Monday, March 5

Warren Specter: A Gamasutra Interview

Warren Specter was interviewed today by Brandon Sheffield from Gamasutra. Warren Specter is a successful game designer from studios like Ion and Looking Glass, and most popularly the creator of Deus Ex. Specter is currently the lead designer at Junction Point and working on an unannounced game.

Back to the interview, its fascinating. Sheffield poses questions that prompt extrordinary answers (I also like how Sheffield gets involved in his conversation with Specter, its more of a discussion than a Q&A). Specter knows game design like the back of his hand. He has his own opinions and philosophies, as any designer does, and some may disagree with him, but Specter really does know what he's talking about, and most importantly, applies these ideas to his games. Everyone should read this interview, but here are some excerpted Specter Words of Wisdom:

There's a philosophy that I like to apply: as a developer I want to control the overall narrative arc....In that sense, I own all the acts and why you do things. Now, saying that, it's possible to own why you do things and leave how you do them in the players’ hands. The key for me is creating linked sandboxes and letting players explore those little narrative chunks on their own. I'll determine why it's important that you get through a door, but how you get through it, what happens and whether you kill, talk to or ignore everyone on the other side belongs to the player. That concept of sharing authorship is where the sweet spot of game narrative is.

Another point is that if you're going make a game that allows players to make significant choices that puts them in control of a narrative or of a character in a simulated world, you do have an obligation. You have an obligation to show the consequences of choices. One of the biggest problems with games, especially more linear games, is they say “kill everything that moves. Good player!” “Or win this game,” and then they pat you on the back for solving a puzzle, killing virtual things or crashing a car in a fantastic way...Even saving someone, because there might have been someone who wanted that person dead and now they hate you.
Specter says plenty of cool stuff. Check it out at Gamasutra. Oh, and please comment on Specter or narrative or anything else if you find anything particularly meaningful to you. Also, Specter has a GDC presentation this week that I will most definitely be posting about. Check back soon.

On an entirely different note, check out this Heavenly Sword clip. This game will rock.

Props to 1up for pointing out the interview

1 comment:

  1. Hope I can play that game soon.

    Regards. Younger Leo Blog