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More From Spector On Deus Ex, Thief Sequels

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the fan-rage dept.

PC Games (Games) 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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I just hope (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454085)

I just hope Theif 3 Doesnt get 'Dumbed' down for the console generation.

Re:I just hope (1)

Sylver Dragon (445237) | more than 10 years ago | (#8458575)

Amen.
The two things that scared me as I read through the interview, and the previous preview:
1. There is going to be a console version, and from the previous games that Ion has released, it sounds like the don't localize each version. e.g. have functional differences betweem the Xbox and PC versions. And, at the risk of insulting console zelots, console FPS just don't come close to an FPS on the PC, not enough buttons, and looking with an analog stick is a PITA compared to mouse look.
2. in the original Thief games, Garrett was more or less incapable of combat; so much so that it became frustrating to many players, including Spector. While he's no match for a squadron of heavily armed guards, he has some teeth to him this time around. Increasing the player's offensive capabilities not only adds a new gameplay element, it keeps you from having to throw your progress away just because you can't sneak your way through every second of the game flawlessly.
Maybe I am alone in this belief, but part of the character of Garrett was the fact that he did suck in combat. Basically, if you tried to attack a Thief level in the same way you attack a Doom level, you were going to be dead, fast. To me, the whole point of the game was to out-think the guards, not outfight them. Heck, I only played the first two games on the Expert setting, no killing allowed, not even guards; boy, did my blackjack see a lot of use.
Sadly, it sounds like Thief 3 may lean too much towards the arcade-twitch style of play that is in most first person games.
As it is, the change in equipment (no rope arrows) is going to decrese the thinking in the game. We now have Climbing Gloves, which means that we won't really need to think three demsionally anymore, just 2D with the floor occasionally changing places with one of the walls. No more creative ways to get around, just follow along the walls where the developers want you to go.
Oh well, here's hoping that Thief 3 is at least half as good as the first two were.

Re:I just hope (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 10 years ago | (#8458681)

You might try playing the games again, and eventually Thief 3, like this. [lytha.com]

Re:I just hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8460504)

I loved the fact that if I didnt do things just right, I would die, or at least come very close.

The later levels (of the original Thief) left me with little ammo, little options, and lots of enemies.

I enjoyed the hell out of it.

RIAA - listen up! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454139)

The ONLY way you can become a thief using a computer is by playing this "Thief" game. It is technically impossible to be a thief just by duplicating audio files via use of Grokster.

However, the irony of downloading a cracked copy of "Thief" from Kazaa cannot be ignored.

missed chance... (4, Interesting)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454237)

The reviewer, unfortunatley, missed his chance to really grill Spector. Spector admitted that not having a drag and drop interface for the PC was a mistake. I really would have liked to have seen the reviewer go in and ask about other mistakes. And to see if those are going to be worked on for Thief.

Oh well. I suppose the interviewer was afraid that if he really grilled Spector, then Sector wouldn't do any more interviews with gamespy.

I guess we can only hope that Thief benifits from the lessons learned in makeing Deus Ex 2

Re:missed chance... (4, Interesting)

orion024 (694922) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454394)

I, took, was hoping Spector would have been asked about some of the design "mistakes" that the Ion team made regarding DX:IW. Not because I wanted him to get raked over the coals, but because I wanted to know that they knew what mistakes were made, so they could be avoided in the future. Sure, lack of drag-and-drop was an issue, but only one of many that I hope are not repeatead in the future.

Problems with DX2 (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8473369)

I agree, Spector is waaaay off if he thinks that that is why PC gamers are pissed at him. Either he knows but doesn't want to talk about it, or Ion Storm has some SERIOUS vertical communication problems.

Problems in DX2 that were bigger than the menu issue:

- PERFORMANCE: I have seen it chug on a high end system with a Radeon 9800XT, mainly due to poor default configuration
- Radeon support: deals with manufacturers are bs
- Bugmaggedon: so many bits from the XBox version polluting the PC version it's a wonder it works at all... there are even bits of X-Box specific code in the config files
- Tiny levels: level sizes were chopped down to what would fit in an XBox's memory, which is pretty much nothing by PC standards when you consider most newer PCs have 512+ megs of RAM. As a result there are very few big open spaces in the game and it feels totally claustophobic.
- Lack of plot cohesion: So there are these factions, and you like, ally with one and the others hate you. Oh, and it's all kinda post apocalyptic and stuff. Great story, jerks.
- Combat model: No headshots, crappy weapon power (apparently shooting someone with a sniper rifle is more effective if they don't *know* you're going to shoot them), universal ammo type (what the FUCK), no big open areas to fight in
- No skill system... no points, no experience, nuttin. This means it is no longer really an RPG, just a shoot 'em up. And not a very good one.

I could go on but I'm choking up with rage here... please god let Carmack deliver us from mediocrity.

