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More From Spector On Deus Ex, Thief Sequels 37

Thanks to GameSpy for its interview with Ion Storm's studio director Warren Spector, discussing "design, his excitement over the new Thief title, and past mistakes." He comments on the optional third-person mode in the forthcoming Thief: Deadly Shadows, suggesting: "It really does provide a kind of tactical awareness you don't get in a first-person mode", and goes on to further discuss the controversial fan reaction to Deus Ex: Invisible War, admitting: "We made a really bad, bad decision... by not supporting drag and drop in the interface on the PC version of Invisible War, and that was unforgivable." However, he doesn't comment on recent rumors that have him "aiding in the design of the next Tomb Raider game", currently in development at fellow Eidos-owned studio Crystal Dynamics.
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More From Spector On Deus Ex, Thief Sequels

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  • I just hope (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @02:40PM (#8454085)
    I just hope Theif 3 Doesnt get 'Dumbed' down for the console generation.

  • DX2 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by inkless1 ( 1269 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @03:18PM (#8454533) Homepage
    Well he does admit it was too short, and too action-y, which I'd agree with although it didn't ruin the game for me. Nor did the lack of drag and drop, since the menus never really stifled me.

    Biggest error in DX2 I think was over-fiddling the rendering engine for unrequired lighting tricks. The Unreal engine was perfectly apt to make their game world before they "improved" on it - which largely ended up doing two things: capping the top end performance at mediocre and ruining any chance for a level editor or mod community.
  • Spector is a nut (Score:3, Insightful)

    by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @04:09PM (#8455211) Homepage
    After reading that interview, I have now decided the man is crazy.

    He thinks the worst thing he did in the game was not having drag-and-drop inventory? Trust me, that's pretty bad, but FAR FAR FAR from the worst problem.

    And his comments on the demo don't touch on the fact that they released it with the Xbox settings activated.

    Either he is in denial that he released a crappy game or he is crazy.
  • Re:DX2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by robson ( 60067 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @04:53PM (#8455785)
    Tiny level size and long load times were the real killer for me with DX2. Drove me nuts every time I saw that confirmation dialog. (The original had fast load times, with no immersion-breaking dialogs.)

    And the small level size was a direct result of the limitations imposed by the new/complex/expensive lighting model.
  • by superultra ( 670002 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @05:49PM (#8456453) Homepage
    Bigbigbison makes a good point [] here that I'd like to elaborate on.

    Basically, the gaming media blows chunks. Not only should the issue be, "Where are the grilling questions to Spector" but extended, "Where are the grilling questions TO ANYONE." I have yet to really see some nice "journalism" in gaming. When we do have it, it is from the lower level gaming sites, such as the work by HardOCP on Infinium (kudos to them). EGM was all over Enter the Matrix and Dave Perry like prom night before the game came out, spilling their orgasmic spew of screenshots and quote-y blurbs throughout the centerfold of that issue. But when the game bombed, EGM resorted only to cowardly making scattered funnies here and there throughout the issues that followed. What they should have done is sent one of their writers to the doors of Shiny and camped outside with a pen and notepad like Harry Knowles for Obscure-Comic-Book-Superhero-Movie until they could "grill" Perry, instead of taking lame-ass joke-shots at him from the safety of their own pages.

    The fact is, Spector has given dozens of interviews since the release of DE:IW, but no one has the balls to really ask him the hard questions. When these magazines interview someone from a dev house that puts out a bug-infested game, the first question on the lips of the media should not be, "Ooo what goody goody game is coming out next tell us more give us screen shots! Mmmmm...screenshotss......" It should be holding the gaming houses accountable, the first question should be, "Why did your game crash computers? Did you know it would?." Etc. They might rely on people like Spector for interviews and advertising, but at the bottom of the structure supporting the gaming meda are the readers and it's to us that they ought to be directly serving.

    That's not even taking into account some of the more culturally relevant issues that are largely going ignored, like the treatment of war and Vietnam or Iraq by gaming publishers, for example. Why hasn't someone done a printed piece on why minorities are all but ignored in anything save sports video games? Why aren't our magazine writers playing the role press and critics are supposed to play and holding the publishers to the wall?

    Video gaming is, by and large, still infant and immature, and part of this is because our gaming media is more immature than the audience. Gaming isn't taken seriously by overall culture as is the case with film, writing, or visual arts, because our representatives, the gaming media, don't act seriously. If they're not big nerds (the bad kind), they're acting like them when, for example, they allow events like E3 to parade around objectified women to advertise games. We've never really advanced beyond the Nintendo Power stage of writing. There is a place for this kind of amateurism, sure, as there is in any viable medium, be it books or film or otherwise. But we have nothing else to speak of save that. That's sad, and it bodes poorly for the maturation of an industry and an artform.

    Someone really needs to smack these writers in the head with a large, heavy, and basic journalism textbook so that maybe, maybe!, they'll snap out of their adolescent obsession with ratings and screenshots and start acting like journalists and writers. That is to say, as journalists quote-unquote, they have a legacy behind them of cultural accountability that they have all but ignored because a sequel to Game X is coming out and just looks so AWESOME DUDE. It's time to start thinking about the games we're playing, and it's in the hands of the gaming media that the initiative lies. They've all but ignored it, as sadly demonstrated by the mentioned interview with Spector.

    Just one print magazine or website is all I ask for. Here's hoping.
  • by GTarrant ( 726871 ) on Wednesday March 03, 2004 @07:03PM (#8457390)
    Excellent post. There are two issues here, of course - money and access.

    When a newspaper or magazine does an article about Topic X, even if for some reason it really raked X over the coals, they know they have an almost indefinite source of advertising that they can draw from. Hell, it's why much of the time these days, "advertiser boycotts" don't work as well as they could. One drops out, another takes its place. In addition, since there are a zillion potential stories for a magazine, if one company doesn't like you, there are others you can interview, etc.

    However, in the gaming realm, there are what, five, six, seven major publishing houses that are giving you most of your ads. Look through your average magazine and count the number of game ads that are for EA-published games. Or Activision. Or Sony. etc. Which means two things:

    1. If these companies decide they don't want to advertise with you anymore, there's no one else to take their place.

    2. If these companies decide they hate you, you don't get your interviews/previews/extra copies/what have you, and everyone else (that is still kissing butt) does.

    Look at Deus Ex II - I remember when the demo came out and everyone was talking about the problems, the word from On High was "It's just the demo." I even remember a few articles at various places (Gamespy for one) talking about these problems...the performance (due to the lighting), the "dumbing down" of the interface, the loss of the broad XP system the original had, many other things. But then, the game comes out, and lo and behold, all these places give great reviews and barely gloss over the problems that *they themselves talked about not weeks before*. Or, if they do mention them, it doesn't seem to affect the score they give the game.

    So everyone's happy except the gamer that goes out and buys the game. The site keeps getting ad money, the company got a good review.

    It would be great to ask Mr. Spector questions like "Now that you've seen the reaction DX2 got, what would you have done differently?" or "Why did you focus so much on lighting effects few people care about (and that many turn off) and sacrifice the large, interactive areas that the original DX had?" and such. I just don't see that happening, though. After all, one bad question and suddenly your Thief 3 exclusive is in the competitor's magazine, and your boss is showing you the door.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.