Clowns, Lies and Twisted Metal

Journalist Kyle Orland doesn’t like liars, so he was a bit disappointed when Eat, Sleep, Play’s David Jaffe debuted Twisted Metal for the PS3 at the Sony E3 press conference. Why would he be disappointed with that? Well, on several occasions Jaffe went out of his way to to emphatically state that that his company was not working on a Twisted Metal Game for PS3. Some would argue that he went out of his way to say that, even though it wasn’t the truth. In other words he lied to everyone.

In a blog post on his The Game Beat Blog Orland recounts what Jaffe said in the past, what he said today, and why it should matter to journalists: Here’s two choice paragraphs from that blog post:

Yes, Jaffe’s lie did help tamp down the recent rumors of the PS3 Twisted Metal game (rumors Jaffe himself helped start with his loose lips at this year’s DICE, I might add). But the lie didn’t remove the very question from all recorded history. Addressing a rumor with a lie is not a permanent solution. All lying does, in essence, is take the small problem of an inconveniently timed rumor and trade it in for the big problem of a plain-as-day lie in the very near future. Did you think we’d just forget about your previous statements? Did you think we wouldn’t care?

Maybe you did. And maybe we won’t or shouldn’t care. Maybe I’m being too sensitive and most of my fellow journalists don’t mind game makers actively lying to them. After all, Spong said they "expected that of [Jaffe]" after his lie was revealed. G4’s Andrew Pfister predicted Jaffe was lying just before the press conference started. Maybe I should accept that game companies are constantly lying to us and just loyally report whatever load of bull they hand us without worrying about whether I’m serving my readers or serving the companies I’m covering.

So as readers what do you think? Is it okay for game publishers and developers to lie and does it ultimately matter?

image source: House of Nintendo

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  1. jedidethfreak says:

    So, you really believe that lying to preserve a game’s identity for marketing purposes is the same as committing an Enron?

    Wow.  Do you hate surprise parties too?  You don’t let people wrap gifts, either, right?  Since they’d be lying about what they’re giving you, since you aren’t getting a wrapped box, but whats inside?

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  2. Bennett Beeny says:

    I don’t really care about him lying about whether a game is in development or not. But if he lies about this, what else might he lie about? Is his company doing okay? How would we know if there’s a culture of lying at the company. What if that culture gets broadcast throughout the industry? What if it causes the next housing bubble, stock market crash, the next Bernie Madoff scandal, etc.?

    Lying is wrong for a reason. It’s not just about a game. It’s about people’s livelihoods and about the type of society we want to live in.

    So yes, it’s a small issue, and it could morph into a big problem. The entertainment software industry is well beyond its teenage years. These folks ought to stop acting like kids and take their billion dollar industry a bit more seriously – and that means they should regard ethics as important.

    On the other hand, journalists have a responsibility not just to accept what industry folks say, but to INVESTIGATE. It seems this fact goes over the heads of today’s journalists. People lie all the time – that’s why we need journalists to dig deeper. I think part of the disappointment this journalist is feeling needs to be directed at himself. It’s not as if this stuff is hard to find out – talk to a few lower-level employees and you’ll get a lot closer to the truth. Seems no one bothered to do this. Instead they just took the easiest path and accepted what Jaffe said as gospel. If that’s journalism, then any idiot can be a journalist.

  3. Father Time says:

    I’ll take Graham’s position from ENN.

    "It’s the birthday rule. They get to lie about it to your face because it’s a surprise."

    This isn’t false advertising, this isn’t lying about say the failure rate of hardware or certain coffee related incidents, so I don’t see the harm.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  4. jedidethfreak says:

    So, you’re saying he should have been shouting about TM for the PS3 from the mountaintop?

    You do know that E3 is what that kind of stuff is for, right?

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  5. Stealthmaster says:

     I would rather him lie to my face than to the boring "Yes we are making a Twisted Metal game" during a interview. Showing off Twisted Metal was on of the highlights of Sony’s conference. The other two are Gabe Newell and Kevin Butler.

  6. foolkiller79 says:

    Future note:  Do not throw a surprise party for Kyle Orland.  He will be pissed if you have to lie to preserve the surprise.

    There are many things that threaten journalistic integrity in the gaming industry, but this is not one of them. 


    GameDrunk – Celebrating our two greatest passions.

  7. Chris Kimberley says:

    Trailers and videos are pretty easily faked.  And often are.


    Chris Kimberley

  8. Thad says:

    @tallimar: Are you trolling, or just stupid?

    "People are going to do unethical things, therefore there’s no point in discussing ethics" is probably the dumbest basis for an ethos I’ve ever heard.

  9. Vany says:

    "theyre going to lie irregardless of anyone’s moral opinions."









  10. tallimar says:

    "…Is it okay for game publishers and developers to lie…"

    why even ask this queston?  theyre going to lie irregardless of anyone’s moral opinions.

    "…does it ultimately matter?"

    not really, see my answer above.

  11. eston says:

    I would have become an immediate fan if he had stood up at the Sony conference and yelled "YOU LIE!"

  12. Monte says:

    Do we care if they lie? in this instance i have to say "no"…

    Really who the hell gives a damn if he lies about what game his company is or is not making? It doesn’t really change a damn thing except for when people can start getting hyped about the game. It’s pretty damn meaningless lie…

    The kind of lies i hate though are the kind that can harm me… like a lie about what kind of DRM a company is using; cause when it comes down to it there are some forms of DRM i don’t want to deal with and if you lie and say you aren’t using that DRM and i buy, then i will be really pissed when i find out the truth… I might also include lying about game content, if you tell something is gonna be in the game, something i want, then it damn well better be in the game. 

  13. CyberSkull says:

    More fun lies:

    "People don’t care about rootkits."

    "There is nothing wrong with the Xbox 360."


    So no, it is not OK to lie. Even small children know this.

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