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Default Junction Point Studios - Warren Spector Interview

December 18th, 2007, 00:11
The ubiquitous Warren Spector (imagine a studio with Warren, Bill Roper and Peter Molyneux - would they fight over the microphone?) has been interviewed at Eurogamer. As usual - since he can't discuss his specific project - the conversation rambles around Deus Ex 3, Looking Glass, Valve and the development process. Among other things, he says hardcore fans will vilify him when his project is revealed and that he won't make a 20 hour game ever again. Here's the intro:
Since its creation in 2005, Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios has been quiet. Stories existed, whose details remained stubbornly elusive. It was working with Valve on something that'll be released through Steam. It was working on a massively multiplayer fantasy game… actually, no, now a single-player fantasy game, no now… well, you get the idea.
The first definite news came in July and it was a total surprise. Disney Interactive had acquired Junction Point Studios. This was, to say the least, unexpected. Warren Spector was known for adult-rated videogames. Disney weren't. Fascinating times ahead.
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December 18th, 2007, 00:12
I met Warren briefly a long time ago, and have always enjoyed his games. Bright, nice guy. One of the few guys with a real vision in this industry. I personally have a lot more fondness for his designs than a lot of bigger names, such as Peter M and Will Wright. Even the much-lambasted Deus Ex 2 was, to me, pretty fun.

I think you can consider him a guiding force for games with a great mix of options and atmosphere. Some studios — like Bethesda — shoot for so much content (terrain, dungeons, characters, character classes) that the atmosphere and narrative can't help but suffer; some, like just about any pure adventure game, can have great a feel and atmosphere but the choices are restricted to a single path. Spector's games have always, for me, represented a great compromise; they offered significant choices, but not so many that the game got stretched too thin.

I look forward to whatever he does next.
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December 18th, 2007, 12:32
Originally Posted by scree View Post
Spector's games have always, for me, represented a great compromise; they offered significant choices, but not so many that the game got stretched too thin.
I totally agree. These games have this "focused openness" in common. I guess it's directly connected with things like emergent gameplay, a somewhat small but believable universe and a story/path in which you have to make some choices.

Originally Posted by scree View Post
I look forward to whatever he does next.
Especially if it's an MMO
BTW, is MMO that "other genre" he is frustrated about and that he is willing to show how lame are those who are making it nowdays ?
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December 18th, 2007, 16:38
What an arrogant asshole. I have never in my life seen a guy so blatantly alienate his fan base. This guy has no idea that the people he makes fun of, the "18-year-old in a frat house who likes to frag", are the exact same people who made him who he is. This are the people reading the interview. Without the hardcore gamers, this guy would be nothing. He apparently hasn't learned from Deus Ex: Invisible War. In his mind, it's the hardcore gamers' fault for not accepting it. Not his and Harvey Smith's for making a shitty game.

By the way, I hope that this interview will permanenly put to bed the notion that Spector bears no fault for Invisible War. Spector apologists have been trying to divorce him from that game for years but this interview shows that he was totally on board with the dumbing down philosophy of the game.

It's going to be glorious. Just glorious.

hah hah. I wonder if he'll find it glorious when he is unemployed again after his game flops.
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December 18th, 2007, 17:19
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
hah hah. I wonder if he'll find it glorious when he is unemployed again after his game flops.
The thing is, the game probably won't flop. People who buy games based on a cult of personality surrounding the developer are a distinct minority of the overall audience. Spector is directly addressing that small percentile of players who obsess over who did what on which game, in particular what Spector himself has done (since he's the subject of the interview). He's very arrogant, yes, but I have to admit I love his sense of callous humour in this situation.

But the game in all likelihood will not flop if he handles development properly. Now, it could flop if he tries to bridge two completely different audiences (eg Disney property fans and Spector fans), since the game will suit neither. But it sounds like he knows what he's doing. If this is the Disney property game he's talking about in the interview, most people who buy it will not know and not care who Warren Spector is and what games he has made in the past, nor whether he is arrogant or not.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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December 18th, 2007, 18:45
OK yeah, if he's making some crappy movie tie-in then it will sell well. I don't think that's saying a lot though since Disney could probaby pay any studio a pittance to crap out a tie-in game and it would sell well. It doesn't change the fact that the guy is an egotistical douchebag who thinks that the ticket to success is insulting the people who made him financially successful in the first place.
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December 18th, 2007, 19:35
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
It doesn't change the fact that the guy is an egotistical douchebag who thinks that the ticket to success is insulting the people who made him financially successful in the first place.
Maybe it's me, but I don't see how pointing out that you're getting old and seeing things differently is insulting to anyone. If it's putting anyone down at all, it's putting yourself down. Nor do I see anything wrong with mentioning how people who play shooters enjoy them, even if you don't.

