[one_third]Speaking at the ACMI Game Masters Exhibition in Melbourne, Warren Spector has elaborated on his frustrations with the Thief series and how they related to the origin of Deus Ex. Our transcript follows.[/one_third]
“Let me be clear: Thief is one of my favourite games. I love the Thief series. I adore it. But my frustration was very specific. I would sit in on team meetings as we were testing the game. There are countless places in various Thief games – let’s talk about the first one – where I would sit in on a team meeting and say, look, I’ve been playing the game, and that spot is too tough for me to sneak past. I can’t do it. Let me use my sword. I’m not gonna use it all the time! The weapons were purposely de-powered, not to encourage, but to force people to play the way the game required play, right?”
“It was a stealth game. If you made the weapons too powerful, the team feared that no one would sneak. Games are work. That’s the truth that dare not be spoken, right? The reason I don’t believe we will ever be a mass medium in the same way that sixty million people will watch a television show, or fifty million people will go to see a movie around the world – games are work, in a way that other media are not. Sneaking is hard work. It is harder than swinging a virtual sword, or firing a virtual gun.”
Games are work, in a way that other media are not.
“I was the producer, and I could have put my foot down. I always say, I’m the guy on the team who has one more vote than everybody else combined. But you want to use that power carefully. On Disney Epic Mickey 2, I used it twice. I don’t want to talk about what they are – after we ship, I’ll tell you.”
But Thief was a stealth game. And the fact that it was too hard for me to sneak past these places – yeah, okay, I’m a lame gamer, I’ll deal with it. But, in the back of my mind, I was thinking… I’m going to show these guys. I’m going to build a team and make a game where you can fight, sneak or talk your way past any problem, and show them that they are completely wrong. And there were some curse words in there that I’m not gonna say.”
“And that was where Deus Ex came from – that frustration that the team was so stubborn – and for Thief, so right. I was going to show them there was another way. Dammit.”