 or 4 weeks and I was like “yeah I’m leaving I got to leave Sony I got to go start my own company” but in that time I was going to pick up God of War 2 right where it left off and it was going to be this big ting with Zeus and it was going to be 

{You can see this online if you wanna link your audience to it there’s a whole God of War Directors live stage show that me and Corey and Stig and Rue and Dana did where we talked about a lot of things including this, where I went into kind of excruciating detail}

The Gist was we were going to build up the first 20 minutes of God of war 3 this whole games is about preparing to fight Zeus because he is the big bad and Kratos finally in the first 20 minutes meets Zeus and sees him and he’s so powerful and so angry that we totally 

It’s almost like Snoke in The Last Jedi, Kratos just Kills Zeus in the first 20 minutes of the game, Zeus is dead. And it’s like “oh I thought that was going to be this game”  and the whole thing that spins us from Greek myths into Norse into Egypt into native American all of that stuff was going to be the results of Zeus dying and the power vacuum that existed. 

Because now you have this entire pantheon of gods who didn’t know who to go to for leadership and you had the Greek people going what do we do know and that spun us off ultimately into the rise of Jesus Christ and Muhammad and the old testament and that ultimately leads to kratos being the grim reaper in modern times which sort of he melts down the blades of chaos into the scythe and his like

 “you know what I’m never getting over this I am basically death that’s what I do and that’s what I do well that’s what I know and I am now the grim reaper”

So when Death comes for you that’s your boy Kratos knocking at the door.

Jaydyn: That’s amazing

Leo: That is pretty cool yeah.

David: So that’s where we were going with it I have no idea where it’s going now it may still be that I don’t know.

Leo: Let me ask you this, How soon did you ding out about God of War 2018, did they call you privately or something or did you guys have a meeting or did they ask you for any ideas or any resources material before they started working on 2018 or was that their own thing?

David: There is a story that people bring up to me and I don’t; know if it was Shannon who produced it and ran the studio. I adore her. She’s one of my favorite people in the industry but I don’t know if she was just spinning or it was misreported but I was never called.

There’s a story that goes around that says “oh we called Jaffe but he was busy with Calling all Cars or Eat Sleep Play” or whatever I was doing at the time. Yeah no that never happened They might have thought about it but they never did it.

Then Shannon and I for a while had a falling out and I couldn’t stand her. I just was so angry at this person. During that time we didn’t talk and I was focused on my stuff and we made amends at I think was the very first PlayStation experience back in 20xx and they haven’t announced God of War at that point.

I knew it made sense they were making one. I was pretty sure I remember they were making it and we went out to dinner that night and we made up and everything, and in that we started talking about what they were doing, what I was doing and it was like yeah okay I knew they were making it. 

That’s when she kind of gave me the “yeah of course we’re making it” and gave me some details. But No I was never consulted on it or anything like that no. 

I didn’t need to be, my take on God of war is very different and there is a comfortable awareness that has settled over me maybe in the last couple of years that at least with that kind of game, the train has left the station for me with that kind of game. Maybe all games but certainly that kind of game.

I couldn’t do what Corey does at this point, I could not do what Neil Druckmann does at this point. I had a time for those kinds of games where I really connected with the zeitgeist both conceptually and also mechanically in terms of gameplay. 

There’s a comfort in that realization because I played God of War 2018, it’s not the kind of game I would make but it’s so good and so well written and thoughtful. I don’t mean it’s soft and thoughtful although it can be in parts, but it’s so well thought out and the same thing applies to The Last of Us Part II

That’s just not what I do, I am very comfortable. If at the end of the day somebody {and I don’t even know if I’ll keep making games) but if I kept making games and at the end of the day Corey and Amy Henning and Neil Druckmann were all  kind of praised as the Camron’s Spielberg’s the Christopher Nolan’s of the industry, 

And someone said to me “I was more like the Lloyd Kaufmanns who ran a Troma who does toxic avenger or I was more like Roger Corman or the cannon group that just does crazy stupid schlocky fun. I am totally down with that I have no problem with that you know. 

So there was a time when that mentality was the four course five star meal and now its moved on beyond my interests and abilities and so I don’t look at God of War 2018 as something that I should’ve done that, I look at it and go “yeah I could never do that” and if that’s what gamers want and it clearly is this is working exactly as the system is designed. 

Now if Sony ever called me and said Jaffe we would love for you to come back and do God of War 2.5D, God of War meets Castlevania or God of war Metroidvania, I’d be like okay yes I would love to do that you know. 

But I have no interest in doing a big third person performance capture thing. It’s just not what I want to do.

Leo: Why did you decide to leave the gaming industry?

David: Well I mean you know it’s not like there’s a card that you give up I mean I can always go back in. But I did drawn to death with the Bartlet Jones supernatural detective agency which was a company I had with Nick Conan Ellis in San Diego. Best company experience of my life, it was a wonderful group of people very talented, just a great atmosphere that we worked in.

But we put a game out that had a lot of heart in it that really was personal to me and it just didn’t connect at it didn’t connect with the vast majority of people critics and gamers at worst people were so cruel and so mean and so off put by it by their reviews and their comments Including you know quote “professional Reviewers” and they just didn’t {it’s not like it was their job it’s my job as the creator to have them get what I’m going for} but even with that said they didn’t get what I was going for and what I was going for was a lot of thought it was a lot of care it was a lot of love and it was painful for that not to connect in that way.

