D.I.C.E. 2006: Games are "like porn ... sort of"

Mercurial God of War director David Jaffe delivers an unfettered critique of the game industry at Las Vegas convention.

LAS VEGAS--If there's one word that will attract geeks' attention more than "games," it's "porn." And that's the exact term that David Jaffe, the iconoclastic director of God of War and cocreator of Twisted Metal, used to illustrate the dilemma he feels the game industry is facing.

"It's like the porn industry ... sort of," he told a crowd still digesting the sumptuous complimentary lunch provided by the organizers of the exclusive event. "I read about this guy who has this topless review that he is trying to add art to, and it's bombing," said Jaffe. "Maybe games fall into that slot ...We have an industry filled with craftspeople that make compelling content ... but we don't have a lot of writers and directors who bring creativity to the process."

Jaffe singled out Oddworld Inhabitants cocreator Lorne Lanning, who preceded the God of War director's address with an unusually awkward plug for the Into the Pixel game-art contest, as a paradigm for game designers. He rhetorically asked the audience, "Can we marry that creativity with the more soulless games which do really well?" He got a smattering of applause in return.

Jaffe got a much bigger reaction when he facetiously thanked Sony Computer Entertainment Europe vice president Phil Harrison for letting him reveal the date and price point for the PlayStation 3. However, he was semiserious when he told the crowd how he didn't want to be fired from being lead designer at Sony Computer Entertainment America's Santa Monica studio. "I really like my job ... I don't want to lose it," Jaffe told a suddenly hushed audience before launching into an affable pseudo-tirade about the current state of gaming.

Jaffe's first target was the trend of games emulating movies. "Why is it that every game pitch I hear these days wants to be like a movie," he said. "Why don't video games embrace game language? Why film language? ... I understand film is glamorous, I understand the making of films is glamorous. But the reality is I think that thinking is hurting the [game] industry."

In particular, the designer called out Ubisoft's Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of a Movie as an example of how games can be too cinematic. "A lot of reviews praised King Kong's lack of a HUD [heads-up display]," said Jaffe. "But what's wrong with a HUD? What's wrong with having a health bar like in Onimusha which glows and blinks when you collect enough orbs?"

That said, Jaffe conceded that he, too, takes inspiration from films. He said that Raiders of the Lost Ark was the primary inspiration for God of War. However, he emphasized that it was the experience of watching the film he wanted to replicate in the game, not the movie itself. "A lot of people on the [God of War] team thought I wanted to make a game that put players in the shoes of Indiana Jones," he said. "[But] I wanted to make a game that put players in the shoes of a 10-year-old kid watching Indiana Jones."

Jaffe also self-admittedly risked possible disciplinary action by his superiors at Sony by complaining how game developers don't receive the same sort of financial compensation that writers and directors of films do. "I am really frustrated with the way the industry is structured," he said. "So much of our lives is put into making this IP ... if we're gonna work this hard, aren't we being exploited? I do wonder about an individual team's [main] three or four creatives ... how are they going to emerge with a financial gain from the game?"

Last, but not least, the man behind God of War addressed the controversy surrounding the 2006 Interactive Achievement Awards, which will be held later tonight at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas. Many gamers have dismissed the awards due to the fact the critically lauded Resident Evil 4 was not eligible because its publisher, Capcom, did not enter it. "Thank God for Capcom," Jaffe told a chuckling crowd. "We're probably going to be able to pick up some awards tonight." [Check back later tonight for the 2006 Interactive Achievement Awards and more ongoing coverage of the D.I.C.E. Summit.]

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93 comments
Katarn95
Katarn95

Industry needs a change and some standards there are some diamonds in the ruff though too few

rocker99
rocker99

I think he's right, ther isnt enough creativity anymore, everybody just make a movie into a game and makes millions. What happened to being original?

Alvi_Rizwan
Alvi_Rizwan

He opens his mouth and hell..this is what comes out? trying to match games with porn, then an effort to associate GAMERS with geeks and porn suckers? trying too hard to be edgy? Can't we have more creative games?...well thats what everyone says. But noone uses that to look smarter themselves...except for this guy....who next thanks sony for letting him reveal the date and price point for the PlayStation 3 -putting himself at the highest chair of importance, then gives nothing -if you cant say(dont have anything), why would you bring it up? Next he goes looking down on this and that ....and finally says hey you know what -I need to be paid more ! funny -he is sounding like a pretentious *****(those who climb up by taking the credit over the work of others) greedy AND shameless!? ...anyway,game of the movie-shortcut to sales-they should have their own creative story and gameplay-but thats what Myamoto would say without taking credit for himself.

