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God of War Creator David Jaffe Explains How Developer-Publisher Relationships Can Make or Break A Game
David Jaffe, the creator of such Sony Santa Monica games like God of War and Twisted Metal, decided to lay down the law of exactly how important it was for developers and publishers to have good relationships with each other, especially when that could make or break a game.
While developers actually make the game, publishers are the people that make sure the game actually gets put out to the public. Publishers could either own a studio that develops a game, or simply work with them in order to get that game published, with them taking a share of the profits.
In the case of groups like Activision and Infinity Ward, the publisher can even exert their influence over the studio to take it in a different direction. Konami has done the same thing with Hideo Kojima and Metal Gear.
David Jaffe said that the dynamics between publisher and developer are much like going on a date with a person you just met. It’s a relationship built on trust and respect, and if either one is lacking on any side then the development of the game can suffer.
Numerous games have met this fate before, such as with Obsidian Entertainment and Lucasarts in the case of Knights of the Old Republic 2. While KOTOR 2 wasn’t necessarily a bad game, it was noticeably unfinished due to Lucasarts wanting to rush the game out for a Christmas release. One thing that Jaffe spoke of personally was Twisted Metal, which despite being a cult classic had an inferior campaign to God of War or Killzone.
David Jaffe has also said, however, that even if publishers and developers treat one another with respect, sometimes the game won’t work out anyway, and though both groups may blame each other for it, it may not be the fault of either.