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David Jaffe: Twisted Metal is 'meant to engage your brain'

God of War creator David Jaffe explains how looks can be deceiving, and how his latest work, Twisted Metal, is more respectful to the medium than his previous attempts.
David Jaffe's career has taken some interesting twists and turns over the last few years. After truly making his name with the original God of War in 2005, he worked on a PSP game called Heartland. The game, which he described as "dark" and intended to "evoke emotion" never saw the light of day. Now, he's back with Twisted Metal for PlayStation 3 -- big, loud, dumb, and action-packed. What did he learn over this difficult journey? "A big, big, big lesson," Jaffe told Gamasutra recently. "I got a better understanding of the language of games, and what makes games special." God of War might have been a big hit, he says, but "it wasn't speaking to the medium as respectfully, as powerfully, as intentionally, as I want to speak to the medium." However, he says, "A lot of people hear that and think I want to go off and make iOS abstract Tetris games, just pure abstraction, and it's not that." "I think the biggest thing i learned is that I don't want to try to make movies through games," Jaffe says. Instead, he wants to create "experiences that speak respectfully and powerfully using the language of interactivity." "Games kind of got off on a bit of a wrong track that was really appealing," he says, once CD-ROMs began to enable cinematics in games. "It wasn't necessarily the only track we should have got off on." "I don't want to try and make a cinematic game, I want to try and make a great game," says Jaffe. How in the world does a throwback title like Twisted Metal play into that? "The way I think of Twisted Metal is that it's kind of the shallow end of the pool, and the deep end of the pool," he argues. "People might say that it's a throwback, in that in its first initial glance it's old school. "Some of it was intentional and some of it was accidental... we really did begin to realize that what made the game special was the multiplayer tactical, strategic, meaty, nutritious gameplay." In other words, he says, what makes Twisted Metal significant is that it's "not just the surface of blowing shit up." The game is "meant to engage your brain and try and make really cool choices." The full interview, in which Jaffe discusses in greater depth what he thinks of design and evoking emotion through pure gameplay, will be live on Gamasutra next week. Later this week, Gamasutra will also have live coverage of Jaffe's talk at the upcoming DICE Summit.

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