Dax207983
Dax207983

How much does a game developer get vs. a game producer? I'm curious now, since some of you posters seem to be experts on the topic without citing any sources.

strangestguy
strangestguy

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

strangestguy
strangestguy

my 2 cents, here is what i think makes a good game..... good story: has anyone played MAGNACARTA bad gameplay imo, but man is that story good. It was like 3 a. m. and i was always like ... need .. to .. reach... city to know ... what happenned to main ... character ... the i .... can close my.

NinjaFoot
NinjaFoot

What a pretentious idiot....

BeefyPlatypus
BeefyPlatypus

dude rocks...and has a serious point about the games being too much like movies

gamespotr0cks
gamespotr0cks

If it wasn't for the headline...I would never have read the story. heheheheh. Seriously though, David Jaffe has a point. What's important to note is that gamers drive game sales. A shoddily produced game might sell millions (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, anyone??), while a true work of art may not (here's looking at you Katamari Damacy and ICO). If you think a game is not good, RENT it first. Even if you have the $$...please dont' buy it. That only gives them a reason to make a sequel/prequel/spin-off.

hsconnection
hsconnection

Ohhhh Jaffe, just shut-up already and just make games. By comparing video games to porn you help ruin the reputation that this industry should be taken more seriously.

mista_saki
mista_saki

god y do people think gamers are geeks?! its so frickin annoying! im 14 years old and i love games but believe me - i am NOT a geek... i guess that comment didnt even relate to me anyway, as young people are more liable to play video games that older people (no offence to any1, think that gaming at an older age (like 40) rocks, though only as a hobby)

Zharak
Zharak

David Jaffe = Brilliant game designer, but says the dumbest things

vigilantevil
vigilantevil

Every Action has an equal and oppositte reaction, thats what i recall from the laws of PHYSICS :).... I personally BOW to Jeff for the remarkable idea of GOD OF WAR ,but still there were some issues bugs in the game which ultimately ruined the taste but not the PACE :) no matter how hard critics come up on Jeff i wud say only one thing, they shud instead come up with some PRODUCTIVE IDEA like Jeff did with his GOD of WAR and yes Jeff does have a point there, SONY should take under consideration his idea of keeping the REAL BEHIND ALL THE PROFIT MAKING FRANCHISE ppl Happy and stick together no matter what it takes.....!!!!!

Konfusion
Konfusion

I agree with him. However what I find weird is, that mentality fits with Nintendo, not SONY (and Microsoft), which are all about hyping the HD. That of course, relatively pushes games to ahve more visual and cinematic depth. If anyone defined and is trying to re-invent the game language, it's Nintendo. If Jaffe and Iwata sit down one day, many video game players will be happy. Let's cross our fingers !

GorillaUnitChin
GorillaUnitChin

Who cares about the comparison tell us the date and price. Studio is not far from the LBC.

frankeyser
frankeyser

sounds like he really was listening to the head nintendo's guys jabbering... and yeah... res 4 was better than god of war. i loved god of war. but it was not as good as res 4 in my opinoin.

Gmex
Gmex

good point

Paul_TheGreat
Paul_TheGreat

Tell us how much the PS3 is and the release date Jaffe.

ALLoY1717
ALLoY1717

I totally agree with Jaffe. Why try to make games more like movies, to me games are the evolutionary child of movies, and to try to make them more like films then that is like a step backwards.

steep101
steep101

Thats the reason I play video games. Great point, but I think it's easier said than done looking at the direction the gaming industry is going in!

deathscythe999
deathscythe999

Does anyone remember how they felt the first time they played Xenosaga? That was the first game I got when I got my PS2...but now when I reach those cinematics I fall asleep on my couch. A game should give you a pulse...not a lull.

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

i think he's been looking at a little too much pron himself....

bioniccommando1
bioniccommando1

Ahhh I hoped for some news on GOW 2. Oh well good article though. Very good points there.

