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-   -   Junction Point Studios - Spector Interview @ Gamasutra (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1459)

Dhruin March 6th, 2007 14:41

Junction Point Studios - Spector Interview @ Gamasutra
 
Warren Spector has popped up at Gamasutra with a pre-GDC interview, revealing that Junction Point Studios' project will be discussed in some form at the conference. Until we see the details, with Spector still discussing choices in narrative, it seems worth watching:
Quote:

There's also a middle ground, and I don't think that it involves the choose-your-own adventure approach. There's a philosophy that I like to apply: as a developer I want to control the overall narrative arc. Using Deus Ex as an example, JC Denton has a brother, he works for this agency, and the agency turns out to be not what you thought it was and you have to switch sides because they turn on you. The terrorists are the good guys, and so on. All that stuff provides context and meaning for all of the minute-to-minute player choices. 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. There are some things that I think we can do to take that to the next level, and things that can be done a couple of years from now that can take it to yet another level. The end goal for me now isn't for me to allow players to play a movie, ride a roller coaster ride or provide a sandbox so they can do what they want, but is to find the compromise where I can have a dialog with each player virtually. That's what's exciting to me.
More information.

doctor_kaz March 6th, 2007 14:41

This guy is yesterday's news. I couldn't care less what he's working on.

curious March 6th, 2007 17:26

not to me. thanks for the newsbit Dhruin.

txa1265 March 6th, 2007 17:42

I think that all of the great former visionaries of the game world may still have gems left … heck, I'd look forward to a DWBradley review ;)

Ionstormsucks March 6th, 2007 18:14

Spector is a jerk. But nice to see he's still giving the clown. Wonder if he's still working on his plan to force players into paying for episodic content.

Stanza March 6th, 2007 18:29

Warren has a knack for putting together great teams, something that's very important to making great games. I'm looking forwards to what JPS ends up doing. If it's still possible for a studio to make a good, innovative game in this age of mega-publishers, JPS may be able to pull it off.

At the same time, I think someone needs to put a muzzle on Warren. His other notable knack is for making empassioned statements that make him sound like he either belongs on the lunatic fringe, or is completely clueless about the games his people make (re: his hype around DX:IW).

If they've found a good project manager to go with Warren's knack for team building, JPS could easily impress us all. If not, then we'll all once again think Warren's grasp on reality is slipping further away.

Guhndahb March 6th, 2007 19:20

Regardless of his popularity, his statements above are on the mark. I'm not saying it's the best way to formulate a game, as there is no best, but it is one way that gives me tremendous enjoyment. Deus Ex was proof of concept for that.

I choose to be optimistic about JPS's future, even if there's that little voice in the back of my head reminding me how often my optimism is misplaced.

doctor_kaz March 6th, 2007 21:46

Warren Spector is living off of the reputation of work that he did when Bill Clinton was still President of the United States! Work which, by the way, he doesn't himself appreciate or understand why so many people liked it. This guy hasn't done a damn thing for the world of gaming for seven years, and he has never apologized for Deus Ex: Invisible War or admitted that the game sucked (Peter Molyneaux has at least admitted that Fable did not meet expectations). Spector appears to have no empathy for what any of the fans of his greatest games want and he is irrelevant to the gaming industry now.

Acleacius March 6th, 2007 21:59

At least this is a good sign.
"I will say that Sheldon Pacotti, who was the lead writing on Deus Ex and Invisible War, he's now back with us at Junction Point"

I knida of agree with all the post here, I used to look forward to WS's interviews, now I read them but am very cautious and sceptical about what he says, after his flusher cluck of IW and his constant self-justifcation about it.
I recall he said "I will admit we were wrong if you admit we were trying something new".
I got news for you WS we all knew it was a mistake, how could you not and who the hell cares if you were trying something new, thats inherently bad?

Dez March 6th, 2007 23:18

He still is the mastermind behind deus ex 1. So I'm more than willing to forgive the IW fiasco. Besides it was more harwey Smith's game than it was Spector's. However i just can't understand why he keeps defending those horrible design choises. Most of those so called innovations were complete failures! Removing skills, smaller levels, and same ammo for all the guns.. these innovations were the biggest fun killers ever… :( I wish W.S himself had been the lead desinger instead of H.S… just maybe the game wouldn't have been so BAD.

Dhruin March 6th, 2007 23:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by doctor_kaz (Post 21768)
Warren Spector is living off of the reputation of work that he did when Bill Clinton was still President of the United States! Work which, by the way, he doesn't himself appreciate or understand why so many people liked it. This guy hasn't done a damn thing for the world of gaming for seven years, and he has never apologized for Deus Ex: Invisible War or admitted that the game sucked (Peter Molyneaux has at least admitted that Fable did not meet expectations). Spector appears to have no empathy for what any of the fans of his greatest games want and he is irrelevant to the gaming industry now.

Geez, harsh much? It's been a while since he put out anything great, so any skepticism seems perfectly fair but I don't see the need to apologise. DX:IW wasn't great but it wasn't an offence to mankind. Plenty of my favourite writers and directors occasionally screw up and put out something that doesn't meet the standards of their other work…I don't see any of them apologising, nor should they. A demo was released - caveat emptor. And don't underestimate the control Ubisoft had on the direction they took.

