Saturday, December 31, 2011
BAD NEWS: Contest won't be decided tonite. I'll post results tomorrow or worst case Monday.
GOOD NEWS: Holy cow there is some AMAZING stuff ya'll are sending in and hell- since I'm running late- if anyone out there missed the deadline, go ahead and as long as I get it by tomorrow around 3pm California time, you're in!
MORE GOOD NEWS: There's just too much good stuff to give away one prize! The grand prize winner still gets all I promised but I'm prob gonna hand out at least 1-2 other runner up prizes cause there's just some amazing stuff ya'll are sending in!
Sorry I'm running behind on this- my apologies- just not enough hours in the day :(...but I'll get it done in the next day or so, I promise!
Ok- gotta get the night rolling!
Have a safe, happy, and fun as hell NEW YEARS! HAPPY 2012 YA'LL!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
1- That's fair. I'm the same: unless I get the details I want, why would a game maker (or a maker of ANY product) expect my cash? I'm with you on that. As for the single player, specific details will hit in the new year.
2- Since you bothered to write, let me try to shed a little light on the campaign game (1p and split screen co-op). First off, it's the most varied Twisted campaign we've ever done. It's not just the rinse/repeat death match over and over of the old games. BUT it's not a mission based GTA style game, either. So don't buy the new TM expecting some sort of BATMAN:ARKHAM CITY story mode, cause the game's not that.
3. Game has three characters (Tooth; Grimm; Dollface). Each character has an opening, mid, and end movie. In between the movies, each character has 6 unique events spread across 8 levels. The last of the events is a totally unique boss, designed specifically for that character/chapter.
4. Each event is still very much tied into the core idea of vehicle combat. But the individual events/goals are more varied. For example:
*we've thrown some combat races in there (i.e. Calypso has strapped bombs to every vehicle...you must race the other cars to reach the detonation gate that arms the bombs and then be the first vehicle back at the starting line that hits the detonator pad that blows up all the other vehicles in the race....and the LAST race ((there are three of them)) has the detonator pad inside a moving semi truck that's racing down the freeway so things get nuts!)
* Two of the races force you to race thru gates that make up the course. You can bypass these gates for sure, but miss too many and your bomb goes off and you die. The harder the difficulty setting, the fewer the gates you can miss.
*We have modes that contain armed-for-bear semi trucks that can take you our fast and that spawn enemies out the back. These guys don't appear on radar so you need to track them and always have a sense of where they are because every 45 seconds or so a new enemy is dropped out the back of their trailer and onto the battlefield so you gotta hunt those semis down and take them out before they spawn so many vehicles that the event becomes impossible to beat.
*We have traditional deathmatch levels that you must fight INSIDE these electric cages that move around the level, forcing the fight to various areas of the map. Some of the cage configurations are big, some are super small and tense. And you can only be outside the cage for 30 seconds before your health begins to drain when you are outside the cage. So you have to manage your grace period carefully (leaving the cage at the opportune moments to grab weapons or use the 100% full health regen semi from Calypso industries, etc).
*Straight up traditional 'kill all enemies in the level to advance' levels.
* Endurance battles where enemies never stop spawning but you must take out 8 or 10 or 12 to win the event.
...so stuff like that. We feel it keeps the campaign unique and fresh while still staying true to the franchise (i.e. again, it's not turned into a mission based single player game).
* Once you finish an event, you can replay it at any time to earn medals (different from trophies). Earn all gold medals to get skins and other elements. Beating the game on HARD gives you the LASER PISTOL side arm. Getting ALL GOLD on TWISTED mode (the hardest mode) allows you to unlock WARTHOG. Both of these items (a side arm and a full on vehicle) can only be earned in campaign mode. So if you see someone online with either, you know they are pretty elite players!
Again, more details to come in the new year, but that should give you an idea of where we are headed.
5- I was going to say don't call me Jaffeyboy. But hell, you walk around head held high calling yourself 'megamixer' which means you probably would not understand why you calling me Jaffeyboy comes off as disrespectful and annoying :).
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Oh, before I go, check this out:
To the rest of ya, here's the deal: as we race towards the Twisted Metal February 14th launch day I wanna start making sure this stuff gets out to the true fans of the series. But since it's so limited-and since I love games-I ain't just GIVING it out...I'm gonna make you play for it! :)
Yeah, yeah, contests and the like! So here's the first one for those who are into such tomfoolery.
