Twisted Metal embraces M rating

Comic-Con 2011: David Jaffe holds court to talk about how the team is ramping up the vehicular combat game's violence and gore, how strategy runs deep.

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Who was there: David Jaffe was largely a one-man show at the Twisted Metal Comic-Con 2011 panel.

What they talked about: Jaffe began the panel by answering two burning questions. The first was whether or not there will be a Twisted Metal beta, to which Jaffe said they were planning a private and semiprivate beta. A game like Twisted Metal doesn't require that large of a testing phase, he said, and a private beta will give them better, more focused results.

Twisted Metal is embracing the blood and gore.

Second, he said that to his knowledge, there isn't a Twisted Metal Collector's Edition planned. He hopes to keep it that way, as he thinks the chintz that is often packed in with limited-run, premium packages isn't what the release should be about.

From there, Jaffe debuted the opening live-action cinematic for Twisted Metal, which tells a motivation story of sorts for iconic crazed clown Sweet Tooth. The video, which will be available on GameSpot shortly, begins with a slow zoom-out shot focused on a transistor radio. An AM radio host takes calls from conspiracy-theorist callers, who proclaim the head of Calypso Industries is leading an underground Twisted Metal competition.

As the radio host blows it off, a pool of blood begins to saturate the radio, and the camera pans to reveal a woman's corpse. Standing above her is Sweet Tooth, who says, "Looks like Calypso's got another driver for this year's contest." Sweet Tooth then goes into a reverie, remembering "the one who got away." That is, the one who stabbed him in the eye with a pair of scissors before he could kill her. He then says that when he wins Calypso's latest tournament, he will have his wish granted of finding her and killing her.

As the brutally violent live-action video ends, Jaffe emphasizes that the game is definitely in the M-for-Mature category at this point. Though the team initially pushed to release the game with a T rating, the ESRB balked at having the graphic live-action video in the game. Rather than compromising, Jaffe and his team opted to embrace the M and are currently retooling parts of the game to further make use of the more lax rating.

Jaffe used much of the remainder of the Twisted Metal panel to emphasize that while the game has the veneer of a pick-up-and-play-style car combat title, it actually has a good deal of strategy. To demonstrate the amount of strategy in the game, he began at the car-selection screen, giving a brief rundown of the new sidearm feature. These new weapons, which weren't viewable in the version of the game brought to Comic-Con, are all balanced based on reload time, range, and damage.

He then jumped into the Black Rock Stadium level with Shadow, Crimson Fury, and Axel. Playing first as Shadow, Jaffe showed the versatility of the primary weapon, which is a dead guy in a coffin. Jaffe also dropped a fun fact: The corpse's face is modeled off of Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern, Buried). The coffin weapon can be launched and detonated, and the longer players wait to explode their payload, the more area-of-effect damage it does.

Going deeper, if the coffin scores a direct hit, it does more damage. It can also be lobbed like a grenade, which also does more damage. These shots, of course, are more difficult to pull off.

Jaffe then showed off the game's garage mechanic. Players have only one life per level, but they can bring several other cars to a match. Once they enter the garage, they can choose one of the other cars they brought, while the vehicle they were driving slowly repairs.

The next car shown was Crimson Fury, which is the fastest vehicle in the game. Jaffe said that they are still working to get Crimson Fury functional in online play, as the car's current speed causes latency issues. Returning to his theme of strategy, Jaffe said that Crimson Fury's primary weapon is a flamethrower. The longer the flamethrower is trained on an enemy, the more damage it does, thanks to plumes of fire that discharge. He also showed an area-of-effect knock-back that damages enemies.

Lastly, he pulls out Axel, who is a man suspended between two monster truck wheels. Axel's special ability is to compact his shape so that the two outer wheels come together and sprout spikes. Rolling over multiple enemies before the special ability expires yields more points. Axel also has the most powerful vertical leap in the game, allowing him to access certain areas more easily than other vehicles.

Exiting out of this map, Jaffe loads up Metro Square, which is based on New York City's Times Square. This part of the demo emphasized the destructibility of the game, as well as the maps' interconnectivity. In Metro Square, there is a whole underground subway system that links many of the buildings in the city, and players can navigate the map underground to strategic effect. He also showed how destroying certain objects (such as a blue whale post-taxidermy) can open up new pathways.

