Warren Spector: ‘I Really Haven’t Seen a Whole Lot of Progress’ in Mainstream Games

/ 2 years ago

Warren Spector

Warren Spector is a video game level designer who helped pioneer the concept of non-linear gameplay and the ability to cater to different styles. The most famous example is Deus Ex which gave the player the freedom to choose between stealth tactics or a more aggressive approach. Warren Spector also produced a huge range of iconic games including Ultima VI, Wing Commander, System Shock and more! In recent years, he worked on the Epic Mickey series which received fairly poor reviews. While the first game was pretty decent, its sequel was terrible, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. In a recent interview with Gamasutra, Spector criticized the current mainstream gaming market and explained why he was returning to develop System Shock 3:

“I can’t believe I’m about to say this — I’ll never work in this industry again — but in the mainstream space I really haven’t seen a whole lot of progress. It seems like we’re getting more finely-tuned, prettier versions of games we’ve been playing for years.”

“What I want to do, is I see a variety of places where we could make some strides that would help take games to the next level. The biggest one, for me, is more robust characters and character AI. We’ve gotten very good at combat AI, we’ve made great strides there, but I don’t think we’ve done much in the world of non-combat AI and interacting with people — human or otherwise. We haven’t done a lot with conversation, and establishing emotional relationships with characters in games. So I’d very much like to play with that,”

“So I’ve done the big-budget, huge team thing, and at this point what I’d like to do is smaller, lower-budget, almost like “games as a service” model games that require somewhere between 10-20 people to make. I don’t want to get much bigger than that,”

“I don’t want to get so far away from the game that I have to spend all my time running an enormous studio and dealing with publishers. I want to be in the thick of it, so smaller teams is part of the deal.”

Some might argue modern games opt for sequels based on previous success due the cost of development. Although, there does seem to be a lack of innovation right now. Do you think Warren Spector has a point?

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