Friday, 10 May 2013

Warren Spector "Tired" of Games Like the Wolfenstein Reboot

Facebook fun time.

To cap off a week with a lot of different viewpoints comes one last one to add to the pile. This past week it was announced that Wolfenstein was getting a reboot. The game, called Wolfenstein: The New Order is the first game in the franchise for about four years, since the previous attempt to reboot the franchise that helped define FPS games didn't really take off.

Whether the game will be good or bad will remain to be seen, the game is still a long way off at this point. Still, early or not, that didn't stop Warren Spector of System Shock, Deus Ex, and most recently Epic Mickey fame from speaking out against it. He wrote on Facebook, asking "Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game? Uh. No. The world did not. I am so tired of stuff like this."

So, he's not a huge fan. To say the least.

His comments drew both praise and condemnation, and it's easy to see why. There are a lot of reboots these days that are lazily done attempts to cash in on nostalgia, especially with FPS genres. At the same time though, Spector knows roughly as much about this game as most other people do, which isn't a whole hell of a lot. The fact that he's criticizing it so early based solely on what it may represent and bring to the table as opposed to what it ultimately will has a fair number of people cross.

Spector also commented further on once the discussion started up, saying:

"You're welcome to write off my opinions but I have a right to express complaints about people recycling work as old as I am. I'm allowed to complain about the difficulty of getting new stuff green lit - new IP, new game styles and so on given my perspective as someone who's constantly fighting the pressure to "just make a shooter.

"And given the venom aimed at Disney Epic Mickey by people with no concern for how hard the team worked I don't think I need any lectures about that! I know how hard developers work - better than most people - but I wish all that effort were spent on something that pointed toward gaming's future rather than looking toward our past."

People again found it a little odd -- or as Jim Sterling wrote, hypocritical -- that Spector seemed to be angry over the fact that people were criticizing the Epic Mickey team, while at the same time seeming to criticize the Wolfenstein: The New Order team in the same way. The sad thing is that again, he raises valid points, a lot of the industry is based these days upon what is safe, what will make the most money for the least risk. This is a time where games can sell hundreds of thousands of copies and still be considered failures, there's a lot wrong with the system.

At the same time though, who's to ultimately say that this new Wolfenstein game won't be the next great thing? The next System Shock or Dishonored or what have you? Are the odds of it great? Probably not, but they're not nonexistent either.

Spector has since posted a piece in which he does apologize to the dev team while maintaining his right to have issue with the current state of things and speak out about it. There's nothing wrong with that mentality, either, it's shockingly close to what I actually have.

I just think that it's kind of a shame that a good point about things got lost in part due to the tone that it was wrapped in. That's just me though.

As an aside, I'm going on a small hiatus next week. See you all again come May the 20th.

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