We were doing another game after that and that ended up not going and that had nothing to do with us it had to do with the company we were working with at the time. We had a choice if we could kind of get out there and try to find some business and find a new partner to make games with or we could kind of shut things down and take the money we have in the bank. One of the reasons the company was a good place to work was we were always honest with everybody about the dangers of the industry in terms of you never know what’s going to happen.

We spend money on making people as paid well as we could and insurance and all that stuff but we didn’t; care about fancy offices and stuff like that so we able to save money and we we said “look if we shut the company down we have a bigger severance package we can pay insurance for more months then we could have for employees who are no longer working and so we said let’s just shut it down”

At that point what I thought was going to happen is I thought I was going to be on the beach I thought I was going to be reflective a lot of therapy I thought I was going to cry a lot I thought it  was just going to be this cathartic sex month experience that I was going t come out of and be like now I know what I need to do in-game I’ve learned my lessons I’ve adapted I’ve emerged form the chrysalis and now I am Jaffe game maker 2.0

But what ended up happening was I had this extended period that continued and still hasn’t ended. Within maybe a month I’m like

“You know what I’m gonna do while this is fiction better I’ve always liked live streaming and editing and making YouTube, let me just play with that because that’s a lot of fun for me.”

I started doing what I called the Jaffe Stream about a month after I left Bartlett Jones when we shut it down and you know it was never a big hit or anything but within the first day or two I thought this is so much fun and I hadn’t had that much fun in a long time with something I was working on. 

And I remember a guy called into the show a couple months in and who directed Fast and Furious: Crossroads. It got 35 Metacritic people hate that game critics hated that game but I loved that game, but I loved that game. I wanna talk to a guy who A made a game I loved but also had to deal with the slings and arrows of that kind of hate directed towards him and that kind of disrespect and kind of cruelty.

And like how did you deal with it? I’ve had it as you know and its just like everything from serious conversations like that to making stupid little puppets of Sean, Jim Ryan, Phil Spencer and they’re singing Huey Lewis songs its just fun. 

So that’s a very long way of saying how did I leave the game business I mean I haven’t left it there are still little pings on my radar from time to time, but every time something comes up where I could maybe go back in the game I think about how much fun  I’m having here compared to how much fun I was having there and I’m like I don’t want to do that I want to make a video today or I want to stream today.

I’ll give you one last example tonight. For example on our show we do this thing not all but most Saturdays  called “popcorn and pot”. And we show a double feature the first feature is for members only that subscribe on YouTube at various tiers and we’re gonna eat edibles and we’re going to watch the rising Kratos documentary about making God of War 2018. Afterwards we open up to everyday on Twitch who has a twitch account and we’re gonna watch Dread.

Well if somebody said to me you can do your movie night tonight which really doesn’t bring in thousands of people or even hundreds of people, or you can sit down and you can design a brand new video game with an 80 percent chance that game will get funded I would still rather do the movie night. I just have to follow what my instincts are telling me and my instincts right now are like I’m having more fun doing this so I should keep doing this.

Leo: That makes sense yeah, what if someone came to you and said “listen I am gonna give you all the money you need you can make anything you want” would you take it or not? Have you had any ideas for video games that you still kind of want to make before?

David: look let me be very clear. There is an absolute specific not like its threading a needle but there are a number of scenarios that would be very compelling to me to do some video game work. A lot of that if not all of that had to do with people. If Shannon or Nick came to me and said I want to do something with you and we have Scott Rhodey Shuhei Yoshida Alan Becker who wants to fund it and guide it at an executive level or people like that, I would be very interested.

There are game Ideas I have one my YouTube channel called the witch in the walls which is a horror game I want to do which was inspired by if you guys remember in Texas there were theses terrible floods a couple years back and the flooding was so bad that the cemeteries go flooded and you can see pictures this is not hyperbole you can see pictures and videos online.

Where the cemeteries go so flooded that they found so compromised that greaves were literally rising up from where they had been buried six feet under. They were rising up from the ground and tasers were floating down main street USA. coffins of dead people that is such a cool image and that is such a cool starting point for a story. 

There’s this whole horror game I’ve written or at least at a high level and designed at a high level about that inciting incident and sort of what happens to this town that gets flooded and these graves rise and float through the streets. 

So there’s absolutely a confluence maybe is the world I’m looking for but there is a alignment of planets and stars that can happen and it’s not incredible rare I could do Nick or Shannon, I could do Alan or Scott you know there are some interchangeable parts but ultimately those parts are people that UI trust not just to produce well and mange well but to keep me in line and say 

“Jaffe you are talented you are creative you’re kind of an obnoxious force of nature and we know how to work with you” but the idea of calling  Ubisoft and saying (let me just be really clear) if it gets to the point where I can make a go if it financially with my investments and my savings and my current content creation I would be stunned if I’m Picking up the phone and calling my agent and saying

“Hey can you just get me a senior designer job at Ubisoft.” 

I think I would rather work at a grocery store and I don’t mean that like the grocery store is some step down, it’s not a jobs a job. But I would rather have a job that does not tax me intellectually or emotionally so I can just go home and leave it at the office and then get back to my content creation. I don’t just want to be a designer anymore, it’s like I’ve done that. I would get back into it if the planet’s legend but I would not get back into it just to get back into it.

Leo: Thank you so much I appreciate it!

David: Thank you guys very much for the time!   

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