Twisted Metal Multiplayer Hands On: Jaffe’s Last Laugh

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Twisted Metal Multiplayer Hands On: Jaffe’s Last Laugh

After Twisted Metal made its bombastic debut nearly a year ago at the E3 PlayStation press conference, developer Eat Sleep Play promptly descended into a self-imposed near-silence. Now that Twisted Metal has finally emerged from its shadowy confines — headlights gleaming like accusing eyes, an angry puff of steam boiling from its cracked radiator grille — it’s clear that David Jaffe, Scott Campbell and the boys have been busy. Really busy. Even in its early pre-release state, the PS3 rebirth of PlayStation’s longest-running series plays true to form — it’s fast, ferocious, and fun. Underneath the glistening new HD graphics, blistering frame rate and overhauled combat system lies the vehicular equivalent of Mortal Kombat…that is, if Mortal Kombat included 16-player online battles waged with helicopters and nukes and psychotic clowns driving semi trucks and God knows what else.

Twisted Metal Studios Tour 2Twisted Metal Studios Tour 6

Twisted Metal Creative Director David Jaffe is fond of comparing the game’s combat feel to that of fighter jets. The comparison is apt because the vehicle handling and physics are so deliciously exaggerated. This ain’t no GT5; in Twisted Metal, cars turn on a dime and blast from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye. They swoop in for the kill, jousting their quarry with rockets and napalm blasts before the element of surprise is lost and the hunter becomes the hunted. In the midst of a lively multiplayer match, Twisted Metal feels like barely controlled chaos, a symphony of destruction swirling with danger and buzzing with death.

Twisted Metal: Axel (exclusive pre-order item)Twisted Metal for PS3

As you might expect, the arsenal has received a hefty upgrade for the game’s PS3 debut. The devastating new Swarmer Missile and Shotgun join returning weapons such as the Homing Missile, Napalm, and Ice Blast. Each vehicle’s special attack also comes with an alternate fire mode that can inflict even more damage if timed correctly, lending the combat an additional layer of depth. For example, Axel can either emit a wide-range shockwave or transform into a grinding, spiked gear to roll over the opposition — what Jaffe described as a “violent Oreo cookie.” Another nod to modernity: You can now freely aim your projectiles with the right analog stick to hit enemies above and below you. Jaffe even dished on a new Sixaxis-centric combat mechanic he’s currently calling the Turbo Ram. “If you have enough turbo, you can shake the controller forward and drill the crap out of an enemy in front of you,” he told me. “It feels almost like an uppercut in a fighting game.” Though the version I played stuck with a classic-style driving control scheme, with gas on the Square button and brake on the X button, Jaffe promised that the final version of the game would include a more modern scheme with gas and brake assigned to the L2 and R2 triggers.

Team coordination is also shaping up to be a major focus for Twisted Metal’s frantic multiplayer gameplay. Talon Helicopters can use their winch to pick up teammates for a better firing angle; Junkyard Dog tow trucks can drop repair kits to heal their teammates; and the mighty Juggernaut semi truck can open its rear door to allow teammates to drive inside, where the drivers can man high-powered turrets and dominate the battlefield. But Jaffe promised that the new tag-team maneuvers are strictly optional, and that crafty players can exploit weaknesses in seemingly unstoppable vehicles. For example, the devastating Juggernaut semi truck can be outmaneuvered and flanked by nimble Reaper motorcycles, riddled with sticky bombs, and blown to pieces.

Twisted Metal for PS3

During our talk, Jaffe kept our conversation firmly squared on Twisted Metal’s online multiplayer offering. But he did provide a rare peak into the game’s secretive single-player campaign, which will grant you one life but enable you to store up to two or three cars in a garage on each level. If you face impending death during the single-player Twisted Metal tournament, you can venture back to your garage and pick a new vehicle…if you can survive the journey.

With its hyperkinetic visual style and blistering land-and-air multiplayer combat, Twisted Metal is shaping up to be a wet, sloppy kiss to fans of the classic games as well as a daring remix of online multiplayer conventions. And with a shiny new release date of October 4th, 2011, Jaffe’s twisted vision is one step closer to becoming reality. Read on for highlights of my full conversation with Jaffe, and leave your burning gameplay questions in the comments.

On the Name

“Twisted Metal is the final name. The series has been out of the spotlight long enough that naming it ‘Twisted Metal 8’ or whatever would be problematic. You’d have people saying, ‘well, I didn’t play the first seven…’ Calling it Twisted Metal is like planting a flag in the ground and saying that our heartbeat is still strong. The essence of Twisted Metal is still here. To call it anything other than Twisted Metal would feel wrong.”

