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Drawn to Death Launches April 4, David Jaffe on Doodles and Game Design

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Drawn to Death Launches April 4, David Jaffe on Doodles and Game Design

The fast-paced, highly stylized shooter Drawn to Death is coming to PS4 on April 4. Before we all dive headfirst into a high-school teenager’s sadistic imagination, I touched base with renowned designer David Jaffe himself to learn more about his latest project, and how much of his own experience was woven into all the chainsaws, ninja sharks, and gunslinging demons.

Plus, our latest trailer for Drawn to Death explores the significant contribution players have had on the game’s design.

Drawn to Death Launches April 4, David Jaffe on Doodles and Game Design

How would you compare Drawn to Death to other character-based shooters?

David Jaffe: There are lots of hero shooters popping up these days, but Drawn to Death is unique. Obviously it looks unique, but also — and more importantly — it feels unique.

The “time to kill” is long in Drawn to Death. Like, really long. We do this because we want players to have more chances for chases across the maps — where tables get turned and map knowledge allows hunted players to become the hunters.

Our game modes only support four players. Sometimes when people hear this they don’t like it. But for us, it’s a strength of the game. A high “time to kill” and too many players in a match ends up making a lot of shooters feel chaotic and random. We wanted Drawn to Death to play differently.

We want it to be super fast (And it is!) but not so chaotic that you can’t track what you need to track. For us, it’s imperative that Drawn to Death players are able to focus on specific enemy behavior. One of my favorite things in Drawn to Death is when I start to learn how a specific player on the battlefield is playing and I adjust my playstyle to that person. This is very hard to do when you’ve got lots of players to worry about and you’re dying every 45 seconds.

Drawn to Death is rooted in high school escapism and a sense of adolescent fantasy. How much of that comes from your own personal experience? How much is inspired by others?

David Jaffe: I couldn’t draw when I was growing up (and I still can’t), but as a kid I was always sketching and doodling in my notebook during class. I’d draw superheroes, aliens, monsters, and pretty much anything geek centric — it got me though a lot of boring lectures and stirred my imagination!

And I’m happy to say that we had a conference recently with my oldest kid’s science teacher and she was complaining that my kid is doodling away during class when she should be paying attention. Was I proud? You bet I was!

Could you (Possibly!) pick a favorite character? What about his or her design are you most proud of?

David Jaffe: I’d say it’s Ninjaw. And it’s because I love all of her unique mechanics. She’s got a grapple that lets her fly across the level, she’s got backflips that let her leap away from danger, and she can create protective shields in the air.

I love mixing those together, making Ninjaw grapple into an enemy to damage them and then backflipping away from the enemy while putting an air shield up to protect myself. Ninjaw can also throw sharks at bad guys, she can anchor opponents in place, and she can even see the weaker enemies on her radar and target those who are close to death.

But I love all the characters. They’re like our kids!

I love playing with a weapon called The Shaxe, which is a cross between a shotgun and an axe. Every time you do a certain amount of damage with the weapon, a giant, rusty axe blade pops out of the gun’s barrel. But what do you do with the blades? Well, there’s a mini-game where you have to pull this starter cord — like on a lawn mower — at the exact right time to get the axe blades to start spinning. Once they’re spinning, you can fire the blades and do a ton of damage!

Now a lot of people would say, “That’s too much work!” And for those players, they’d be right — which is why there are lots of fire-and-forget weapons in Drawn to Death. But one of the things I love most about our game is how there are lots of ways to play it, depending on your style.

How were you informed by your previous games when directing Drawn to Death?

David Jaffe: God of War taught me that play mechanics are why I love making and playing games. I understand and respect that not all players feel this way. But for me, the more I do this work and the more games I play, the more I realize I love and admire games for play mechanics.

Drawn to Death is really a reaction to that. Yes, the game has story and characters, but Drawn to Death is so much more about play mechanics — more than any other game I’ve done. I think you see that trajectory away from storytelling and toward pure mechanics in the games I’ve gotten to work on since God of War.

What’s the most important thing to you as a designer to encourage players to keep coming back?

David Jaffe: Persistence is crucial. But at end of the day, it’s about giving players the feeling of fun so that they’ll want to return and have that feeling — dependably — again and again. That’s why I love mechanics-based games so much. When you do it right, you’re basically giving people the emotion of fun on a regular, dependable basis! How amazing is that?!

How do we create that feeling of fun in Drawn to Death? We make sure the game gives players the sense that success or failure in a match was up to them and their choices. So if a player loses, they’re able to easily comprehend the moment to moment of the game well enough to have a good idea of what they must do to improve. And that way, when a player pulls off a win, they feel it’s because of their mastery of the game. Because it is!


