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Jaffe attacks "games as art" contenders

Demands journos call out dev "bulls***".

Outspoken Twisted Metal creator David Jaffe has detailed the latest bee to crawl under his bonnet: artsy video games that focus on style over content.

A new blog post from the veteran developer and notorious motormouth argued that developers concentrating on a refined surface presentation are holding back developers from scaling the genuine 'games as art' mountain.

"Just because there's wind blowing and a minimal soundtrack and vast open spaces to explore and a slow pace doesn't mean that the game you are playing is art," he wrote in the long, rambling opinion piece.

"And just because a game's story and presentation contains elements you've see in the 'big boy movies' doesn't make a game adult or mean the medium is maturing.

"These are all surface elements that - while challenging as anything else in games to produce well - do not speak to the maturation of the medium one iota."

He then moved to make fawning game journalists complicit in this damaging downward trend.

"I'm tired of seeing gamers - and game journalists especially - falling for this. Game journalists of all people need to be calling us developers out on our smoke and mirrors bullshit.

"If we really want to get to the top of the mountain we have to be honest about the current state of the 'art'.

"Just because your game wears the trappings of relevancy does not make it relevant," he continued. "Any more than putting on a beret and a black turtle neck and sitting outside a Parisian cafe makes you one of the intelligentsia."

Alas, Jaffe didn't highlight which games he deems to be the worst offenders, but pointed the finger at developers whose titles "shout from the rooftops that 'this is important and artistic and meaningful'."

"Real art and genuinely important work doesn't need to continually toot its own horn. The very nature of something being artistic and important means that - except in rare cases - its power is evident without anyone having to tell you that it is.

"And the sooner the people who write about games for a living start reporting on this angle of the story, the sooner us developers will be forced to s*** or get off the pot."

You'll be able to sniff out any signs of artistry in Jaffe's next game, a Twisted Metal reboot, when it launches on PlayStation 3 later this year.

This isn't the God of War creator's first rant of the year. Earlier this month he had a pop at the current vogue game developers for patience-sapping system updates.

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Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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