David Jaffe explains Europe

Or more precisely, he explains why his last game didn’t sell too well there:

My layman’s sociological view of Europe is that you guys tend to respond to things that are sleeker, cleaner, more refined, a bit more humorous,” he told Eurogamer backstage at E3 today.


I’m not sure about sleeker.

“I think especially in Europe the candy wrapper is so off-putting to certain people. You say ‘that’s not for us, there’s not enough irony, there’s not enough humour’. It’s not given the chance to unveil what’s beneath the candy wrapper.”

Also, yes, I do say this to myself all the time.

What I suspect is the case is that gaming in general is a bit more mainstream in Europe. It’s why you see the Wii and handheld games doing so well here compared to the US charts (this is a chart for the first few months of last year)

Also, advertising has something to do with it, because I don’t even remember having heard of Twisted Metal.

14 thoughts on “David Jaffe explains Europe

  1. I suspect the problem is that he thinks “Europe” is a single place with a single culture and taste in games. While there’s some overlap, there’s also a pretty big gap between British, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish and Swedish players to name just a few.

    I’ve left the Dutch off my list – it’s not a slight, in my experience those guys tend to be cool with just about anything 🙂

      • yes he is random guessing

        my spouse is from Europe after many trips and discussions of Euro culture, economics and industry… I can easily say that Europe is very complex for business people from elsewhere to “get”.

        I wish I had a more profound example/illustration but I got nothing right now.

        I do suggest people who attempt to do business in France/Germany to watch a few episodes of Baywatch for conversation sake… but that’s an aside

  2. I think us European players are quite the opposite and don’t always judge books by their covers, perhaps this has a negative impact on game that just don’t interest us.
    I’d also think that since this looks to be a re-launch of the game franchise, if gamers didn’t purchase it the first time around what has changed to encourage them.
    I much preferred the Vigilante 8 game to this one.

    Plus I don’t think I have ever used the term “candy wrapper” in my life, until now.

  3. Maybe he had a focus group exclusively drawn from Parisian Left Bank cafes? “We’ve got the results of the survey, boss! One response complained about the lack of a complex sub-plot about socialism, one said ‘if a sardine is in a candy wrapper, still the seagull will follow it’, the rest shrugged, muttered something about ‘oui bof’ and smoked Gauloises.”

    • Sounds a bit like Catherine. What a disappointment – all the buzz was about what a clever, edgy, erotic thriller/ adventure game it was going to be and turns out you’re playing a nerdy guy who cheats on his girlfriend and has nightmares about what’s going to happen to him when she finds out which form a puzzle game (HINT: JUST DON’T DO IT THEN.)

  4. I think the problem is to speak of “the Europeans” or “the Americans” in the first place… :eyeroll:
    All that said, the market does differ; you’d never be able to market and sell things like triple-fudge chocolate-cream oreos over here. I leave it to other people to analyze why that is.

  5. Road warrior is quite popular here, most people my age loved Mad Max. It may be that his game and previous road warrior games aren’t as good relative to other games as Mad Max was relative to action films.

    A couple of culture specific reasons:

    – less cars. It’s very normal in USA for teenagers to have cars. If you aspire to or own a car it may be that you’re more interested in playing games with cars.

    – faster cars. People who own or aspire to high performance sports cars are perhaps more interested in car wars games.

    – less open space. If we allow that the car wars genre is defined by Mad Max then it’s all about car duels over long empty stretches of road in desert. Probably easier to imagine yourself becoming involved with if you live in Nevada than if you live in Chipping Sodbury.

    It seems a little odd that his take on this is not “let’s make a different themed game” but vacillates between “there’s something wrong with these people” and “I’m an artist, I’m not going to prostitute my art for crass commercial success.”

  6. It would be interesting to put both games on display to a mixed focus group and see the results, but until then this is largely speculative, though interesting. I personally enjoy Wipeout more because of the cool music and less emphasis on violence. TM might appeal to those with more aggressive tendencies – sweeping generalization; plenty of cool people play both, or neither.

  7. I have to admit, that I loved the first Twisted metal… That was on my ps1 as I recall, so maybe it’s an age thing?

    Regardless, I do agree with you, Spinks, that it is a matter of advertisement. Dispite me loving and having a blast with the first Twisted metal game, I never read or heard much on the others.

    (oh and for the record, im European too)

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