June 26, 2007 12:01 PM | Simon Carless
Of course, this is exclusive as in 'only GSW cares', but myself and Brandon Sheffield had a chance to hang out with Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin for a group lunch with various other journos from IGN, 1UP, and other outlets.
Rubin, who left Naughty Dog a few years back, was in town to discuss his recently MySpace-purchased firm Flektor, which "...allows users to create slide shows using video, photos, text and effects/transitions" - and actually, he did mention that using game programmers for their Web 2.0 programming worked out really well. We'll be following up with Rubin and co-conspirator Andy Gavin for longer chats at some point soon.
But here's the real scoop - while discussing metal bands, Rubin revealed that in the early days of their firm, in the mid-'90s, Naughty Dog pitched Metallica on a game [presumably for the PlayStation] using the Crash Bandicoot game engine, with levels and enemies themed around the seminal band's songs.
Examples? Apparently, one of the levels was to be based around classic 'Ride The Lightning' song 'Trapped Under Ice', "...a nightmarish first-person narrative of a person being trapped under ice, both freezing and drowning", and one of the boss characters was to be 'The Thing That Should Not Be', from 'Master Of Puppets'.
Don't know about you guys, but all I can think of is the 'Foreigner' belt from Aqua Teen Hunger Force as a point of reference - power-ups derived from song titles too would have rocked (though now I'm just projecting!)
So what happened? According to Rubin, there was only a basic design doc worked on, and Metallica were potentially interested, but wanted complete creative control on the project. And Naughty Dog wanted a degree of control too, of course - so they decided to go their separate ways. As I recall, Metallica tried again with a vehicle combat game for Vivendi in 2003, but it got cancelled too. Tragedy.
[Oh, you want real game-related news? Rubin also updated us on Iron & The Maiden, his multimedia project which is coming out as a comic first - Newsarama has a recent interview with him that includes lots art for the title, which is debuting via Michael Turner's comic company Aspen. Apparently, Rubin has people working on 3D models of the characters, led by title character Michael Iron, and he's considering pitching it to game publishers, but that's not his top priority right now.]