TWISTED CONTEST #1: SHOW YOUR TWISTED SPIRIT
So all week long I've been getting packages at the house for Christmas. I saw this on the front porch this morning and assumed it was another of the many Phineas and Ferb or Monster High toys I had ordered for to put under the tree for the kids. But low and behold, check out what was inside:
Here's a better shot:
...but that ain't all! Cause it's the holiday season- and cause this is the very first TM GIVEAWAY CONTEST, I'm gonna throw in even more. If you win this contest, you get one of the shirts above plus you'll get this stuff too:
That there is a still in the package Sweet Tooth action figure and one of the fully assembled cardboard Tooth trucks that you may have seen over the last few months at various stores (Gamestop, Best Buy, etc.)
About the truck: there's a spring I THINK that lets you attach the head to the rooftop so it bobbles and such but I lost mine (or my kids did) so that's why the head in the pic is sitting in front (cause it's a pic of the one I have sitting in my office). If you win the thing, you'll get a brand new one in an unopened box. It'll SHOULD contain the disassembled truck, the cardboard head and guns, the spring (again, I THINK there's a spring), and instructions for how to put it together.
Ok so here's the details:
THE RULES PART I: Send in SOMETHING to show your TM love/passion/fandom. But it's gotta be something you made or had someone make for you. Cos play, fan art, a video (no more than 1-2 min) with you doing some TM poetry or some such shit or hell, just telling us why you love/like the series. Anything really, long as it's legal and follows these rules :)...
THE RULES PART II: Entries due by 9am Pacific Time on Dec 31st. At midnight California time- aka NEW YEAR'S EVE- I'll announce the winner (be it on this blog or via my twitter if I'm not at home...still don't know NYE plans yet...but the twitter feed is on the top upper right of the blog so you can still find it there if you don't subscribe to tha twitter)...The winner is totally up to me and I may or may not explain my logic/reasoning for why I chose the winner. But hell, I'm sure I will explain it. Hell, I will probably comment on this very blog about any and all submissions as well :)...
THE RULES PART III: ANYTHING you send in I can use however I like. Meaning I can post it on this blog and hell, if Sony's ok with it, when the TM blog launches in a few weeks, I may put it up there as well. If you are not ok with that, please don't send stuff in. There will be other contests that may be more to your liking once the new year starts.
THE RULES PART IV: Please do not send me ideas or fan faction or ANYTHING with your own ideas for NEW stuff (i.e. no new characters or vehicles or levels or anything like that). I don't want to see your ideas and legally I am not allowed to. If it seems people are not getting this concept (i.e. I AM getting submissions with new, original ideas) I'll have to stop this contests cause it just opens up way too many potential problems.
THE RULES PART V: You don't have to make something brand new. Sending in older TM stuff is fine but I'm only human and if I've seen it before- even if I loved it at the time- it's prob lost some of its 'first time seen' power so it may not resonate as strong for me. Just so ya know...
THE RULES PART VI: I'm gonna post everything on the blog that I get sent for this contest. So I MAY have people vote for the best instead of me making the choice. OR I may give out the above described prize set to the one I dig most and then sent a tee-shirt (or maybe an identical prize set, not sure yet) to the one that gets the most votes...not sure yet. So just be aware.
Ok- so I THINK that's all the rules! Any questions, fire away in the comments.
Oh, I forgot! I made you some cookies! Here:
Ok- off to TinTin! Talk soon- and again, have a fantastic, fun as hell, and VERY SAFE Holiday! Talk sometime next week I'm sure!
ps. be sure to check the PS BLOG next week sometime (I THINK Wednesday?) for a special surprise announcement that I'm sure will make old school Twisted fans happy! And no- this is not the 'big surprise' I was talking about that we'll drop sometime soon in the new year. Next week's announcement is more of a nice 'thanks' that Sony put together for the harder core, old school TM fans. Check it out!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Regarding the TM BLACK box: I really love that box art as well but it really taught me a great lesson which is this: in the 60 dollar (i.e. expensive) retail space, box art first and foremost needs to be functional. It can- and should- be evocative and artistic, but more importantly- IF it is to do its job and act as another salesperson for the title- the box needs to catch the eye while explaining- to SOME degree- the experience inside the box that we are asking people to give us 60 bucks for.
The folks inclined to be attracted to a box because it's mostly/only unique or clever or artistic TEND to be a lot of the same folks who read the game sites and already know if they want the game to begin with. The box is really there to catch the eye and mind of folks who've never heard of your title or who have heard of it but are not sold just yet.
So yeah, I loved the TMB box but TMB was also the worst selling TM game in history (other than Small Brawl). And it was released for the #1 console system at the time. Yeah, you could argue the M rating is what did it in and you could argue that POSSIBLY- except among the core fans of the niche genre- that car combat as a genre was on the wane. And those things may have been- and may still be- true. But I have to think the box art- cool as it was- didn't do us any sales favors.