Drawn to Death launches April 4 on PS4 for $19.99.

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67 Comments

  • BERT-MACKL1N-FBI

    The game has no substance. With the amount of time it’s been in beta, the game just has no spark or traction anymore. $20 is $20 too much for what this game is. It’s getting sent out to die and it’s kinda sad. Jaffe is better than this.

    • Thats when It was a F2P game now its a proper one I feel like $20 is fair, personally

    • MrDoopliss159XD

      Dude, i never saw you in the beta. Thus, you don’t even know what you are saying. $20 is a reasonable price. What did you expect? $10?
      Like you said, the game has been in beta for a long time. Because of that, the game is very well made and it deserves $20 as price.

    • BERT-MACKL1N-FBI

      Haha are you telling me you know every person who has ever played the beta?! Get over yourself.

      The game has an interesting aesthetic and that’s it. It’s a dull shooter that will fall on its face… because it already has.

    • twinspectre

      I never saw you in the beta :/

      are you sure you tried Drawn to Death at the fullest? or you tried only in the training room

    • Jaffe is not better than this, dont you remember calling all cars?

    • BERT-MACKL1N-FBI

      Haha Jesus. If the community for this game is so small that people seem to think they know everyone who has played the beta, I can’t imagine that it’ll grow much once the full game is out.

      And for your information, I did play the beta. And I played it at PSX 2015. It wasn’t fun either way I played.

    • at least did you know the Beta was for a small amount of people? it was not Open Beta
      even Paladins for PS4 has small amount of people because it is a closed alpha.

    • BERT-MACKL1N-FBI

      It’s a “closed beta” in the most loose sense. All you have to do is register and you have access. They never limited who got in, which is why it’s so weird why you and the other guy think they know everyone who plays. It also says a lot about the user base.

    • Calling All Cars was Jaffe? I actually kinda liked that game.

    • IndianaJaffe

      Hmm, I think I’m JUST as good as this! :)

      AKA: I think this is the best game I’ve worked on; the deepest and the most fun. Appreciate it’s not your cup of tea tho. Perhaps we’ll hook you with whatever we get to make next.

      David

    • MrDoopliss159XD

      I never said i knew every person. Only thing i said is that i never saw you. Thus, you haven’t played the game (in my point of view) and you don’t know what youbare saying.
      It’a simple.
      Gt obr ursel

    • BERT-MACKL1N-FBI

      Whether or not I played the game isn’t really a matter of opinion like you suggested… I also never said I was an active player of the beta either. I played for a period of time to make an informed assessment and decided that I didn’t need to continue.

      It’s kind of astounding the 5’s of people that play the game if you think you would have seen me play before.

      ————-

      Thanks for the response, David. I wish I could enjoy it. Like you said, maybe next time.

    • You got to be pretty stupid to say “I didn’t see you in the closed beta”.

      The game wasn’t that great, just like Driveclub. It’s a pass for me.

  • Game is great, loved the beta. Really happy with the price too! Any chance for a physical release?

    • IndianaJaffe

      Thanks Motherboop!

      Hmm, people have been asking about physical copies of Drawn To Death, more than I would have expected.

      At the moment, it’s all digital but hey, if enough people ask for it (or if the game finds a big enough audience), I certainly wouldn’t count the CHANCE out. But at the moment there are no plans and there certainly won’t be a physical copy at launch or close to launch.

      Thanks man-

      David

  • MorphThunder13

    YES. YEEEEESSSSSS. I’ve supported you guys from the beginning and I will be there DAY 0 for this game. Diabla my main. LETS GOOOOOO!!!!

    • IndianaJaffe

      Diabla is my main as well! She’s very underrated but I think she’s amazing! And we just changed her wall jump so now it’s a super high demon leap that is more dependable in battle and much more functional.

      Thanks so much for the support from the start- we really appreciate it, Morph!

  • Same day as Persona 5
    Come on Jaffe
    I really want to play your game but there’s always road blocks
    Be it the F2P structure use to have
    and now being released the same day as my most anticipated games of this year
    I will try to buy it to support you guys on the release date
    but god knows if or when I will get round to playing
    and that sucks because I could see myself selling this game to bunch of friends if I put some time into it.

    • IndianaJaffe

      Ah I understand. Believe it or not the fine folks at Sony spent a LOT of time trying to find the perfect date for a game as unique/weird/different as Drawn To Death. And while I appreciate Persona is going to get a massive group of Players, we’re not too worried because:

      a- it doesn’t seem the audiences overlap THAT much that often.
      b- If you don’t pick up Drawn on day or week (or even month 1) that’s ok…play us when you get the time and give us a chance to be a game you recommend to your friends!

