Who was there: Twisted Metal game directors David Jaffe and Scott Campbell, as well as Eat Sleep Play's creative director Kellan Hatch.
What they talked about: Jaffe shared some details about the characters and story in Twisted Metal. The four main characters are Sweet Tooth, Preacher, Dollface, and Mr. Grimm. They are all participating in the Twisted Metal competition, once again overseen by Calypso, who dangles the promise of a wish fulfilled for the victor. Though there won't be origin stories per se, players will find out information about each character's backstory, such as the creation of Sweet Tooth's mask, Dollface's vain psychotic break, Preacher's righteous crusade, and Mr. Grimm's childhood trauma. These story elements will be revealed with live-action cutscenes in the single-player campaign. A making-of video played during the panel showed convincingly costumed characters performing scenes against a green-screen backdrop. Jaffe explained how they originally wanted to get away from the notorious live-action scenes of the series' past, but they came back around to the idea when they reasoned that Blizzard and Infamous had cornered the market on CG and animated comic cutscenes, respectively. Jaffe said they were going to be heavily tweaking the footage in postproduction and referenced the opening credits from the Watchmen as a source of inspiration.
Jaffe then went on to discuss the Nuke multiplayer mode previously outlined in GameSpot's Twisted Metal Updated Impressions and confirmed that the game would feature two-player and four-player online split-screen play. He clarified that in gameplay footage, the second person leaning out the passenger side window is not another player but rather an AI companion. He also confirmed that downloadable content is in the works for the game but promised that he would "go down kicking and screaming" before he allowed it to manifest as a $5 costume pack.
Jaffe closed out the panel by talking about "what could have been"-- ideas for this iteration of Twisted Metal that never came to fruition. The first was Twisted Metal: Apocalypse, a game set after the destruction of civilization. One piece of concept art featured a bombed-out Mount Rushmore in the background, and others showed broken freeways and skeletal skyscrapers. The other was a version apparently inspired by games like Midnight Club, a slicker, more modern-looking take on the franchise. Sweet Tooth was reimagined as a svelte, bald gangster with a flaming tattoo on his head, and different factions included Yakuza and the police. As Jaffe put it, this would have been "like a Michael Mann version of Twisted Metal."
Quotes: "No." - David Jaffe when asked if Twisted Metal would support 3D visuals or the PlayStation Move.
"Dollface came out of… not my ex-wife. My ex-wife is a great lady…" - Jaffe describing the inspiration for the character of Dollface.
"I wanna do a million dollar hardcore Sweet Tooth slasher flick exclusive to PSN." - David Jaffe
The Takeaway: Twisted Metal is a franchise that Eat Sleep Play and fans alike have a lot of stock in, and the developer is working hard to make sure this version exceeds expectations.
Random Fact/Who Knew?: They were going to give away Sweet Tooth masks at the panel, but they hadn't successfully made it through toxicity tests.