Jabucket13
Jabucket13

I liked the points he made. Especially the one about the developers not being paid enough. I think that is definitely true, those guys put in a lot of hard work. Also that whole thing about games being treated as movies was an interesting perspective. I had never thought about it like that before.

cikame
cikame

i just like the game if its good.....i liked the no hud thing in peter jacksons king kong th....*yawn* ehem, but its not for every game. graphics may make a game more immersive, for about a minute, then you just get used to it and its no big deal until it starts killing your frame rate. i got god of war because i was looking for something really fun but not serious (like, fear serious), i completed god of war 3 times compared to half of fear and i've just stopped because i cant be bothered, games were always made and played for entertainment not "dude i just totally made dust and sparks fly out of that wall, thats ruuuude"

Articuno76
Articuno76

his comments seem inconsistent, is there really a difference between replicating a movie and the expericence of it. TO my knowledge GOW was made wholesale from greek mythology inspirations, movies included. And GOW was souless game.

Gaara79
Gaara79

Well I for one am getting pretty sick and tired of being reminded I'm playing a game every couple of minutes, All the litte Saving checkpoint sighns in the middle of the screen, "now loading" in a corner, it all adds to taking you out of the experiance. Life bars are fine by me, but all those anoing little things need to go. You can seve a checkpoint with out telling me about it, you can load a new section without telling me about it.. Games and movies are two very differnt mediums, but the one thing that movies do offer is letting you in a world, and makes you believe in that world for the lenght of the movie. Games take you out of the world of the game to offten.. I think in that scense games could learn something from movies.

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Bunnyslippers
Bunnyslippers

He is trying to say there should be a balance between being a movie and being a game. Of course God of War has unplayable parts. Because they want to tell a epic story. You cannot do that through gameplay alone. And it's true lots of money doesn't go to the developers.The money goes to Sony, MIcrosoft and Nintendo.

MrS
MrS

He's right about everything (mostly)

Argama7
Argama7

I agree with Jaffe whole-heartedly. The world needs more people like him to keep the games in line.

snowbrdr1119
snowbrdr1119

he made some pretty good points, and I'm completely with him on having a hud, and i think PD0 and COD2 have done a good job with it, letting it go away when nothing is happening

rbarahona
rbarahona

That's an interesting point. I also think that games are embracing a "movie language". I really can't complain. Metal Gear Solid games are like playing through a movie. I have found that while I play the game, my room mates are very interested in the cut-scenes and the story. However I agree that games should be game, and only take inspiration from other types of entertainment. God of War is a great game and should deserve the awards. However, I think that RE4 is a better game. This kind of stuff simply happens.

knicknut17
knicknut17

He's not a big star, but he's well respected. God of War is one of the best games of all-time and the new standard for which Action-Adventure games of the next generation should be held to. He was the lead designer of that awesome game. The man's got skills and he knows how to use them. His opinions absolutely hold some weight in the gaming world.

Big_T-Mac
Big_T-Mac

whats ironic about his message is that he acts like he is a big star and should hold his remarks higher than everybody else. what a fraud of a man.

Khimarhi
Khimarhi

He makes a valid point. . ..it's nice to hear something a bit different from the rest of the game makers

kaito2
kaito2

I think Jaffee tries to hard to be edgy. He ends up coming off like he is trying to sell an image. This is most apparent in the Making of GOW include with the game. He, and his staff, constantly just cater to their target demographic with statements like "This game is gonna get you l**d." I don't know how people can think he is so different from other designers. Is it because he uses sex analogies? Is it because he swears? GOW was fun, but you can't say that it is all that original.

mrimkeit
mrimkeit

As a game designer Dave Jaffe RULZ. I know he will have more perfect gameplay for us on the PS3 like Gode of War was for PS2. . Let the naysayers about God of War be ignorant. If you hate that game wither you just don't like action adeventure games or you have NEVER played God of War. The gameplay design is PERFECT. Easy enough for those who are not hardcore and more acsual gamers, but it goes deep for those who have an ich to challenge themselves. The combat system was flawless. Jaffe and his team are the bomb.

azizrulez
azizrulez

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ofcourseyes
ofcourseyes

I think David Jaffe watches porn a lot!!

Panzer_Zwei
Panzer_Zwei

He does have a point. It's not fair that even if you somehow come up with a best-selling game, which it's not a easy feat to begin with, you hardly get crap in return, unless you're Kojima or Miyamoto.

killa-k
killa-k

funny, but sorta tru