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December 18th, 2007, 20:06
At any rate, we're talking about Disney, so anything he does from this point forward is irrelevant to me.
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December 18th, 2007, 20:07
Originally Posted by Squeek View Post
Maybe it's me, but I don't see how pointing out that you're getting old and seeing things differently is insulting to anyone. If it's putting anyone down at all, it's putting yourself down. Nor do I see anything wrong with mentioning how people who play shooters enjoy them, even if you don't.
Yep. If anything, the interview was merely Spector saying that after being in the business for as long as he has, and getting older with a different perspective, he's now designing games differently. I don't see any insults or put-downs at all in his comments.
If someone finds the comment "frat boy who likes to frag" insulting, that's one's own insecurities, not an insult from Spector.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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December 18th, 2007, 20:30
Go back and read the first two questions. If you can't see that Spector is very very very obviously referring to Deus Ex: Invisible War and snidely insulting people who complained about the game then you're blind. I can't think of anyone in the business with a more condescending attitude than this, and it's similar to everything that I have read or heard from the guy in the past four years.

Originally Posted by SacrificiaLamb View Post
At any rate, we're talking about Disney, so anything he does from this point forward is irrelevant to me.
I'm with you there. The guy is a complete has-been.
Last edited by doctor_kaz; December 18th, 2007 at 20:40.
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December 18th, 2007, 20:53
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
Go back and read the first two questions. If you can't see that Spector is very very very obviously referring to Deus Ex: Invisible War and snidely insulting people who complained about the game then you're blind.
Um, I think you're taking the interview comments far too personally and seriously here and reading a heck of a lot into it all. A reading which clearly reflects your own personal bias and opinions to be precise.
But then I don't really get the vitriol about IW. It wasn't as good as DX but it was still a good game, and a lot better than any other shooter/RPG hybrid I've come across since IW was released.

I can't think of anyone in the business with a more condescending attitude than this, and it's similar to everything that I have read or heard from the guy in the past four years.
Ok, so it's acceptable for anonymous internet people to be insulting, condescending and rude towards Spector, but it's not acceptable if and when he does it back?

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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December 18th, 2007, 21:37
The Internet has always been harsh and for the exact reasons Spector explained. Just take take a look at the religious discussion here at our forums. In the regular world defying people to defend their beliefs, suggesting that they're silly or even stupid, is about as obnoxious as it gets. But that's nothing on the Net.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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December 18th, 2007, 22:40
I don't see doctor_kaz reading anything into it or reaching in anyway, spector screwed up his own IP, with fans warning, begging and yelling he was making a mistake the whole time. They were right and he was wrong.

He constantly tries to self justify when he pretends to apologize "I will admit we screwed up, if everyone admits we were trying something new." Oh, yeah that's something new and stupid alright, rewriting the Unreal engine with Dynamic Lighting and 2 AAA games in 3 years, brilliant.
Classic case of egomaniac can't except responsibility for his mistakes, he was in charge, "We're Visionaries, not screw ups!

So now he is using the NEW excuse that he doesn't want to make quality RPGs because he bored, tired and an old man, well good for him. All he had to say was, "You know it's just too hard now days to make it as an Independent.", but Nooooo take swips at the fanbase that supported your good decisions for 15+ years, what a crybaby.

Yes, when Little Miss Mermaid 3 is a success, he will really be able to rub our faces in it.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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December 19th, 2007, 00:12
Originally Posted by lanael View Post
BTW, is MMO that "other genre" he is frustrated about and that he is willing to show how lame are those who are making it nowdays ?
Like Warren says, read his blog, man, read his blog:

"Iím hugely motivated these days by my love of and frustration with Zelda, Mario and other games of that ilk. Clearly, part of the appeal of these games is the chance to immerse oneself in familiar worlds and familiar gameplay. And thereís something soothing about knowing thereís One Right Way to do things. But as appealing as that idea is, thereís danger in too much reverence for the past, and these games seem so mired in their history, so married to convention they kind of make me mad. Prettier pictures wonít maintain sales forever. Someone has to offer a different take on action/adventure gameplay ó why not us here at JPS? The frustration is definitely building! And that means thereís a game comingÖ Man, I canít wait to talk more about this, but I better stop before I get myself in trouble."

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
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