Re:missed chance... (2, Interesting)

imr (106517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455099)

I guess we can only hope that Thief benifits from the lessons learned in makeing Deus Ex 2
Since he recognizes only this error and then says that they didnt have to dumb down the game to make it a console one, i think that this hope relies on the fact that all he said in this article was just plain commercail talking and not the expression of truth. Otherwise, no, he didnt realize that.

Excuse me but we're talking about GameSpy... (1)

thirty2bit (685528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459770)

... noted for politically correct interviews and shamless posterior kissing...

Didn't GS do a pretty rosey review of DX:IW?

DX2 (3, Insightful)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454533)

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.

Re:DX2 (3, Interesting)

ceej (185138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454595)

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.)

Re:DX2 (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454638)

The level size wouldn't have annoyed me if the loading times were shorter, but yeah - the combination of those two would probably be second on my list.

Re:DX2 (1)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454678)

YES-

That constant loading was the most annoying part. Because that completely ruined the 'pacing' of the game for me. I never felt that things flowed, and I was afraid to go through certain doors, elevators, etc because I knew it would hit a load point.

Re:DX2 (2, Insightful)

robson (60067) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:DX2 (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459718)

The original did not have fast load times (although they were shorter than DX2's). Also, there were a lot of times in DX1 when I would have liked an opportunity to just turn around and go back instantly instead of doing it after wasting 2 load times.

Re:DX2 (1)

imr (106517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455054)

Not at all, when he said it was too small and too actiony, he was talking about the demo, not the game.

Re:DX2 (1)

inkless1 (1269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8457175)

Yup, you're right. My misread.

Great... (5, Funny)

Terminal Saint (668751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454560)

So who's ready for a unified arrow system in Thief 3?

Spector is delusional (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8454809)

KOTOR is Deus Ex-like? Come again? In what way? If he's talking about the fact that KOTOR doesn't suck, then it's nothing like Deus Ex IW. I love the man's games, they are true classics- from Origin on to Ion Storm, but Spector should really just quit while he's ahead.

Deus Ex 1 was a start. You solidify the legacy, justify all the hype with a GREAT sequel. That opportunity has been missed. If I had a nickel for all the "emergent-gamplay" and various other hype-like crap that Spector spewed over DX:IW (all of which I totally bought into, BTW)...at some point you've gotta shut up and let the game do the talking. I didn't like what Deus Ex 2 had to say, and that's not based on unrealistic expectations and I'm not the only one who feels that way.

No, you don't put out a crappy compromised piece of crap that was NO FUN and get to compare it to KOTOR. That's just delusional.

Next Tomb-Raider game? (1)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454882)

The plot of the next Tomb Raider game should kind of be a reverse from the standard. Lara Croft should put the Tomb Raider franchise in an unreachable tomb so that no one can ever retrieve it. I hope this is what he will do if ever attached to the franchise.

Re:Next Tomb-Raider game? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8455107)

Tomb Raiders that was a great game all of the midnight necrophiliac runs to the grave yard...

Spector is a nut (2, Insightful)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8455211)

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.

Forums are Important (4, Interesting)

SeanAhern (25764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456106)

In this interview, Spector comes right out and tells us that posting complaints in the various forums is important!
[W]e had people scouring the forums and then we collected the big issues people were raising. I mean, some guy complaining about something or some girl complaining about one thing, whatever. But we tracked the trends and put them up on a big whiteboard and said, "Which of these should we address, which of these can we address, which of these must we address?" And we culled it down to the things that we thought we should do. That's how we created our feature list for the patches.
So keep posting. Keep complaining when things like DX:IW suck. You have more power than you think you do. They listen!

Re:Forums are Important (1)

imr (106517) | more than 10 years ago | (#8457668)

Yes, sure!
How many person would at his job pass along the kind of information that are available here:
-They believe spector is either a terrible liar or completly delusional and finished. They havent decided yet.
-We released crap and they know it. They firmly know that our next release is going to be crap.
-they fart in our general direction.

Re:Forums are Important (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459800)

Yeah, they listen... sometimes.

Forums and getting e-mails from users are nice and all, but face it, most of them are just complaints. There are four main types of people.

One is the guy who likes your game. However, instead of writing an e-mail/posting on the forum saying "DIS GAME IS TEH R0X0RZ!111!!!", he says to himself and/or to his friends "Yeah its a good game and I showed my support by buying their game." This is generally consitutes the majority. Next we have the same type of guy, only he actually e-mails/posts on the forum giving their support. However, these people are few and far between without going to a fan site. (How many people bought Deux Ex 2, and then how many people are even REGISTERED on their forums?)

