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Jaffe hopes to avoid Twisted Metal online pass

Talks sales hopes, delays and the Skyrim bug.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Twisted Metal co-creator David Jaffe is hoping to avoid implementing an online pass in the forthcoming PlayStation 3 car combat title.

Speaking in an interview with Eurogamer this week, the Eat Sleep Play boss explained that not including one could help build the title's potential fanbase.

"I know that we have been asked to look into some code work for it but I don't believe that a decision has been made at this point. Or if it has been made it has not been shared with me yet," he said.

"I'd actually prefer that we don't do it, even though it's probably good business, only because we have such a mountain to climb in terms of gaining people's good faith, especially in Europe, and really letting people know that this is a title that's worth getting excited about."

Considering the game's focus on multiplayer, Jaffe argued that ensuring there are as few hurdles as possible to gamers getting online and enjoying the game is crucial for the long term health of the franchise.

"I'm okay with the fact that we might lose sales on this first game if, because of it, we generate a lot of fans that otherwise wouldn't have played the game. The online is so much the bread and butter of this game, so I'm okay with it because it means we're setting ourselves up for a possible return to the franchise one day."

However, he added that the final decision is out of his hands.

"It's not my call and I'd totally understand if Sony as a company said 'Look, this is a mandate that permeates all of our titles. We're not making selective choices'. Those are decisions that I'm no longer privy to as I don't work for Sony any more."

Elsewhere in the interview, Jaffe also expanded on the decision to delay the game until February 2012, insisting that the move had nothing to do with Sony wanting to dodge the November games rush, as some have suggested.

"That wasn't the reason," Jaffe stated. However, he conceded that pulling the game out of the path of Modern Warfare 3 and Skyrim was an additional boon.

"I'd wear that as a badge of honour. Anyone who is basically not living in that quadruple-A stratosphere would be wise to get the f*** out of the way of that oncoming train.

"The fact that we swim in waters where it's not done for a developer or a publisher to admit that your game isn't currently one of those juggernauts, that doesn't necessarily speak about the quality of Twisted Metal. It just speaks to the fact that we know where it sits in the zeitgeist and we know where it sits in terms of marketing dollars and the hype machine."

Jaffe reiterated that the game was pushed back so that developer Eat Sleep Play could fine-tune the title's multiplayer and iron out any remaining bugs.

"Everyone occasionally daydreams and has delusions of grandeur. For us, the biggest thing with Twisted Metal, aside from re-establishing the brand, was this fantasy that in four or five year's time it's still looked on as a multiplayer classic. Sort of an e-sport which is finely balanced and, graphics-aside, still this great, wonderful, multiplayer experience.

"That's what we've been spending our time on - just tuning it, adjusting weapons, minutiae stuff. The firing rates of certain vehicles. It's been time well-spent and time that we're very grateful that we were allowed to have."

On the subject of pre-release fine-tuning, Jaffe also touched on the furore surrounding the widely-publicised bugs currently hobbling the PlayStation 3 version of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

"Do we have a duty to ship a game that's bug-free within reason? 100 per cent yes," he said.

"The problem is that definition of 'within reason' is a moving target depending on who you ask. The first games I worked on were one-shot deals on SNES cartridges. When you were done you were done. And so yeah, I certainly come up from a school that doesn't want to ship buggy games.

"But there are always bugs in games. You'd mention the Skyrim bug, which I've not encountered yet. If you're talking about that kind of thing where the game gets really laggy to the point where it's unplayable, yeah, I would say that if we found a bug in our game that had that kind of an issue we would certainly do our best to make sure we didn't ship with it.

"But every game is a battle for the developers, and I don't know the war stories of Skyrim so I'm in no position to judge good or bad about why they did what they did. I know they've made one of the best games of the year, if not the best."

As noted earlier this year, Twisted Metal is a franchise that has never enjoyed the same level of success in Europe as it has in the US. Jaffe insisted that Eat Sleep Play is being realistic with its sales expectations this time around. Its first target is making Sony's initial investment back.

"Anything beyond that is gravy," he said.

"We're not living under any allusions that we're going to do Call of Duty numbers, or even Uncharted 3 numbers. Anything is possible but I think Twisted Metal is... in terms of value and fun factor and quality, I would put the multiplayer toe-to-toe with Call of Duty, Battlefield, Uncharted 3, if you like this kind of game. We're worth every penny and more.

"This might come back and bite me on the butt - I don't care - but do I sit here and have moments where I'm like 'I can really see us being nominated for some best multiplayer, best shooter awards next year'? I do. That's how proud I am of it."

Jaffe was kind enough to hand Eurogamer some brand new screens from the game, which you can check out below. Our recent Twisted Metal preview offers further detail.

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