The final part of Jaffe's demo showed off a number of the universal weapons, such as ricochet bombs, sticky bombs, and a sniper rifle. The sniper rifle, in particular, is being retooled due to the change to an M rating, with Jaffe showing it capable of zooming in on the actual driver of a vehicle to land a headshot, with plenty of gore to accompany it.

Quote: "Without blood, it felt a little weird, frankly."--David Jaffe, on Twisted Metal's definitive move into the M rating.

Takeaway: Jaffe was keen on emphasizing that Twisted Metal has depth to rival a fighting game, with players able to make use of substantial strategy and skill to outmatch their opponents. Of course, for those who'd rather just blow stuff up, Twisted Metal offers that too. Plus, with the team's decision to embrace the M rating, those explosions are only going to get more violent and bloody as Twisted Metal approaches its October 4 release date on the PS3.

Discussion

57 comments
TheHAR
TheHAR

I can't freakin wait for the game.

Wensea10
Wensea10

they should have been made a twisted metal sequel. it needs online

FearPotion
FearPotion

When is GameSpot going to load up the damn panel video of Jaffe speaking and showing us the new features?

Snakehead11
Snakehead11

Damn it it comes out the same day as Dark Souls aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

slipknot611
slipknot611

Funny how in earlier interviews, Jaffe and his crew claimed that the dreaded M rating was the reason why TM: Black was the lowest retailing game in the series and that the game was too dark. Now suddenly there's over the top violence and gore, and they're embracing an M? I'm calling shenanigans. But I'm still getting it. And yes, the parents of 12 year old kids will be buying it for them regardless of the rating, so be prepared for their screaming over the mics.

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

I'm so getting this. I hope we don't see 12 years old children screaming with their mics over the great online experience this will surely bring.

gino_pachino
gino_pachino

@MEDzZ3RO a kk i undertsand what you wanna mean...but what i wanted to tell is that twisted metal is twisted metal lol it not a suprise for me if it will be rated M

kaem79
kaem79

I hope it'll be good.

GovtCheese
GovtCheese

'Bout damn time. Twisted Metal doesn't deserve to be watered down.

Thing1232
Thing1232

This means we're gonna have a good 2-3 months of online play before the wave of kids hits.

antonisbob
antonisbob

@metaltorn I agree, I still believe it will be a great game though :D Also: Overkill is the best. \m/

metaltorn
metaltorn

i wish it still had all the characters and not just three

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Glad that this installment is Twisted. This is my favorite Sony franchise of all time. So a dark, gory Twisted Metal should be fun. Glad to see this series finally make it to Playstation 3.

akdiuuuryttt
akdiuuuryttt

i remember they said they were going for a twilight zone style but now that cut scenes are done anyway we probably wont get black messed up

neosantana
neosantana

@SirBobIsLost I know, but ANYWHERE he comments, he gets so many dislikes, the comment gets hidden. Scumbag Steve style!

Sirbobislost
Sirbobislost

@neosantana ignore him hes a xbox fan boy and just butt hurt because its a ps3 exclusive

cigarcat
cigarcat

Glad to hear that some classic characters are coming back. I was quite disapointed two years ago when I thought they might only have four playable characters.

moviequest14
moviequest14

I have mixed feelings about t vs. m,I must say that I do appreciate it quite a bit when a company tried to make games appeal to a wider age range and let younger-teen gamers experience the game,one reason I have never purchased a 360 is because of the general lack of good t-rated games.Also keep in mind though that blood and gore usually aren't the only reasons for an M-rating.There is still nudity,language,sexual themes,etc.. There have been multiple t-rated games that have still been able to have t-ratings for just violence and blood.But if there should be no m-rated games then we wouldn't have the m-rating,some titles are designed for m-ratings and I believe this is one of them. I still think it could be a good idea to have 2 separate games,one as full on m-version and a milder cleaned up (no intense language,nudity,gore,etc.) version also for sale,that way it can still reach a wider audience but be able to hold onto the intense version for those who like/can handle it.

thaddusbly
thaddusbly

The rating does matter. Maybe not so much for the gameplay, but for the cinematics/story.

servb0ts
servb0ts

I hope this game is as awesome as TM II. But please fix any bugs an glitches.

keech
keech

@MEDzZ3RO Agreed, for proof you need only play Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. The MK formula lost a lot of It's identity because they toned it way WAY down. It just didn't feel like an MK game.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

Doesn't really matter to me, Just bring on the carnage!!

