Tagged: warren spector

Warren Spector rants on new Wolfenstein game; asks why major games share similar style and tone

Writing on his Facebook page, acclaimed developer Warren Spector asked if the world “really need[s] another Wolfenstein game” in reference to the recently unveiled first-person shooter. “Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game?” he wrote, adding that “No. The world did not. I am so tired of this.”

This outburst is in reference to the trailer for the game that depicts images of Nazi robots, guns, and violence. It all looks quite cool, though I can understand why Spector is so peeved by it: the sameness, the repetitiveness of it all.

He’s also quite taken aback by the voiceover: “Oh, and could we all just agree we’ll never use the generic gravelly whisper trailer voice guy ever again.” Well, that I can agree with, but I simply cannot get in line with this: “Please stop using Jimi Hendrix to promote your adolescent male power fantasies.” Hendrix’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower” is played throughout the teaser for the game.

Spector—I have all the respect in the world for you, but please, Hendrix is awesome. Hendrix can stay.

He later added that he’s not blaming Wolfenstein: The New Order specifically, but that he’s tired of shooters. He is “sick of a particular look and tone… particular trailer narration style… and [I am] worried about the state of the core game business.”

Further onwards, he asks whether anyone is worried about the state of the industry right now. He notes the presence of the indies, adding that the major publishers are not interested in selling anything besides generic shooters, sports, and action-RPG games.

Although it sounds like a rant, and it truly is, Spector raises an interesting and valid point. Why is the industry so fixated on a particular style? Why does everything have to be flat and grey? The answer is: they sell. These games bring in big money, and that’s what publishers are here to do—make money. It may sound crass, but it’s true, and it’s something we all have to live by. It’s a business, and a very profitable business at that.

The reason why anyone isn’t taking risks is because they can be financial disasters. Even big-budget games like Tomb Raider and Dead Space 3 have been reported not to meet their targets. Surprisingly, these aren’t even risky titles with radically different tones and themes. These were regular, ordinary games that simply didn’t sell as well as their publishers hoped they would. And that raises the question: why would they risk their precious resources on “different” things? Sadly, they won’t, so we’re stuck with and excited by games like Wolfenstein, among others.

Woo and Spector Strikes Ninja Gold

In a partnership of legendary proportions, acclaimed game designer Warren Spector (System Shock, Deus Ex) and film director John Woo (Hard Boiled, The Killer) have collaborated to make Ninja Gold, both a feature film and a video game.

Not much is known about the project yet, but the basic storyline revolves around a member of an ancient ninja tradition dealing with modern-day warfare. Apparently, it has been inspired by real world events. “The game concept is actually based on facts that the Yakuza and the Russian mob are involved in tons of gold being stolen in South Africa,” said producer Terence Chang.

“The idea actually started with John Woo,” said Spector. “He wanted to do something involving traditional ninjas in a modern-day setting, and the idea just resonated with me. I was intrigued with the idea of what happens when the traditional and the contemporary come into conflict.”

Though the film and the game will be independently developed, they have been intended as companion pieces from the beginning. “My thought from the start was to develop something that would work just as well in games as in movies, and I know John was thinking along the same lines,” Spector said. “This was an attempt to create a concept that would work in, and be developed for, a variety of media simultaneously. That’s something new for games–and for movies.”

No release date is pegged on either the movie or the game yet, though Woo plans on starting production on the film next year, pending the creation of a script.