      Enjoy Persona 5…tbh, I TRIED AND TRIED to get into GOLD on Vita but I just could not. I love RPGS and I hear 4/Gold is one of the best but after 2 hours in it was just too slow. People keep saying, ‘Doood, it starts boring but it gets amazing!’ and I KNOW this is true but after 2 hours, I was done. Still, I need to go back to it and maybe be a liiiittttle bit more patient :).

      David

  • MrDoopliss159XD

    Finally! Release date and price. As somebody who has played Drawn to Death since December 2015 (Private Access, Limited Access), i’m so happy to see this.
    $20 is just what i expexted and it’s great!.
    I can’t wait to try out all the new stuff in the game
    :)

    • twinspectre

      and I approve this message

    • IndianaJaffe

      Dooplis! Thank you for all you’ve done with comments and play time and feedback making the game what it is. Who knows if people will dig it (I love it! :) but either way: you and the fantastic community have helped a ton and we thank you for it! :)

      David

    • MrDoopliss159XD

      ;)

  • Yes! Glad this game will finally be out in its official form. I’ve enjoyed my time in the limited access trials, and I know a number of updates an improvements have been made since then :-)

    • IndianaJaffe

      Hey Paul- thanks for all the support (in game and in the forums!:) We really appreciate it and hope to see you online when the game launches! Much appreciated, sir!

      David

  • ManjoumeThunder

    Will it have a retail? At that price point I’d guess digital only.

  • Will there be Pro support? If so, what will it entail?

  • pablikenemy79

    Wt 20$ for this game !? AhahH better save the money for the online on Nintendo SWITCH ..

    I mean 20$ FOR THE WHOLE YEAR !!

    • IndianaJaffe

      I know, huh?

      Heck, I want a Switch too! :) Really need to preorder one, if they even have preorders atm. I don’t think so, tho.

      Anyway, as for Drawn To Death, maybe you’ll hear some good things and decide to give it a try down the road.

      Until then, enjoy Zelda!

      David

  • $20 seriously? What happened to free to play and future growth? I played the betas it’s you vs 3 other players. That’s it. No co-op. No variety. That may appeal to some but high school does get old. ;)

  • Congratulations to BJSDA on the announce! Can’t wait!

    • IndianaJaffe

      Dood…there is no Drawn without you. There is no Bartlet Jones without you.

      Thank you, Cp!

      David

  • AriesWarlock

    This game looks right up my alley. I like third person action shooters like Lost Planet.

    • IndianaJaffe

      I loved the first Lost Planet; didn’t play 2 or 3 but the MP in the first was fun!

      Hope you give Drawn a try when it hits soon- thanks for the comment, sir!

      David

  • Looks fun, but they should really consider adding an offline mode with bots and another with potentially 4 players splitscreen. I haven’t played this but I don’t want it to die since it looks quite cool. Maybe also add a 4v4 online mode.

    • IndianaJaffe

      Hey, we’d love to do offline and split screen but as those elements are not the core experience we decided to punt on them both (even tho there is an extensive training section and shooting gallery). Our fantasy is the game does well enough to merit us being able to revist those aspects of the design but for launch we won’t have either. But we’re right there with you, especially when it comes to split screen! :)

      David

    • Thanks for the reply! Best of luck and I look forward to seeing more from now until launch! As someone with a job, $20 isn’t asking much from me haha. ;)

  • I like Jaffe and Drawn to Death looks very unique indeed but being online-only makes ma interest fade.

    • Yeah I would’ve been way more interested if this wasn’t another MOBA.

    • IndianaJaffe

      Why thanks, sir! I like you too! :)

      Yeah, online only. Sorry if that’s not your cup of tea but maybe whatever we get to make after Drawn To Death will spark your interest. I hope so! Take it easy, man!

      David

    • IndianaJaffe

      PS. Hey Trendy_Kid, this is not anything like a MOBA, fwiw.

      I know these days everyone thinks unique characters came from MOBAS but I like to think we’re taking the idea of unique characters from a little game called TWISTED METAL…which, to be fair, we took from games like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat :)…

      David

    • David – I’ll definitely be keeping it in my crosshairs, the art style is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Looking forward to playing again. I enjoyed every minute of it in Limited Access.