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@gino_pachino That's where you're wrong, what would games like God Of War and in particular Mortal Kombat be like without gore? It being rated M means they're not dumbing/toning anything down for the benefit of the younger audiences like most games are.

Codester_41
Codester_41

Making it M makes it more gory, explosive, and brings the inner psycho out of all of us. I appreciate this! ^^

IceJester45
IceJester45

It's good to see Twisted Metal on the consoles again. Considering that some of the quintessential Twisted Metal titles were rated T, I don't think the new game needs an M rating to feel like a TM game. That said, I'm not upset that the game will have blood and gore. I like the TM: Black look as much as I like the TM 2 one.

gino_pachino
gino_pachino

why many dude here get excited just because it will be rated M ??? lol it only a rate rated M or E or T the game will be the same at the end lol

neosantana
neosantana

This game is gonna be epic. And I'm glad that it got an M rating, this puts the "Battle" in battle racing. TM FTW!!!

neosantana
neosantana

@monson21502 Dude, have you noticed that whenever you say something you instantly get dislikes in the double digits?

Cliffy_T
Cliffy_T

Hell yea! Twisted Metal should be a M rated game. It's dark, sadistic tone just demands it. This game just got better.

robertwarnes91
robertwarnes91

Isn't a bit juvenile for a developer to be taking such pride in heavy amounts of gore? Then again this is the same guy who created God of War. Anyway looking forward it playing it later this year, I'm a big fan of Twisted Metal. It's a shame the series has never really taken off in Australia, but I hope I can rope some friends into buying it and playing it online.

spazz212
spazz212

oh the Australian rating board is gunna hav a blast with this one

zidan4000
zidan4000

how is this news? it was obvious from the beginning that it will get an M , the characters alone look brutal .

franzito
franzito

Ratings are for parents.

j0abell
j0abell

@mjc0961: Sure, never had much of a narrative, but it did always have a nice variety of some pretty dark characters. Where are all the dark characters in this one?

duron2
duron2

Oh well not a big deal.. If people want to play this game.. they will play this game.

moviequest14
moviequest14

Table for morbidity,twisted metal party,table for morbidity? Next unlockable is the ability to throw loved one's corpses behind your car to hit the other opponents..... Well at least he is avoiding the cheap way to make a quick penny (collector's editions) and is more concerned about making a quality game.

Hatemachine25
Hatemachine25

Didn't realize a bunch of psychotic, misanthropic, lunatics driving cars capable of making Mad max seem like drivers ed for hot wheels cars even NEEDED storylines, but OK. Whatever floats yer boats and gets people pumped for it to go out and wreck massive carnage and laugh maniacally as you drag some poor sucker behind your car as the impromptu FLAG in games of CTF. truth be told seeing THAT footage alone told me the series has returned to being ya know FUN!

Cartr1dgeBased
Cartr1dgeBased

@mjc0961 i agree. twisted metal has always been about multiplayer fun the story stuff is there because it needs to have some framework but thats it. on a sidenote. i wish they would explain whats going on with this carolyn person

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

My issue with the game is it seems to have gone from "gripping narrative with deep and dark characters" to just another multiplayer-focused game.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

I have never played a Twisted Metal game before and was getting interested in giving this one a go. Less interested now but might well give it a rent!!

j0abell
j0abell

I'm just worried it'll feel more like a Sweet Tooth spin-off than a Twisted Metal game, what with Sweet Tooth riding around on everyone else's vehicles and all, in his own linear story, instead of being just one driver in a tournament. Still, willing to give it a chance before knocking it..

Sling_Master
Sling_Master

"...there isn't a Twisted Metal Collector's Edition planned. He hopes to keep it that way, as he thinks the chintz that is often packed in with limited-run, premium packages isn't what the release should be about." Amen, brother. I'll be picking this up, whether it has some cheap crap in the box or not. Twisted Metal lives!

TheArcade
TheArcade

Yayyy all the hardcore content imagineable, an M rating is appropriate for Twisted Metal. Hell most of us bought it when we were a teenager, now we're full grown adults.

SLAMMIN23
SLAMMIN23

i never played twisted metal before this game im going get but i do wish this game would be rated T is the blood and gore for this game going to be online or offline modes when u play this game

monson21502
monson21502

i was looking forward to this game untill i seen the transformers... no thanks:(