Another great example is the Resistance 3 box art. I think it's a wonderful image and a fantastic artistic box but I think- as a sales tool- it's a pretty terrible box front. I think the new Saint's Row is a FANTASTIC game that has a GREAT, iconic box front but I don't think it serves the game as a sales tool.
Ok ya'll- off to start the day! Talk soon!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
So then here ya go...our box! :)
Monday, December 12, 2011
If you’ve not read Matt’s reply to my blog post from the weekend re ‘is it ok for developers to lie to the press’, please read that first if you don't mind? Thanks! Here ya go!
Ok, so slammed with work and no time to edit so bear with the ramble and repetition please?- THX!
Totally, I get that and I was willing to roll those dice. I think I was so willing to roll the dice cause I consider myself a damn honest interview subject (I’ve talked about everything from my struggles with weight and how the biz exacerbates that struggle to my fears about a game not performing) and so given this was a lie I felt most consumers- once they knew why I did it- would forgive me for, and given that I'm a damn honest person in the press and on my blogs, it was worth the risk.
* Yes, it's a Billy Joel reference :)...
** I do find this is more game centric than other entertainment media reporting. I'm always amazed that a Best Picture or Best Album Rotten Tomato aggregate rating can be in the low to mid 80's and still win such awards but with games, almost all GOTY contenders (and most 'almost GOTY' contenders) seem to come with 9/10 and 10/10 scores and heaps of gushing hyperbole.
***…actually not really, but that would be so cool!)…The Clorox story, I mean. The drug thing would be sad.
***…actually not really, but that would be so cool!)…The Clorox story, I mean. The drug thing would be sad.
****No clue why I suddenly started channeling Diablo Cody.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
New update at end of the post
Turns out Platinum lied to Kotaku about making METAL GEAR: RISING. Truth came out at tonite's Spike VGAS.
I had an interesting Twitter conversation about this with the great reporter who was the one being lied to- Kotaku's Stephen Totilo.
He said there are alternatives to lying such as saying ,'no comment.'
I said in this day and age- and perhaps back in the day as well- saying 'no comment' is/was the same as saying 'well the answer is yes but I can't say yes to you because that would put me in a bad spot'.
Stephen offered up some less obvious phrases than 'no comment' such as 'we don't comment on rumors and speculation' and I think he has a point, that there are some things you can say that really do allow the interviewer and the interviewee to emerge from the conversation with their reps and responsibilities intact. So for me, that was a good lesson to me from Mr. T (ha! I crack me ol' pirate self UP!) and I was done thinking about it.
But then I saw this from Matt Leone, the talented and veteran 1up.com reporter. It's a question to his readers, asking if they dislike it when game developers lie to them. He cites tonight's MGS:Rising lie as well as the one I pulled in order to make sure the Twisted Metal E3 2010 reveal came off as a surprise.
Give it a read. It's pretty interesting, as are the comments from his readers (my analysis of the comments is the vast majority of Matt's readers feel lying is ok if it helps the game and protects secrets the team can't share but it's shitty when it hurts the customer...and I would agree with that view).
One of the things that bugged me about Matt's story was Matt's comment about 'the best spokespeople' are the ones who are able to distract the reporter or find loopholes to throw the reporter 'off the trail' when a reporter asks a question they don't want to answer.
I'm bothered by this because Matt's statement implies that it's accepted and it's simply how things are done that the experienced folks interviewed by the press have a bag of tricks that allow them to not have to lie but still allow the reporter to get a quote that's factual enough to print. I'm bothered that this is accepted and- it seems- and expected way to go about the job of getting and giving an interview.
Why would a journalist be ok with this and accept this status quo as anything other than shitty?!?
Plus, to me, an interview subject that uses 'loopholes' to get out from lying or telling the truth is the WORST spokesman, not the best.
Now look: I am as hard core a believer in journalism as you can get. I believe in the freedom of information act to the point that I would give my life defending it, I DESPISE the way government has treated journalists since the start of the Bush #2 term, I thought how the White House treated poor Helen Thomas- a national treasure, regardless of her views on Palestine- was the epitome of disrespect, and I am in awe of genuinely great reporters who risk reputation and sometimes life in order to give the world the truth. Oh, and Broadcast News is one of my top 10 movies of all time! So there!
But all that said: when did journalists begin to mistake themselves for judges speaking to witnesses who are legally under oath to answer questions truthfully? While there are certainly those great journalists- in every field, from super serious foreign affairs reporting to more fun entertainment reporting- who thankfully take their job very seriously to inform the public, I can say- speaking for myself- that I take my job to entertain the public just as seriously (and sometimes if I have to out and out lie to protect secrets that are going to make our product- that we've slaved for YEARS on, often times over 100 individuals working as a team- more entertaining for the people who pay out bills (i.e. the customers), then I won't even think twice before I do it).
