Warhawk PS3: The Full Story
Posted by Aaron on Thursday, March 15, 2007
It’s no secret that Warhawk for PS3 ran into trouble last year. The game just wasn’t working. And midway through development, the team, lead by director Dylan Jobe, had to make some important decisions — decisions that ultimately led to radical changes in the game’s focus, scope, and potentially even its delivery method. People left the project. Rumors circulated that it was cancelled. David Jaffe got annoyed and tried to defend it. And regardless of how any of this could be rationalized, at the end of the day, the game that remained was not what people were looking forward to.
Jobe’s position is not an enviable one right now. As the person most responsible for taking Warhawk in its new direction and for now having to defend it, he faces an uphill battle against user expectation and a product already riddled with stigma. But while he regrets the way certain things have been handled in the past, he’s absolutely still confident in his game, and that the decisions he and the team have made will prove correct in the end. A few weeks ago we sat down with him to discuss everything — what happened to Warhawk, the tough decisions that had to be made, and most importantly, where the game is today — and came away with a much better understanding of Warhawk’s risky new direction. In what was one of the most candid interviews with a Sony director we’ve ever had, Jobe spoke at length about why they went multiplayer, what it could mean for Warhawk to be a downloadable game, and what it felt like when everyone was beating up on them. As we spoke, we began to feel a sense of renewed faith in the project — Warhawk may not be exactly what we were hoping for, but sometimes that can be a good thing.
Dylan Jobe: So I liked your blog, the one where you said you were coming out to see Warhawk but you weren’t going to be able to talk about the game…
1UP: Well, I had to follow it up with a disclaimer saying that Sony hasn’t officially announced whether the game will be downloadable, because it apparently caused some commotion within SCEA or whatever. I know they’re worried about how to position it, but the potential with online distribution is huge. My intention was actually to try to point out that Sony recognizes downloadable games with the same level of respect as retail games…
DJ: I would agree. I mean, speaking hypothetically [smiles], I think there’s a much bigger opportunity — it’s more than just high quality titles. With digital distribution, you’ve got arcade ports and stuff like that — but there’s no reason why it can’t be more HBO-esque in terms of high quality titles. I think there’s a stigma out there. Think about it this way: iTunes is very convenient. But just because iTunes is available now doesn’t mean that music producers say ‘oh, now we can do crummy music.’ Convenience is great, but quality always wins out. Good music sells whether it’s on iTunes or whatever else. We’re really excited about any opportunities that are there.
1UP: So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
1UP: So if I ask any questions that seem to repeat what you’ve perhaps already gone over or seem a bit blunt, it’s because these are the things the 1UP readers would expect me to ask.
DJ: No problem. I’m a big fan of 1UP, so smash me up.
1UP: So obviously, the biggie is the whole single-player/multiplayer thing — I think you explained it really, really well. You felt like the multiplayer was working and the single-player wasn’t. So my question to that would be, after seeing the trailer and demos in the past, the concept of Warhawk — with the amazing PS3 graphics and the Sixaxis control — that sounds like a f***ing cool game. No offense, but how the hell was that not working?
DJ: Well, just like you said, it sounds cool — and not to disparage PR and marketing stuff but, it sounds cool — and that part is really cool, and we use it for multiplayer. But it’s more than just that for single-player. I’ll give you a couple of examples. We wanted to be — and you hear this cliche over and over again, but it’s true… It’s a hits driven business — quality matters. The bar is set really high. If you’re not in the top ten, don’t play. That’s true. And we wanted have the best of both worlds. Quite honestly, if we were to continue down our single player/multiplayer approach, it would have resulted in not as good single player or not as good multiplayer. Because it’s a matter of juggling resources and attention and polish and all of that. It was definitely a painful decision for me. But it’s one that I can sleep well with at night because I’m a gamer. And I’ve bought expensive games and felt like I just got exploited. And I didn’t want to do that. We had many missions prototyped. And some were really fun. A rumor that I read, I think it was on neogaf, that ‘oh man, they’re only going to do four missions’ or whatever. I mean, there was certainly the option for us to do that. We had a few really fun missions. But a few missions don’t make a competitive single player game. They don’t. The bar is set, and it’s set really, really high. And we can hit and exceed that bar in a multiplayer. We want to make a great game. And we think we can make a really great game if we take this approach. If we stayed the course, we could certainly get a decent game out there, but I don’t think it would be fair to the players. As Sony we really need to give consumers love — we need to love our players right now and give them really great games.
To read the rest of the interview visit http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3158037
Awesome interview! 🙂