For the last two we have, of course, the complainers. These are basicly the evil dopplegangers of the people who like the game. Only they're more vocal. A LOT more vocal. Now admittedly some games are REALLY bad and end up deserving most of the criticism, but some of the complaints you can hear are insane.

Re:Forums are Important (1)

M3wThr33 (310489) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459837)

Deus Ex: IW (Note the lack of a 2) is a fine game on it's own, but failed to deliver as a sequel to the original game.

I would have controversial reaction (2, Funny)

hambonewilkins (739531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456175)

I would be pissed at Deus Ex II like everyone else but the demo never loaded up on my computer. In fact, it would just freeze my computer. But, I did like the black screen I was presented with.

That was a very impressive lighting effect, and I could tell that the engine had been improved.

Missed chances and the gaming media (4, Insightful)

superultra (670002) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456453)

Bigbigbison makes a good point [slashdot.org] 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.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (4, Insightful)

GTarrant (726871) | more than 10 years ago | (#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.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (1)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 10 years ago | (#8457785)

IMO ppl are more and more only getting games magazines for the cover DVDs and the stuff they contain.
I cant remember the last time I read an article about a game online or in a magazine and was sold on it.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8458164)

It seems to me that even if a magazine slammed a truly bad game, the publisher would be foolish in the extreme to refuse to advertize with them. First of all, they'd miss out on advertizing to the magazine's subscribers (this is obvious). Second, they'd be slammed by the magazine again for being such slimeballs, and all of the magazine's subscribers would hear about it (while not hearing about any of the publisher's other games, oddly enough).

What's needed is for a game magazine to just grow some balls and stand up to the publishers. The publishers would probably back down. Obviously it would need to be a magazine with a lot of subscribers, but there are plenty that could do it. They're all just chicken.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (2, Informative)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8459122)

This is why I only trust the aggregates from gametab.com - If you take a look through them they're pretty representative of the overall quality and production value of a game. For instance, top of the list is Vice City for the PC platform, and nowhere on the top ten can I see Enter the Matrix or DX2. Although Gametab does take ratings from the big reviewers, they also grab ratings from as many smaller indy review sites as they can. This gives a much better sample of real reviewers and journalists.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (1)

delus10n0 (524126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8457888)

To this day I haven't been able to play my copy of Enter The Matrix, due to bugs/glitches.

ASUS A7N8X Deluxe Motherboard
Athlon 2.0Ghz
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
1 gigabyte of PC2100 (Crucial)
nForce digital SP/DIF audio

-- Video is horribly slow, especially when going into "Focus" mode (try playing with 1 FPS.) Audio drops out randomly, or starts to screech super loud and I have to hurry and turn down my speakers, even with EAX/3d audio disabled. You can see through certain walls, and during cutscenes, entire characters will disappear/reappear. Gamma is incorrect and inconsistent. Wheels appear as squares during driving sequences (even with the level of detail settings adjusted.)

It boggles my mind that something that buggy was even released to the public.

Re:Missed chances and the gaming media (1)

frankthechicken (607647) | more than 10 years ago | (#8460225)

One big problem is who these magazines/sites are aimed at, specifically the age groups.

They are still largely trying to compete for the same kiddie-teen demographic, and therefore the interviews are not going to be cutting, sharp or insightful, they're going to be "So how many explosions, how many whizz-bangs?" etc.

As you rightly pointed out, the industry is still young, and the age range of users is still (falsely) perceived as being young. For instance, in the UK there is only one dedicated games magazine that I would say is being aimed at the adult market(Edge magazine [widearea.co.uk] ), and inside you are unlikely to see interviews basically saying your last game was crap, why?

But one thing you have to remember, how many music/movie magazines ask their interviewees similar questions? I would doubt there are that many.

Deus Ex - I liked it (1)

MacFury (659201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8460142)

Deus Ex improved on the original in many ways. It had its weaknesses but it wan't that bad of a game.

I think I will wait (1)

Arch-out (710539) | more than 10 years ago | (#8470327)

With his interview and DX:IW I think I will not be running out to get Thief III. I will get it but just not right away. Mr. Spector has almost become the Chris bangle (BMW car desinger www.petitiononline.com/STOPCB/petition.html) of the gaming world here. I did go out and get the very first day DX:IW because I loved the first and hoped that what people were saying about it was wrong. Well I was wrong. It did look like making it for the PC was just an after though. Along with most every complaint that I have seen no ONE is the end of the world but all together they bring down what could have been a great game. I can easly see the same happen with Thief III. Its on the same engine, developed at the same time, by a lot of the same people with Mr. Spector in charge. I really don't care if he did not like the fact that you could not fight your way through a level ( you can by the way but you have to be patient and take your time, which he apparently can not) I liked it that way and expected it to be that way( the game is called Thief right?). Yes I will buy it, Yes I hope it is a great game, No I am not getting my hopes up. Ok FLAME ON!!!
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