David Jaffe F-Bombs the EA Louse

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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David Jaffe F-Bombs the EA Louse


Outspoken developer David Jaffe has unleashed an f-bomb-laden blog post in response to the EA Louse in which he wonders what it is about the videogame industry that makes everybody think they know how to do things better than everyone else.

By now you've probably read about Warhammer Online [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/104345-Alleged-Insider-Airs-EAs-Dirty-Laundry] studio Mythic, with a drive-by swipe at BioWare along the way. It was a fun read, salacious and entirely unverifiable, although whether it was a legitimate exposé of serious management dysfunction or just a seriously pissed-off soon-to-be-former employee blowing off steam we'll probably never know, because nobody directly involved with the situation is saying a word about it.

But that leaves lots of people who aren't involved and thus have plenty to say, like the always-entertaining Jaffe, the creative mind behind the God of War [http://www.amazon.com/Twisted-Metal-Playstation-3/dp/B003O6KWZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1287013992&sr=1-1] franchises. He acknowledged that he knows nothing about the situation or the people involved, but is nonetheless not entirely sympathetic to the Louse's complaints.

"No one gives a shit if you or the animators get to express yourselves if in expressing yourself it breaks the fiction of/immersion into the world of the game," Jaffe wrote on his blog [http://criminalcrackdown.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-response-to-ea-louse.html]. "It's not a f*cking art class where everyone gets a chance to 'show what's inside them!'... It's work."

"Games should allow for self expression by members of the team - that is fantastic when that happens and something management should always try to offer up," he continued. "But it's gotta be within context of and in service to the product."

He also expressed frustration with the way many people in the industry think that their ideas and opinions are better than those of the people who are actually in charge of a project. Relating a story about a small group on the original God of War team that was unhappy that the game's relatively simple combat mechanics weren't more like those of Street Fighter 2 or Tekken, he wrote, "Never did it occur to them that we were going for something else... Every few weeks I could count on this little contingency being up in the studio head's office pitching 'their' version of the game, with the goal being to have the head step in - which he never did - and shove their ideas into the title. F*ck it annoys me!"

Jaffe has a point: Artistic vision is nice but the bottom line is that the cogs in the machine have to turn. The Louse's frustration, however, seems to stem not from the corruption of his artistic aspirations but what he sees as incompetence and mismanagement. The truth of that is impossible to measure, but it's hard to deny that Warhammer Online is floundering or that the departure of Mythic co-founder Mark Jacobs was shocking [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/92660-Mark-Jacobs-Departure-Shocks-Mythic-Employees] and just a little bit murky. But at this point, all it really adds up to is people yelling at each other on the internet.

EA, for its part in the drama, told Eurogamer [http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-10-13-laid-off-ea-dev-old-republic-is-a-joke], "We don't respond to rumor or anonymous blogs."


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Korten12

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Aug 26, 2009
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Well that was a good read, lol, wonder if anyone else will speak up.
 

Loonerinoes

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One of the better ways to determine how correct this outburst actually was would be to talk to some of the people named in that post that might actually know of Mythic's artist department on more than just a name basis. Then compare their reactions to what has been asserted from this anonymous source and determine for oneself if their reactions corroborate with what he had asserted in that post of his.

That is if anyone really could give a rat's ass (or in this case louse's) and would not rather just prefer for more events to take place that ascend beyond the realms of rumor or outright anger, be it well-placed or not.
 

cairocat

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This is Escapist, not CNN. do we really need to censor profanity that isn't even our own?
 

2fish

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cairocat said:
This is Escapist, not CNN. do we really need to censor profanity that isn't even our own?
Fuck yes, think of the fucking children. We don't wan that shit to spoil their damn eyes.

I kind of think that this doesn't totally address what the EA louse brought up. Yes the louse sounds like an angry little employee. They may have had their ideas crushed and that may be part of the anger. But what about the claims into starwars mmo hitting trouble and people being forced out of EA?

Time to do some investigative reporting, *runs off to google*.
 

MikailCaboose

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The man is right. If everybody got their little artistic freedom in the peace with no regard to the over-all product, you end up with a complete mess of non-related aspects. Even broad spoof games, like Conker's Bad Fur Day, had a general unity to it, because all of the little quirks were kept related.
 

Soviet Heavy

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I have to agree with Jaffe here, especially when it concerns Warhammer.

If anything in the game wasn't what Games Workshop wanted them to make, they could easily pull the plug on the whole project. You are implored to follow GW's guidelines when working with their brand label.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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cairocat said:
This is Escapist, not CNN. do we really need to censor profanity that isn't even our own?
The site tries to go for a PG-13 feel. So yeah, in order to do that some censoring is needed.

You don't have to though, so yeah, do whatever the fuck you want.
 

Tirnor

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I.E.D. said:
I don't get it. What this has got to do with what EALouse wrote on his blog?

