Jaffe’s Cancelled “Heartland” Cried Anti-Bush

March 2, 2010 Written by Dan Massi

When you think David Jaffe, almost two things immediately come to mind. One, is Twisted Metal, and the other, of course, God of War. Both games bring brutal violence, mature content, and fantastic gameplay to the table. However, when you think of David Jaffe, do you also get the image of an emotionally provocative PSP title? Well, that was Heartland, a PlayStation Portable title in development by the legendary game designer.

Heartland came to David Jaffe after the release of the original God of War. The designer wanted to create another story-based title, but this time, for PSP. Surprisingly, the title was to be a first-person shooter, something that handheld gaming was not accustomed to. Jaffe recently spoke on the title to video game website Kotaku. He discussed the overall theme of the title, and it’s message.

“Heartland was a very liberal response to the Bush administration and the Iraq War. What I really wanted to do was to create a first-person shooter on the PSP that really tried to evoke emotions beyond the traditional emotions you get in a first-person shooter – you know, adrenalin and competition. I wanted to also evoke fear and sadness. It was basically an invasion of the United States by a greater military power and you basically played a reserve guy who was trying to get back to his family. It was really sort of my attempt at speaking through video games about George Bush the second and the war and all that stuff. That’s what Heartland was.”

Ultimately, the game was canned. However, when you hear about canceled games, it is usually due to problematic development. This was not the case with David Jaffe and his team though. At the time of Heartland’s development, another huge project was going on with Sony. That project? Warhawk.

“What happened was Scott would always call and say, you know we probably started with a team of about 20, and every couple of days he’s like ‘You know this guy got Warhawked. This guy got Warhawked.’ Basically Warhawk was in production at the studio at same time, and it obviously was a much bigger game from a standpoint of Sony’s agenda and lineup. It was a much more important title, because it was originally meant to be a launch title for the PS3, so we would keep losing members of our team to go over to help finish up Warhawk.”

Heartland was motivation create Eat Sleep Play and the idea grew into a studio. After the team began looking at XBLA for inspiration, the idea came up about the future company.

“By the end we were down to a skeleton crew of about six guys, and we were just like ‘You know what? This is stupid. What are we doing?’ That’s when we started looking at XBLA and saying ‘Hey, there’s this thing called Geometry Wars. There’s this option out there to start doing games like that.’ And that kinda gave rise to how we started Eat Sleep Play. So it all kind of led to where we are now, and that’s what happened to Heartland.”

Would you have liked to see Heartland released? Post below!

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