I think I've been pretty open over the years when game journalists ask me all kinds of things and so I think most folks know that I'm a pretty honest individual. But if I can make our customers happier and more excited by lying to a reporter and thus revealing a title at the right time, then that's what I'll do.
And if I can lie to a journalist in order to protect information that will hurt my team if I reveal it, I'll do that in a heartbeat as well.
The only lie I would never tell is one that would hurt the customer (i.e. 'yes, we are shipping with 30 vehicles in the new Twisted Metal' when in fact, I know we will only ship with 17; or releasing screenshots that are CLEARY not representative of anything even close to the game we're shipping or videos that clearly are not representative of the game or the game experience we are shipping). To me, those are lies that HURT the customer and hopefully - if we do engage in that brand of dishonesty- the reporters and- more importantly- our customers-will lose faith in us quickly.
But there's a difference between a lie meant to entertain (i.e. you think the magician on stage sawing the woman in half is supposed to tell you 'now folks, this is all bullshit and I'm not really sawing her in half'?!?) or a lie meant to protect the integrity of the product (i.e. 'Oh Mr. Reporter, your question is ''does Neo turn out to be THE ONE at the end of the Matrix trilogy? Sure, let me tell you that he DOES even though the last movie is still 10 months away!'') and a lie meant to trick your customers into thinking what they are going to pay for is different from what you know you are selling (i.e. saying 'our game is 100+ hours of gameplay!' when it's really only 12). I think reporters should blast the SHIT out of us and then never speak with us again if we lie like the later example because we are hurting their ability to do their job for their paying customers. I get that. But the former types of lies? I don't lose a wink of sleep over them. And I'm just surprised reporters think they are owed those sorts of truths JUST BECAUSE they ask for them!
Tell you what, if you expect us to answer those kinds of questions, then we should expect the same in reverse. I want to know what EXACTLY went down with the Kane and Lynch/Gamespot/Gertsman-gate deal. I want to know which magazines and websites have gotten favors and cash in exchange for good reviews. I want game journalists to publicly stamp a big, digital 'YELLOW JOURNALISM' sticker atop every headline that they intentionally sensationalize just to get clicks. I want to know the sources of all the anonymous tip offs you journalists are given. I have a feeling that if I phrased all of those above desires as direct questions and then asked them to reporters point blank, those reporters would not run the risk of hurting their businesses- and thus their customers- and so would not answer the questions. Be their answer an out and out lie or a 'no comment' (which I would really advise them not to do because- as I said- 'no comment' to a direct question equals a 'yes' in the minds of today's readers), I don't think we'd get a 100% truthful answer from the majority of journalists in the majority of cases. And I would not blame the journalists one bit for not answering. We're not owed those sorts of truths.
(Note: I don't really WANT answers to these above things...well, I mean, I DO, but I respect journalism enough to respect that I will never get those answers, nor should I). But it just seems hypocritical for journalists to feel the world should be laid bare at their feet just cause they ask a question, but they don't want to reciprocate in kind.
I've had- and hope to continue to have- a fantastic and fun relationship with most game journalists in this biz, but I have to say: I am surprised that a reporter thinks they are just naturally owed the truth by people they interview. If they want the truth, they have to be willing to demand it and fight for it in the cases where they think they are being lied to. When you interview the President of the United States and you feel he's lying, pushing back when you feel he/she is dodging your question (or is out and out lying) is good for your audience. But in entertainment journalism I would imagine it's a bit different.
If I told someone we were not making Twisted Metal- which I did- and they had a gut sense I was full of shit (which I was, 100%!)- is it justified for them to sneak into the Shrine to watch and record rehearsals for the Sony E3 Press Conference just to prove I am lying?
I guess for SOME journalists it would be, but is that really what their customers want? Sure, that reporter may have caught me in a lie (a lie that I was happy to turn myself in for 30 min after the press conference started) but is it worth doing that at the expense of being banned from all future Playstation press events for sneaking into a private rehearsal? Speaking truth to George Bush or Obama and not giving a shit about the consequences is good reporting, because getting to the truth trumps all because that is what the people want and need! But doing the same in entertainment reporting? To me, that's a bit nuts. But that's easy for me to say cause I'm the guy who gets to lie and is justifying it :)...
Anyway, interesting topic to me (clearly) and I just wanted to ramble on it. Eager to bump unto my journalist friends in real life soon and get their views on this in person. My mind is willing to be changed; again- big supporter of good, hard news and am in awe of reporters- but at the moment, I'm more surprised by this article than anything else.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
It ain’t JUST used sales.