The lights are on
I'm sure there were other games besides God of War shown at
Sony's Santa Monica Gamer's Day in 2004. I should know; I was there. But I
couldn't tell you if I tried. That was the day that Dave Jaffe unleashed Kratos
on the world, and I still remember the impact it had on me.
"Gamer's days" are a long tradition in the game industry,
though they are becoming less common. Basically, they were large cattle calls,
with press from around the world assembled to see a publisher's upcoming lineup
of titles. Generally, you'd see presentations and trailers for various titles
(think of a smaller-scale version of what you'd see onstage at an E3
conference), then later there would be time for developer interviews and (hopefully)
I attended Sony Santa Monica's Gamers Day in 2004 (I had to
do a little online searching to find the date, the years tend to run together
after a while). I'm sure we were shown a lot of games. I probably wrote stories
on all of them. However, all I remember now is the last presentation of the
day, where we were called back into the Santa Monica studio's small theater for
a surprise announcement.
We crowded into the theater and took our seats. Dave Jaffe,
the creator of the Twisted Metal series and one of Sony's most high profile
(and outspoken) internal producers, took the stage In his usual
over-caffeinated manner and started expounding on his newfound love of
Greek mythology and his desire to create an completely over-the-top action
experience. It was Jaffe, so this went on a bit. Though I know he can be
controversial sometimes, in person his enthusiasm for the games that he's
making is infectious.
Thankfully, this was one of the rare times when the game
that was shown not only lived up to but exceeded the hype - Jaffe had a
hit on his hands, and he knew it. There have been times in my career when I was
certain I was looking at a blockbuster. This was one of them. Though there were
elements of games like Devil May Cry and Rygar, God of War seemed to take these
influences and craft them into something bigger, grander, and more violent. I'm
not even sure if all the footage we saw made the final game, but watching
Kratos rip the head off a Medusa or toss enemies into oblivion by the ankle
while climbing was like nothing I'd seen before. The game, already in
development for two years, looked every bit a polished, triple-A hit -- action
on a scale that we hadn't witnessed before.
I don't think there's anything better about this job than those
times when you feel like you're witnessing game history. That day in Santa
Monica was one of those magic moments.