Lord Alex March 7th, 2007 03:29

DX:IW was actiony, boring, and completely unlike the first game in tone and pacing. In fact, it often felt like some other designers were trying to do a poor imitation of the Deus Ex style. I'm still baffled by that one and agree Warren could up his street cred by owning up to that game's many shortcomings.

However, all that aside, Warren Spector was at the helm of one of my all-time favorite games. For that reason, I'm always interested in what he has to say and what his future plans are with JPS.

Acleacius March 7th, 2007 04:36

"In fact, it often felt like some other designers were trying to do a poor imitation of the Deus Ex style."

Thats exactly what happened when WS put HS in charge.
It was HS fighting many of the great designs in Deus Ex and why WS fired about 30 of the main design team, with in a year of release, because HS was (as Lead) constatly getting over ruled by the team for his crappy ideas.

So remember if you cant get your way, just get rid of everyone else. :rolleyes:

abbaon March 7th, 2007 05:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acleacius (Post 21795)
It was HS fighting many of the great designs in Deus Ex and why WS fired about 30 of the main design team, with in a year of release, because HS was (as Lead) constatly getting over ruled by the team for his crappy ideas.

I'd never heard of this before. Do you remember where you read it?

doctor_kaz March 7th, 2007 07:20

Sorry, but I don't buy that it was Harvey Smith by himself making all of these bad design decisions. Warren Spector was behind them all the way (publicly, at least), and months before the game came out he was enthusiastically supporting how the game was being scaled back and dumbed down in gaming interviews while taking snide potshots at the fans. For example, he referred to large levels as "the stuff that people fast forward through in movies". The fans of Deus Ex practically got on their knees and begged Ion Storm not to screw up the sequel and Harvey Smith and Warren Spector said "Fuck you". I don't think that Harvey Smith worked on Thief: Deadly Shadows, but that game had tiny levels and other dumbing down decisions like the removal of rope arrows. Warren Spector personifies exactly why the hobby of PC gaming is in a state of decline, and I could care less if the guy ever makes another game again.

Acleacius March 7th, 2007 07:29

Trying to remember, mid to late 99 tied to the 30+ person layoff (of which there was only one I recall atm), it would have had to been news posted on Ion boards, possibly TTLG.

Might try key words of "Warren Spector 1999 ion storm layoff " if your intrested.

Maybe I am confused but wasn't it common knowledge their was a team split trying to get the game out the door?
Even WS was trying to get his Optical inventory in the orginal (per his own description) but the he was over ridden and didnt get it in until IW, iirc.
There was also tons of talk about it as IW's limitations and dumbing down were being revaled on Ion boards.

Anyway best I can recall at midnight, will certianly post if I remember more. :)

Acleacius March 7th, 2007 07:42

doctor_kaz
Yeah I remember the Ion boards too, fans were confused, upset, broken hearted and mad.
I recall WS saying that he let HS make like 90% of all the decisions, even if WS didnt agree.
For example WS wanted it to be about JC and it was HS idea to make it about someone else, also the ammo was HS, Optical inventory was WS.
The small assed levels, crappy graphics and crappy menu screns, all HS iirc.

No it was HS working on T3, that was Randy Smith (HS's brother) whom is very talented designer whom left months before release due to design differeneces, just as the 30 or so people left the orginal I mentioned above.
RS is currently and mostly a consulatant atm, afaik and as an example when a dev wants one of the best Stealth guys in the business they call RS, which is just what Arkane/Ubi did for Dark Messiah and why the rope arrows almost brought tears to my eyes. ;)

abbaon March 7th, 2007 09:08

I'm inclined to believe that Warren fired thirty people for insubordination (from a team of twenty full-time developers and six contractors) in the same way that Harvey Smith is Randy Smith's brother.

Avantenor March 7th, 2007 12:21

@Spector:

He's an intelligent man, he normally get's the point and most of his thoughts are / come true. He's a man of vision, sometimes really great visions. But as I had to say when I read a german interview with Louis Castle, he isn't able to provoke anything in the industry. Spector talks about art, and the art in games industry has gone long before. About the time, EA decided to use their abbreviation as official branding for their games. The time of the great game designers is over.

Dhruin March 7th, 2007 12:31

I think we've entered a twilight zone of misinformation. In addition to the Randy / Harvey Smith thing, I don't recall Spector firing 30 people right in the middle of Deus Ex' development. There were layoffs in Romero's Dallas Ion Storm studios because neither Daikatana nor Aanachronox were successful - but not Spector's Austin studio.

There were 25-30 people layed off in 2004 but by Ubisoft, rather than Spector, and because DX2 wasn't successful enough, not because of creative differences. I have an email from insider who wrote to RPGDot about the layoffs…I'll dig it up if this conversation continues.

@doctor_kaz…I'm not making excuses for Spector - he was the boss, so he carries the can. I just don't think he deserves to be shot because they screwed up while under pressure from Ubisoft. Pretty much the same way I wouldn't shoot Cain despite writing some of the worst dialogue I've ever seen (ToEE) or Boyarsky for abandoning their real fans and creating a strictly linear Vampire. I may hesitate to buy Spector's next game but DX2 was nowhere near the sham that, say, Dungeon Lords was with Bradley. *shrug*


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