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Jaffe: Games execs need to get a "bullshit filter"

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Publishers need to learn the language of game making when dealing with developers or risk wasting money on over-promised projects.

That's according to Eat Sleep Play co-founder David Jaffe, speaking today at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit, who said its easy for developers to talk-up a project that won't resemble the original pitch once released.

"You guys need to get a bullshit filter and you need to get that before you waste any more money," he said.

"It's real easy to bamboozle you. It's really easy to sit in a pitch and talk about 'I want the realism and grittiness of Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy and I want to put it on a space ship and make you feel like Tarantino and speak to the human condition'. And you walk out of the meeting and you give them the green light because you can see that in your head.

Executives can't see the game in their head, they can see the trailer to a movie that doesn't actually exist.

David Jaffe, Eat Sleep Play

"But you can't see the game in your head, you can see the trailer to a movie that doesn't actually exist," he added. "You better start learning gameplay language. It's not to be mean spirited, I would never do that, but you can actually sit with developer and say 'it's cool that you want to do that but tell me how.' If you come in with an awareness of that, if you're an executive that can suss that out, that's great. You don't want to have a developer romance you with the promise of something more than it will ever be and it ends up not being that," he added.

Jaffe's session focused on the obsession of some developers to use games as a medium to tell stories and try to express wider emotions or touch upon real-world issues. Game haven't historically been able to do that, said Jaffe, and frustrated story-tellers should use a more relevant medium.

"A lot of these people will say 'I have something to say, I have a story to tell.' If you've really got something inside of you that's so powerful, like a story you've got to share or a philosophy about mans place in the universe, why in the fuck would you choose the medium that has historically, continually been the worst medium to express philosophy, story and narrative?

"Why wouldn't you write a book, why wouldn't you make a movie? It's like being one of the world's best chefs and working in the world's best restaurants, you ply your trade in McDonalds."

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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.