Drawn to Death Creator David Jaffe Explains the Game's Layers of Depth

David Jaffe talks about Drawn to Death's gameplay mechanics, as well as how he fears the game's humor might distract from the other emotional beats it offers.

By Jordan Loeffler

March 20, 2017

David Jaffe has become known for his sometimes crude sense of humor and how he is able to darkly bend that into the games he develops (Twisted Metal). His newest creation, Drawn To Death, is no different. However, he asks that players really look beyond the base jokes in the title launching next month.

In an interview with Gamespot, Jaffe began by discussing how he feels the game’s mechanics differ from your everyday multiplayer shooter. He says that it’s a little more complex than that.

“You always want to put as much depth and mechanics into a game as you can. You’re typically pushed up against the wall with time. In Drawn To Death, I think we’ve gotten the benefits of time to flesh out these characters in the weapons and other things.

“A lot of times when I talk to people about the game, I’ll say it’s like a hybrid shooter-brawler. What we are trying to build is a skill-based competitive game. That includes learning special moves of individual characters and their pros and cons against other characters.”

Jaffe stresses that it has been a huge goal for the development team to not let players feel there is a pay-to-win mechanic at play with Drawn To Death. He points out that the greatest strength the player has when competing against others may not even be the ability to shoot faster than his/her opponents, but to outthink them and to become a stronger player even through failure.

“This whole game was built around the question of whether we could enrich and deepen the moment to moment on-the-battlefield experience, where the players are gonna do the best are not all the players who have good shooter reflexes but who are mentally engaged in with they’re fighting, which character they’ve picked and knowing the pros, cons, and counters. What we wanted was a feeling of having learned a bit more about the mechanics of the game after every match, no matter if you won or not. There should always be a sense of, “I may not have done great but I know there’s more. There’s a deeper end of the pool I can go into to get better.”

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Although Jaffe feels there’s a deep multiplayer experience present in his new game, he expects players to find that there is greater meaning to all of the environments. Amongst being a game with characters such as the poop-throwing monkey, there’s actually a level of depth that has been poured in to give a better understanding of the character whose mind has built the world players will inhabit.

“I want the story embedded in the game so players can discover pieces of the doodler’s life. There are no cutscenes or anything like that. If you look up in one map, there’s a detention slip based on the fight the guy got in with another guy in the opening. When you explore, you’ll see things he’s written about in the margins. There’s this girl in class he likes. Her name is Amy and if you explore the levels there’s stuff you’ll find related to her. They got little conversations and she’s written things in the notebook. There’s also animations happening in the backgrounds you can look for.

“The hope is that players who really get into the game will start to piece together not only the fiction of the individual characters’ own stories and relationships, but also who this guy is and why he’s drawing what he’s drawing. On the surface, it is a very juvenile level of humor. There’s a giant butthole and vomit jokes but this game is also about a kid who’s drawing these characters.”

Of course, this is a Jaffe game, and there will be no shortage of indecorous humor, but he asks that players not get distracted by it.

“My biggest challenge, my biggest worry is that there are people who only understand the game’s juvenile side. I love the juvenile stuff. I’m not embarrassed. What I thought was funny at fifteen is absolutely what I still think is funny now. I like fart jokes, dick jokes, and butthole jokes. What’s funny about a butthole joke? Cause you have a hole in your butt and poop comes out of it.

“There is very much a sense of that in Drawn To Death but I also think there is a self awareness that I hope people pick up on.”

Drawn to Death will be releasing exclusively for the PlayStation 4 on April 4. Jaffe has said that the game will release with “six characters, seven maps, five modes, 20-plus weapons, and a very large number of costumes, skins, and taunts.” Recently, it was revealed that the title will be one of the PlayStation Plus free games for April.

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Jordan Loeffler

Jordan is a Staff Writer at DualShockers, where he covers the latest in indies and collectibles. He has a degree in Creative Writing from University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. He is currently based out of Portland, OR.

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