On Realistic Driving Physics and the Lack Thereof

“Every time we start a new Twisted Metal game, Scott [Campbell] and I talk about doing realistic cars, and it’s a disaster. We’ve never thought of this as a driving game. They happen to look like cars but they’re fighter jets.”

On Creating a Twisted Fantasy

“First and foremost, we imagine the fantasy. A great game designer will tell you that’s stupid, that you should start with your fundamental gameplay mechanics, and he’d be right. That’s just not how we do it. For us, the fantasy has always been to be in a car chase going down the freeway, with semi-trucks flipping and crashing, while I’m in a helicopter holding a sniper rifle shooting a bazooka down, and cars are racing through the explosion. That’s what we start with, and every generation of hardware gets us closer and closer to that vision.”

On Balancing Helicopters

“Helicopters were about delivering the fantasy first, and then figuring out how to tune it. The helicopter has a lot of access to a level, it’s fast, but it doesn’t have great armor. We balance it with risk and reward..other cars can use the right analog stick to look up and shoot whatever they want. If I’m on the ground and you fly over me, I can launch a Power Missile up at you and take you out in one or two hits because your armor is so weak.”

On the Companion Gunner

“The companion is fantasy. You are the car, just like in every Twisted Metal. You see your driver more, and you see your gunner a lot more. Some [of the gunners] actually tie into the single-player story. We still have weapons that come out of panels and things like that, but we thought it was fun and cinematic for a guy to lean out the window of a sportscar and fire a shotgun. It just feels more relevant and cool and movie-like. The gunner isn’t really a different mechanic, it’s presentation.”

On the Number One Goal for Twisted Metal

“I don’t have a number one goal. I have two goals. On the fiction side, I want people to fall in love with this dark, twisted, weird world as much as we do. On the gameplay side, Twisted Metal is a fighting game combined with a shooter. I want gamers to discover what hardcore Twisted Metal fans have known for a long time — that Twisted Metal is a great pick-up-and-play game, but it has a lot of layers and depth. To us, it’s in the same league as classic multiplayer games that build a community for years and years.”

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19 Author Replies

  • Looks very interesting. i’ll have to look into it

  • This game is gonna be awesome!

  • This game…is a good thing…a VERY good thing.

  • Cant wait!

  • Great game…….

  • i am unsure if i like the idea of anyone being able to drive any car at anytime as then anyone can play any toon at anytime and not have to try to make strats on how to use the cars if you dont like the car jump in a new one ala GTA

  • I cannot wait for this game and am very happy to see it at the start of the month! It will be mine before my birthday!

  • Looking forward to this, MW3, and Driver :D

  • I honestly must say I havent played a twisted metal game before but this one is defiantly catching my attention. Looks very unique in its own ways and i cant wait to see the finished product. Keep up the good work. I just hope it dosent end up like brink.

  • So glad to see everything getting back to normal. Thanks Sid really glad to see you replying and being involved in the Blog.

    When I saw the the cigar lighting the hair at E3 last year, I yelled OMG Twisted Metal is BACK, then I got called by the neighbor asking if I was ok hahaa :-)

  • I had a lot of fun with TM: Black on my PS2, but never really got into the PSX TM games, mainly because I only had a N64 and we had Vigilante 8 instead of TM. It was a great game despite it being an obvious knock-off of the TM series, I spent months (the entire summer of 1999 to be exact) with my friend playing that games mutiplayer in splitscreen. Oh to be 13 years old again…

    The only game that has come close to the feeling I got from V8 has been Warhawk, so perhaps this new TM will bring back some of that nostalgic vehicular combat that has been so rare in this generation of games.

  • Hey leukoplast did you see the article on starhawk? it is going to be epic.

  • @Project_Sobo,

    Yes definitely! Starhawk is also a game I am going to be getting, it looks very intense and I am really looking forward to it. But it’s likely a 2012 release, so we got a while before that arrives.

    On the topic of Warhawk and the TM series, kind of interesting reading about the split up of incognito into Eat Sleep Play and Lightbox, makes you wonder if these two companies are now mortal enemies or if they are actually helping eachother out with TM and Starhawk.

    Oh and to anybody who can answer this as I cannot remember from TM Black, do the TM games have combo buttons you can press to unleash a different attack from a weapon? Vigilante 8 had this and that was one of the things that made that game so much fun. It makes me wonder if the PS3 TM will have alternate combo button attacks for each weapon.

  • Sweet Tooth>>>ur mom

  • This is the reason I am loyal to sony. Great Exclusives = Great Gaming with nostalgic moments from PS1 that make you fall in love with games all over again.

  • No wonder I loved twisted metal 2 and twisted metal black the most. David Jaffe knows how to make games. Without him I wouldn’t have this mans head to my left as an avatar. Can’t wait to get my hands on this!

