David Jaffe goes indie

God of War director founds Eat Sleep Play; three-game deal with Sony to start with PS2 port of Twisted Metal: Head On.

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Last year David Jaffe made it known that he wanted to test the waters of smaller-scale, downloadable games, starting with the PlayStation 3 title Calling All Cars! (originally titled Criminal Crackdown). Now the director and designer of God of War is venturing out into another new frontier: independent development.

Jaffe has updated his blog (warning: profanity) with news that today is his last day as a Sony employee, as he has joined up with Incognito founder Scott Campbell (designer of Downhill Domination and producer of Twisted Metal: Black) to form the independent studio Eat Sleep Play. While the outfit is an independent, it has already signed an exclusive three-game deal with Sony to make console and handheld games.

"We met with some other interested parties," Jaffe wrote, "but at the end of the day, Sony is our home, our family, and we're really thrilled and honored they wanted to work with us and continue the relationship we've spent almost 15 years cultivating."

The first game to come from the collaboration will be a PlayStation 2 port of the PlayStation Portable launch title Twisted Metal Head On, which Campbell directed. Set for release this year, Head On for the PS2 will include the original PSP game, but will run at 60 frames per second with higher-resolution textures and alterations to the gameplay. It will also include up to seven levels that were originally intended to be included in a sequel to Twisted Metal: Black, as well as a Twisted Metal series retrospective.

The first original game from the Sony-Eat Sleep Play deal is slated for 2008. While the studio is based in Utah, Jaffe will telecommute from San Diego, much in the same way he worked with Incognito and SingleTrac, he said.

"[I]t's what we wanted: to go independent and see where we could steer our very own ship," Jaffe wrote. "Granted, our new ship is no longer the grand, unstoppable beast that is Sony. Instead, it's a smaller vessel, scrappy even, manned with a crew of experienced sailors who felt the need to venture out into the unknown seas and see what we could see. And the cool thing is, a small as our ship is, it's not the least bit scary. It's exciting as hell. It feels right; like the time is right, the crew is ready, and the grand voyage is just beginning."

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