February 25, 2007

Opening a can of worms

It was hard to even write this post because I kind of just wanted to ignore what was going with all of the coverage. Until I got a phone call from a friend who was like dude you are drinking now, WTF!

I never imagined so many outlets would pick up the whole car story but I was so wrong. At first I thought it was kind of funny because lots of friends and co-workers were making light of it but then it all went a bit sour. Kotaku thought the story was kind of boring I guess so they decided to give it a little more spice by saying I was drunk. OK this is where I sort of draw the line because personally I have never taken a drink ever, not to say there is anything wrong with that, but for me it has just been something I stayed away from as a rule.

I am not mad at Kotaku but more puzzled as why did they felt the need to imply this falsehood, was the story too boring? I mean at least Joystiq took the time to figure out how much the bet would cost me and even went on to make speculation of the blog entry being a marketing ploy, I can assure you this not the case. Although I can see how this could be the case with the fowl up by Sony in the past which we all have a good laugh at, its like sometimes you win and sometimes you get made fun of on the internet. That being said I cannot really complain about being made fun of on the Internet, I was stupid and deserve it… hell I made the post just for that reason. In the end feel free to continue to make fun of this situation because I am laughing about it (except the drunk thing) but try to at least read the post, maybe even fact check, or ask for a comment like a journalist. It makes me wonder how much of anything I read on some of these sites is not quite accurate which really makes me not interested in reading them at all but then again it’s the internet so whatever. In writing this I am surely asking for more reticule but I’d rather set the story straight so here goes.

The bet was stupid and I will probably not honor it just because we make idiot bets like this all the time and no one ever pays up. The April fools joke comments sound like a good way out as well! Maybe I will rent the car for a day or something just to make fun of the bet itself, we can drive around Santa Monica like we are rich for a day and then return it as we return to reality. I wish game developers were paid enough to roll around in nice cars and such but the reality of it is that most game developers live in apartments with roommates or perhaps a condo with their girlfriend or boyfriend. Now this is not to say that we are not paid well, I cannot complain in the least because I do have a place to live, a car to drive, and food on the table. I mean we love what we do so we work crazy hours to bring great games to the public because honestly that is all we want as well, I love playing great games and even bad games because I know someone sat down and put a lot of effort into creating that experience.

We at Sony Santa Monica also try to put ourselves out there to the people. Everyone tries to answer questions, leave our work emails open to the fans, write blogs, etc... so when people made comments like I was trying seem all rich and snooty that made me feel bad but it was my own fault because I can see how the post could be taken that way. I would like to say I am sorry for that.

Also I am NOT really trying to persuade people from buying the game, I guess my dry humor does not come off so well in type. I just want to clear that up because I hope the game sells well because the team worked very hard to create something for the fans and hopefully new fans.

At the end of the day I am just a guy doing what he loves and hopes people love what I am doing… knowing this makes it easier to be away from friends, family, and life while you are creating these games… thanks for reading.

February 16, 2007


When I get tired my mind begins to wander and fills with Nostalgia… it’s like comfort food but for the brain. I love feeling like a kid and me feeling like a kid is Ohio… sure most think I am crazy when I talk about home but I love it, I miss it, I want to go back about every other day. Ohio is my Nostalgic Neverland, filled with sights of secret G.I. Joe forts, kickball games in St. Joseph’s parking lot, and that TV where I first took on Gannon. It’s all there, the building blocks of my imagination; the skill set that allows me to wade through the vast ambiguity of being a game designer.

I’ll be completely honest; I would love to build my entire video game career around Nostalgia. Connecting the dots from the "now" to the "then" so to speak always seems to trigger some sort of reaction in people’s minds. I mean the games I respond to most usually make me feel like a kid again because some “First Experience” has been tapped into which holds a special place in my universe because it was a “First Experience”! Take Calling All Cars for instance… made me think of this cops and robbers tag game we played as kids called Jail Break. I remembered the first time I played that game it was great, 20 kids running around 2 city blocks telling kids to go to jail or freeing all the kids from jail. Even though Calling All Cars does not play like this tag game exactly, it has some of the same elements at the macro level, small playfield, cops, robbers, and a jail, which triggered the response in me.

Could designing games that trigger an emotional response be that simple? Just tap into a “First Experience” and bam you’re done! Of course this is not the case but it could be the building blocks for many games to come by selecting some “First Experience” which almost all people deal with in their lives. I mean to be honest I would say Fumito Ueda and his team are already doing this, it could be argued that both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are about a “First Experience”. Ico seems to be about a “First Love”, perhaps even “First Kiss”… I know I would go out of my way to never let anything happen to the girl that touched my life like that for the first time. Shadow of the Colossus seems to be about “First Loss”… again I would do just about anything to get back my great grandmother when I heard she passed away. I know that even if I were correct in saying these games are about those feelings, the theme alone is not something that will carry the game but if the theme is strong and true then it will resonate with people far beyond the idea that it is just a game.


After all that I find this a little interesting. Ask someone something about their own past and once in a while they will usually start by saying something like “The first time”. I love me some Nostalgia!

February 12, 2007

What was I thinking?

Ok, when you work a lot and hang out with the same people everyday you tend to do stupid things because you are bored and wished you had a real life. Normally these stupid things are relegated to food eating challenges and hey do this and I will give you a dollar but one day we (God of War designers) were really tired, I mean really tired and this crazy bet came up. The bet kinda goes like this if God of War 2 sells 500,000 copies by April 1st I have to lease a Maserati Quattoporte for one year and drive these idiots to lunch everyday. It was pretty funny at the time and everyone was laughing because it was so outrageous which was cool because it was the only bright spot of that day which is really sad if you think about it. So here is the car...

stupid bet

Well the bet spread around the office and people would not stop talking about what color I should get and if they could go for a ride or how fucking stupid I am for making a bet like that. Don't get me wrong because I like to tease and don't mind being teased a little but I might have to blow my entire savings on this bet, NOT COOL AT ALL. The worst thing about it is that all I get out of it if I win is like free lunch for a year or something stupid like that which proves how tired I was during the inception of this whole thing.

Now the game is done and the first reviews are out and OH SHIT people like it which is great but bad for me! I thought this was a safe bet and there was no way we would ever do those kinds of numbers first month but then I start hearing about pre-orders from Gamestop being great and all this other stuff and now good reviews... I am so screwed!!! So if you are a gamer and overall mean person then run out and buy God of War 2 day one and have a laugh at my expense as I become bankrupt. Now if you a gamer and overall nice person run out and buy God of War 2 after April 1st and feel good knowing you saved me from becoming bankrupt.

Regardless of our sales, Congrats to all the people involved with God of War 2, we busted ass on this thing for 2 years and finally it has to come to an end, well almost since we are still a month away from ship. Oh nevermind that the picture is from the future, it's cool Kratos is good friends with John Titor... (pictured credited to our own Jimmy Olsen, Sir William Weissbaum)


Special thanks to the Derek, Jason, Adam (Combat Team), and the Animators, I could not imagine working with anyone else... Level Designers you are special too so don't feel left out!

Oh and that Cory guy for not making me take the long and lonely Bruce (ok is was David on the show) Banner walk a few years ago with the sad music that was rejected from All My Children during the credits of the Hulk TV Show. I will totally be in the documentary next time if there is a shot of me walking to my car with the backpack and that music playing after you yell at me, PROMISE!