Jaffe was saying stuff about designer self expression in games, not Bioware burning 300 million dollars for a voice over.
Very much this was my response as well. I read the EA Louse blog, hundreds of replies, and a few responses from people mentioned in it. Mr. Jaffe didn't address it at all in the parts quoted here, and I'm left to wonder if he did at all... and if so, why didn't the Escapist quote THOSE parts?
 

Jumplion

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I don't think that's quite what EA Louse was going for, but regardless of that Jaffe is pretty much in the right in this respect. Sometimes you still get those doe-eyed, hopefully rambunctious lil' toddlers in the industry, thinking that making a video game is like working in Santa's workshop where everyone gets to express their creativity and stuff.

Then the harsh reality of WORK hits them, and then they hate it. While a good stream of "artistic creativity" is good, that stream would just become a still pond if not properly motioned in the right direction.
 

Bretty

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The louse topic was a good one, this one is not... this guy annoys me. Plus can we get rid of the profanity filters please?
 

Loonerinoes

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Tirnor said:
I.E.D. said:
I don't get it. What this has got to do with what EALouse wrote on his blog?

Jaffe was saying stuff about designer self expression in games, not Bioware burning 300 million dollars for a voice over.
Very much this was my response as well. I read the EA Louse blog, hundreds of replies, and a few responses from people mentioned in it. Mr. Jaffe didn't address it at all in the parts quoted here, and I'm left to wonder if he did at all... and if so, why didn't the Escapist quote THOSE parts?
For the same reason why the Louse himself felt the need to rag on Bioware's project in the first place, something of which he wasn't even a part of in the first place, rather than just sticking with his main issues (and no, Mythic suddenly being renamed into Bioware Mythic does NOT count. The Mythic people are still the same as before, the name has merely changed) and decided not to elaborate moreso what the effect of the lack of proper managment was on the end product of the game and instead decided to just say 'OMG we SO didn't have enough time! If we weren't pressed it woulda been ace yo!' and instead indulged in 'getting back' at EA's currently biggest project, whose success funnily enough could also state something along the lines of...ya know...Warhammer not quite measuring up to it. So yeah, his swipe at SWTOR was *totally* reliable. I mean after all, it's not like its success couldn't have implications like its design actually being more sound than that of the project he had worked on! *rolls eyes*

Not to mention because this is an 'artist' doing the complaining one would think that his denied ability to express his artistic vision would be the real motivation for him being so pissed off. But no...instead it's management...and dropping big marketing and money issues of which he has very little experience with, yet seemingly completely in the know of because hey...the water cooler of the office is liek the place that makes you the expert on everything that goes on in the place you work at. *sigh*

I'll wait and see if anything along the lines of massive layoffs do indeed happen around that area or any lawsuits pop up again. If not, then this kind of beautiful ranting and raving can be someone that got hurt over genuine issues...or it could be someone who's just butthurt because it wasn't the way it should've been and because he could *TOTALLY* do this better since he knows all about management as an artist. Totally!
 

TomLikesGuitar

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Hard to tell which one of these two is blinded by emotions more, but the Star Wars nerd in me hopes the Louse is just a bitter artist.
 

Gardenclaw

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2fish said:
cairocat said:
This is Escapist, not CNN. do we really need to censor profanity that isn't even our own?
Fuck yes, think of the fucking children. We don't wan that shit to spoil their damn eyes.
.

Ahahahaha this is lovely. Grinworthy one could say.
 

Brotherofwill

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Man, I love reading rants. EA Louse, nice one.

Anyway, it sort of makes sense what he says. EA proclaimed TOR to be their most expensive game and they've been talking an awful lot about their great sound. Sound? Voice over? Who cares. Anyone that's played a bestselling isometric RPG from the 90's knows that voice-overs add close to nothing.

Anyway, I get the anger of Louse and I also get the frustration of Jaffe. The difference in their situation is obviously that Jaffe knows what the fuck he's doing, so too much bickering would surely piss him off.
 

Akalistos

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Loonerinoes said:
One of the better ways to determine how correct this outburst actually was would be to talk to some of the people named in that post that might actually know of Mythic's artist department on more than just a name basis. Then compare their reactions to what has been asserted from this anonymous source and determine for oneself if their reactions corroborate with what he had asserted in that post of his.
You got to admit that Jaffe does have a point. When you create a piece of media (may it be movie, book or games) you'll face peoples that will give you their two cent about it. It's important that the group (Scrip get revise by the editor, in case you want to argue with book being there) share that vision to further the product but it shouldn't be out of place to reject ideas that doesn't help in any way. Sure, for example, They decided to accentuate Kratos brutal nature at one point by giving him a baby to carry but it didn't work in the tone, setting and characterisation of the Kratos. It was canned... However, two game latter and they give him Pandora to take care of and gamers didn't like it. Don't you think it was drop for a reason in the first place.