Jaffe in no rush for next gen
David Jaffe, the outspoken creator of God Of War and Twisted Metal, is in no rush for the next generation of consoles, telling us he "couldn't care less" about the prospect of new hardware.
Wii U is due later this year, and rumours continue to swirl concerning new consoles from Microsoft and Sony. In an interview, however, Jaffe tells us that he's not excited at the prospect because, simply put, he's seen it all before.
"I couldn't care less about next-gen," he tells us, ahead of the European release of Twisted Metal this Friday. "I started at Sony Imagesoft doing Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games, and I went through that to PS1, then PS2, PS3, Vita… You go through the cycle enough and you realise today's 'Oh my fucking God' is tomorrow's 'Ehh, whatever'.
"Ultimately, this is all going to be yesterday's news and it's about the experience, the game. Unless we're talking about holodecks, or AI that's so amazing it can actually write a compelling story around you procedurally based on your choices, I'm not interested."
We caught up with Jaffe following his talk at last month's DICE Summit in Las Vegas, the content of which does much to put his next-gen apathy in context. Calling for reduced reliance on filmic language and the trappings of Hollywood, he urged developers to put videogame story progression back in the hands of players.
He's also preparing to leave Eat Sleep Play, the studio he co-founded with Scott Campbell in 2007, at the end of the month. He intends to set up a new studio of his own, with a broad remit spanning mobile and browser games as well as what's always been seen as his wheelhouse: big-budget console development.
A new generation of consoles would, he admits, make it much harder for the more ambitious projects to get made; rather than a focus on horsepower, he hopes console manufacturers work instead on functionality, looking to handhelds for how to speed up the unnecessary "ramp-up time," the endless splash and warning screens, when a game is loaded up – something he bemoaned at GDC last year.
"I'm no longer that excited about next-gen technology; it means budgets go up," he says. "It sucks. The biggest thing I want is what you get from the PSP and the 3DS – it's always on, there's a sleep mode and I can just hit a button and I'm right back where I was and I don't have to go through all the boot-up shit."
The above are extracts from our latest An Audience With feature, in which Jaffe discusses his plans for the future, the problem with videogame storytelling and how Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing led him to quit Eat Sleep Play and strike out on his own. It's in our new issue, E239, which should be with subscribers any day now and will be on newsagents' shelves from tomorrow.