Preview: Twisted Metal

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Brooks Clarke. Editor-in-Chief

Quick show of hands, how many of you out there remember a time in which the vehicular combat genre was all the rage? It kinda seems odd to think that, at one point in time, Call of Duty wasn’t the omnipresent entertainment Goliath that it is today. Not to bring back some really, really painful memories, but you know you’ve struck gold when even George Lucas gets in on the action (yes, I’m talking about you, Star Wars: Demolition).

Set to release on Valentine’s Day, Twisted Metal (Feb. 14, 2012) is more of an amalgamation of the series’ high points, rather than a continuation of the established canon. “It’s kind of a new universe that takes what we think is the best of the Twisted [Metal] series,” said series co-creator, David Jaffe.

A demo of the upcoming release, which hit the Playstation Network on January 31, gives players the chance to play both Deathmatch and Nuke, TM’s take on capture the flag, in the suburban-themed, “Sunsprings, California.”

While Deathmatch has been a series staple since its creation, Nuke is brand new mode for the Twisted franchise. Set up in a series of baseball-esque innings, the team-based mode has each side attempting to destroy each other’s base, and by base I mean a giant statue of each faction’s leader (e.g. Sweet Tooth for the Clown faction). Each team takes turns attempting to launch missiles at the enemy statue by capturing faction leaders, and feeding them into meat grinders attached to several missile launchers scattered throughout the level. In true Twisted Metal fashion, Nuke is nothing short of bedlam, and it’s an absolute blast to play.

In addition to increased mode variety, Twisted Metal now features playable helicopters. While it allows for greater mobility (and a wicked Gatling gun), “Talon” is one of the most fragile vehicles available, providing an interesting trade-off.

Whether this “rethinking” of the Twisted Metal franchise pans out for the tight-knit developers at Eat, Sleep, Play! is still largely a mystery. “Honestly, we’re a small team… and we really don’t know,” said Jaffe. “We don’t know if it’s going to sell huge or sell small. We have no clue where it’s gonna go.”

Eat, Sleep, Play! hasn’t ruled out the idea of releasing downloadable content, but the decision largely hinges on Twisted’s success. “If it’s a success, it would be a blast to do DLC, whether it’s levels or modes or vehicles,” said Jaffe. “Right now it’s up in the air.”

And while the recent announcement that series Director, David Jaffe will be leaving Eat, Sleep, Play! following the game’s release has brought increased speculation to the franchise’s long-term success, Jaffe was quick to reassure fans that he isn’t abandoning the house he helped build. “I am still WITH ESP and have not left and will not leave until we got TM launched and stick around2balance&bug fix&tune (probably another 1.5-3 months). Still being paid with ESP paycheck, etc. But I WILL be leaving2start new game studio.” said Jaffe, on Twitter (@davidscottjaffe). “Talking2peeps about some big, huge next gen game ideas I’d love for us2make, as well as cool stuff in the browser space.”

For more information on Twisted Metal, check out twistedmetal.com.