Games are sort of like porn

Says GOW dev David Jaffe.

In a lengthy speech delivered at the D.I.C.E. Summit, God of War creator David Jaffe has criticised the games industry for its attempts to imitate Hollywood movies and failure to offer decent wages.

"Why is it that every game pitch I hear has to be like a movie? Developers come and say 'It's like a Tarantino movie' or 'It's like a Spielberg picture,'" Jaffe said.

"It makes me frustrated, sad and embarassed and annoyed that we have to look at other media in order to ape them."

Jaffe referred to movie tie-in Peter Jackson's King Kong to illustrate his point, stating: "A lot of reviews praised King Kong's lack of a HUD. But what's wrong with a HUD? What's wrong with a health bar that feels good to the player when he replenishes it? And why are we applauded in the press for abandoning the native language of videogames?"

But although he condemned both games journalists and developers for their "obsession with cinema", Jaffe admitted: "I am guilty of that as well, because God of War was inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark." However, he explained, he wanted the game to give players the experience of watching Indiana Jones as a ten year-old, rather than "being" Indiana Jones themselves.

Jaffe said it was difficult to tell where the games industry will go next, stating: "It's like the porn industry... Sort of. I read about this guy who has this topless review that he is trying to add art to, and it's bombing. Maybe games fall into that slot."

"Some days, I think games can be something else, the next great entertainment media. And then other days, I feel it's just like porn or motion rides, where there's no capacity to reach high emotional levels."

Jaffe complained that although there are plenty of creative game developers around, "We don't have a lot of directors, writers and actors who can build on the craftsman's skills."

"You have to wonder what would happen if we had more people with creative sensibilities; if more games had a soul, had something to say, something that resonates."

He also expressed resentment over the fact that those who create games receive paltry wages compared to Hollywood directors and screenwriters, telling the audience: "I'm really frustrated with the way the industry is structured. There is a sense of being kind of exploited. It's an industry problem."

But, Jaffe said, he has no intention of leaving the industry, or of leaving his role at Sony to start his own studio - despite the fact that he went "nuts" during the God of War development process due to the pace of work and long hours involved.

"If Sony came to me and told me, 'We're making God of War 2', I might have to decline," Jaffe said, before admitting: "I can stand up here and say I won't do it; until they kick me out, I'm not going anywhere."

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

Contributor  |  elliegibson

Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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