Deus Ex creator on how games are failing as a interactive narrative medium

Spector: â??Game writers need to learn to scale backâ??

Warren Spector, the mastermind behind the Deus Ex franchise and Thief 3, has spoken about his discontent with the current state of storytelling in games – a subject he is hugely passionate about.

Speaking to us in an exclusive interview during GDC08, Spector said: “My big current soapbox is ‘Hey game writers, get over yourselves and learn something from screenwriters!’

“For the past couple of years I’ve been reading a lot of scripts, and what I’ve noticed is that they can communicate really complex emotions in very few words. Less is more – and I’m the worst offender by the way, let me say that up front. But game writers really need to learn to scale back a bit. It’s almost like it’s a badge of honour that you have 250,000 lines of dialogue. How about we try to communicate the same emotions in a lot less?”

It’s not just the verbosity of the writing that Spector is dissatisfied with, though – he also highlights the way that stories are dropped into games as opposed to being woven around them as a personal bone of contention.

“I’m really not satisfied with the ‘OK, now you’re in the game part, now you’re in the story part’ model – interaction, movie, interaction, movie. That’s just not good enough.”

He continues: “The more game-like you make something the less traditionally story-like it becomes and the more story-like you make it the less game-like it becomes. That’s still true and I don’t see anybody having solved that yet.”

For more of Spector’s opinions on game narrative, as well as why he felt his Junction Point studio couldn’t be an independent in the current industry climate, check out the first part of our interview here. Part two will be published tomorrow.

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