    • IndianaJaffe

      Hey man! Thanks for all you’ve done for the community so far! Can’t wait to play you again- with your damn Uncle Joe!- once we launch in a few weeks! :)

      David

  • TheGremlinKlown

    I’m very excited for Drawn to Death . The art style is extremely unique and the gameplay gives me that old school shooter feel. I enjoyed every minute of the LA / BETA. Long time waiting but I KNOW its going to be worth it.

  • Cool! Im so happy this isnt F2P anymore

    I tried to play the beta so many times but nobody was ever online. Tutorial was fun though haha

    Will buy day 1 <3

  • Another classic case of announcing too early and completely missing your hype window.

  • JeRzYzFyNeSt

    callme when Socom is back as a remaster ty

  • Finally a price…Colin was Right ;) I love that David is in the comments also. Loved it at the original PSX and many of us got to talk to Jaffe and his team and give feedback they really tried listening to all and make adjustments to better the game. Also loved the Trophies in the beta will these be the same trophies and add on to them or will it be a whole new set and different list. Also hope there’s a platinum. Also $20 price is great I hope it does well and you guys continue to support it.

    Was I the only one that loved calling all cars? I was so good at that games online was just destroying everyone.

  • I played the beta and didn’t really get into it too much.
    I thought the intro (in the classroom was neat though). Not $20 neat though. :P

  • Drawn to Death has always peaked my interest ever since it was announced. A unique multiplayer shooter with and brilliant concept design, for $20, I am all over this game DAY 1, can’t wait!

  • Twisted_Ian

    Will the trophies transfer over from the limited access? I took my eye off of the game for a while and always wanted to get back to it. Then when I did, it was over and now it’s just incomplete.

  • not my cup of tea but I have to say, it does look like a blast. I’m not much of a MP gamer but I have to agree, 4 player, intimate setting makes it perfect. Definitely on my radar now.

  • Jaffe is God. He is a developer who TRULY connects with the fans. I follow him on twitter and will follow him to the end of the earth. Of course I’m down. Played the beta, loved its originality and turned my sons and their friends onto it, and it stayed on my XMB until just recently when i needed the space. But, it’ll make it’s reappearance on my XMB, because I’ll be there, day one, guaranteed.

  • Wow awesome got my interest

  • Man, it would be nice if this game sold well and built a nice community. I kind of wish it was a PS+ game for the initial month. That would guarantee people will give it a chance. The only problem is that you would have to be pretty sure it would be able to handle all the people, and that the game would be good enough that people will be talking about it after the month is up, and more people will have to buy it.

  • Virtute1979

    I tried out the beta and it was pretty fun. Since Destiny is in a bit of a lull, and Titanfall 2 is still eating up most of my pvp time, this does look like a good breath of fresh air. I’ve seen you poking around answering comments Mr Jaffe, so were you the one that came up with these character designs, or some ideas for them? Mentioned in the interview about your doodling in your younger days so are these inspired directly from your past, or new ones? Either way, will probably convince my brothers to pick it up for some new pvp to check out. Congrats on the upcoming release!

  • To be honest, I wish this had some sort of single player campaign. I was in the BETA and while the multiplayer was alright, I had the most fun in the tutorial. It made me wish there was an entire single player experience like that, with bosses and PVE, and the like. I wish you luck with this, but I think too much focus on multiplayer and not enough on single player is what hurt Twisted Metal on PS3.

  • So excited! My game in April.

  • So I get my email and watch the video…I’ve never heard or seen about this game…..but it looks pretty frickin awesome..for $20 I’m in!!

  • Slickster410

    Wasn’t sure about it but now I am. Definitely happy it isn’t free to play. Game looks awesome, I just hope there’s enough people online so I can get into matches quickly.

  • OVERKILL-PR-

    4 players only on a multiplayer shooter? No way. Thas the main reason I never got For Honor. That is not a real challenge. Im a competitive player. I want at least a full squad on each team to make it challenging. I want to play with my friends as a team against the enemy team. Even if they put it as a free to play I will never try it.

  • Shut up and take my money!!! Looking forward to play!

  • saiyanknight87

    Glad it’s coming. When we did an interview with David Jaffe for whats up PlayStation I said myself that I thought it was worth more than a free to play model. I’ll gladly pay for it. Hopefully he makes some dope themes and share factory themes to go with the release! And i played it at PSX 2014 with Sid Shuman ( In response to the first comment) and absolutely dug. The community is passionate about this game whether it is large or small. The community makes it what it is. Great news and great work David Jaffe and team!

  • JayBizzle311

    April 4th.. Gotta remember that date!

    I really hope this game gets a decent consistent fanbase. I really want to see this game to do good.

    Keep up all of the good work Jaffe!!!

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