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Jaffe’s Gaffe? (or, Developer IP Part II)

2005.07.27.13.30 · No Comments

Okay, God of War is getting a movie. It’s a great game, and some of it’s core themes, Greek mythology and barbarianism, are ones that game creator and director David Jaffe has enjoyed since school. (He said as much in a great interview over at Eurogamer.) But I’m wandering what, if any, compensation he will get from the movie. Bet your ass it’s going to be well publicized that it’s from a SONY videogame. But will he get a credit in the movie at all? And if so will it be as character creator, a nod like “Thanks to,” or an even lesser “Sony would like to thank…”? Or will it wind up as just a trivia fact on Jaffe’s IMDB page?

(edit: Thank Christ my doom and gloom thinking is completely wrong. He’s involved in the pic, read about it on his blog here, and the whole process was started by a seemingly good crew, Mosiac Entertainment.)

I don’t point this out to poke fun at Jaffe. He seems like a kickass guy that has made kickass games and runs a kickass blog. He likes comics and was a co-creator of Twisted Metal. Twisted Metal for Christ’s sake! Wait, you didn’t know that? Well, that’s the problem I’m talking about. I write this to point out that there’s a problem somewhere when a guy like this says:

the thing to understand about my perspective is that NAME ON THE BOX is a stepping stone to the more important aspect of CASH, and how much cash the publisher feels the key folks are worth (versus the brand name being more important). And if you look at it from a movie standpoint, you are right in that the majority of people choose genres before actors and choose actors before directors….butthe difference between games and movies in that respect is that even though most MOVIEGOERS don’t know who MICHAEL BAY is or who TOM SHADYAC is (both huglely successful film directors), the STUDIOS DO know who they are and pay them many millions because of their track record….so it’s not about being recognized by game fans (or even laypersons)…it’s about getting the same kind of financial respect for proven ability and success that we see in other industries….My theory is that this is not happening right now in game because big game success game be generated via the BRAND NAME and an average game. BUT- once we get amazing game makers who mix art and commerce- then the publishers will see those kinds of games blowing away the average games that are jsut brand based and not emotionally/artistic ally driven.

Dude, you ARE an amazing game maker who’s mixing art and commerce. Okay, granted you’re not gaming’s Orson Welles, on that front I blame Will Wright for being EA’s bitch, but you’ve got a pretty damn good track record going. You should be complaining in your blog about a once-a-month-if-not-week phone call during family dinner from developers and other publishers looking to steal you away from Sony, but you won’t leave because Sony has thrown fat cash at you. That you aren’t says much about the industry. Unless, of course, you just aren’t mentioning that part to us. And in that case, good for you.

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