  • looks like a lo of fun

  • omg_itsxmarreay

    wow im still playing the 1z for playstation1 and also twisted metal black so cant wait till 10.4.11 also das my gf

  • Well a little competition would be good for us. Makes the game better since its like trying to show who the better parent is after the divorce and the kids getting split. Ok strange analogy hahaa but yeah they need to be trying to outdo each other with the games they got the rights to. win-win.

  • i love al PS exclusives, they are the best, this one dont make the eception.

  • looks awesome!!!!!! definitely looking forward to it.

  • holy ****! day one!

  • Oh my gosh! This looks VERY fun! Can’t wait, I’m gonna get it right on the release date :)
    Thanks, glad to see were talking about games again!

  • Oh and how bout some updates on LittleBigPlanet? Haven’t seen much on it in a while.

  • sweetness!! I want to beta test this!!! lol

    can’t wait to play this game online :D

    hope for lots of DLC characters too :) (retro characters)

  • I’m so excited for this game finally it coming out !! I had the privlege of test playing this game and it was great !!!
    Still need the ps store up !!!! Hope it’s back up by the weekend !! Please !! Ima keep that in my prayers lol

  • Dope how you could throw remote control cars and blow up ur enemy and the patient suicide bombers oh yea and the helicopter can pick up cars lol sry did I just kill it haha hope that jus got everyone pumped lol !!! Ps stoooorrrreee!!!! Pplease333!!!

  • Looks Awesome!!! totally getting it! :)

  • Demo please. Seriously, the game has me 50/50, as as long as I have still 5 games coming out in that area of time, I would like to know if this game is something I would be able to back my time behind.

  • yo did yall here about the new modern warfare 3 game and guess what it’s not made by infinity it’s made by another company i forgot what my friend said it wuz made by but anyway is anybody buying it because it sounds like it’s corny.

  • Don’t disappoint me guys! I may be in the minority here but I haven’t truly enjoyed a Twisted Metal game since Twisted Metal 2. It’s not that the others were bad but they sure fell short of what Twisted Metal 2 provided me in terms of the fun factor.

    I’m excited to see how this turns out. :)

  • Twisted Metal has to be one of my favorite games.

  • Jaffe! I love the passion in your voice when you describe Twisted Metal in that PS Blog video. Enthusiasm is contagious, and I know that you and your team’s passion will filter through to us gamers. I can’t wait to blast fools online in Twisted Metal again!

  • Looks Epic, Sounds Epic

  • the game looks Awesome!! Can’t wait to play it when is it coming out

  • Oh man, resistance 3 and twisted metal?!?! cant wait!

  • I am in…


  • Can’t wait for this game. I had fun playing Twisted Metal Black, that was a very dark game. Can’t wait for this! Sweet Tooth ftw!

  • Twisted Metal 8 wouldn’t make sense anyway.

    Twisted Metal
    Twisted Metal 2
    Twisted Metal Small Brawl
    Twisted Metal Black
    Twisted Metal Head-On

    Only 5 other games. That’s it. If anyone tells you there are two other games, they are lying. Don’t trust them. Aside from other things like Black Online and Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition, those five are the only other games ever. If someone starts talking about a Twisted Metal 3 or Twisted Metal 4, tell them to shut their mouths because they don’t exist.


  • I love Twisted Metal games, although being late to the Twisted Metal Party, I plan to buy this, plus all digital downloads! of Twisted Metal Universe. I already have Twisted Metal Black, just gots to get the rest.

  • Correction @ 137

    Twisted Metal
    Twisted Metal 2
    Twisted Metal 3
    Twisted Metal 4
    Twisted Metal Brawl
    Twisted Metal Black
    Twisted Metal Black Online
    Twisted Metal Head On

    I think i guessed them all.

  • I remember when I first picked up Twisted Metal: Black, and loved it. It seems that magic is going to happen again.

  • sony i want my stuff i paid for back tired of asking your [DELETED] has cost me games and map packs and your advertising other games GET MY STUFF BACK TO ME I ALREADY [DELETED] PAID FOR IT

  • Hopefully this game doesn’t have a stupid Online Pass you need to have to play the game, cause if the store goes down again you won’t even be able to activate it.

  • Seems really cool!

  • it looks kewl…i heard a little about it when i had a ps-one never played any of the games but it looks like its going to be fun to play … in co-op i think its going to be like brink…every 1 working together… not the comando/rambo style of playing like in MW2

  • I only wish they had this for the 360 or the PC. I refuse to buy anymore games for the PS3 after the PSN fiasco and Sony’s horrible response. My PS3 is currently only a Folding machine.

    Kinda sucks, since I’ve been a big fan of Sony Consoles and the PSP since the first day the PSX was out on the US market.

  • Definitely looking forward to this!

  • more bloody madness…ASWOME

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