System Shock level designer isn't impressed with mainstream games

Warren Spector, the father of Deus Ex and System Shock, is disappointed with the progress games have made, and he wants to fix it.

Published Thu, Feb 25 2016 2:09 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:01 PM CST

Warren Spector, the mind behind the original System Shock and Deus Ex, is making his way back into the game industry but he isn't too impressed with the progress he's seen since he made his exit so many years ago.

System Shock level designer isn't impressed with mainstream games |

He left the University of Texas to get back into an industry that he says changes constantly, but even that change seems to be just putting a facade over the same wall. Putting a new coat of paint on the same thing. "I can't believe I'm about to say this -- I'll never work in this industry again -- but in the mainstream space I really haven't seen a whole lot of progress. It seems like we're getting more finely-tuned, prettier versions of games we've been playing for years."

Spector sees a stagnant industry that's being held back by a number of different factors, but he's confident that better AI, non-combat related AI specifically, could help revitalize and breath new ideas into games. "What I want to do, is I see a variety of places where we could make some strides that would help take games to the next level. The biggest one, for me, is more robust characters and character AI. We've gotten very good at combat AI, we've made great strides there, but I don't think we've done much in the world of non-combat AI and interacting with people -- human or otherwise."

His disappointment, no matter how much of an authority he may or may not be compared to other great game developers, is a good thing. That criticism can breed new ideas as people challenge what Spector has said. And he can only bring something fresh, even if it fails at first, into the industry. Progress isn't always linear.


Jeff grew up in the Pacific Northwest where he fell in love with gaming and building his own PC’s. He's a huge fan of any genre of gaming from RTS to FPS, but especially favors space-sims. Now he's stepped into the adult world by becoming a professional student looking to break into the IT Security world. When he’s not deep in his studies, he’s deep in a new game, revisiting an old game, or testing the extreme limits of his own PC. He's now a news contributor for TweakTown, looking to bring a unique view on technology and gaming.

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