Warren Spector Thinks AAA Gaming Is "Same Old, With Prettier Pictures"

Legendary game developer Warren Spector (Deus Ex) says that he isn't interested in AAA gaming, calling it "same old, with prettier pictures".

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Yukes497d ago

Isn't he? What does "same old" even mean? Same as what? Games these days tell more immersive stories than ever before, and feature better combat than ever before. What has Spector done for the industry of late?

FullmetalRoyale497d ago

Best case, an argument could be made for this gen being close to last gen, with games like TLoU.
But that all blows the gen before out of the water. So idk what the problem is.

Swiftfox496d ago (Edited 496d ago )

They do? I would certainly say the quality of the stories being told are certainly more palatable, but are honestly nothing Hollywood hasn't already explored. I also think you hit the nail on the head "Tell more...." Games are not books, and they are not films. Games are a unique medium and yet are constantly being held down to a "gameplay, cutscene, gameplay, cutscene" we've had since the 90's with stories being told to us in the film method in the AAA space.

Better combat? Interesting you went with combat like that's the only thing games can have. An odd declaration players in games must be shooting something or beating something up. Nothing wrong with those experiences, but games can do so much more than just combat. Even the combat you're speaking of hasn't really evolved passed "move along, kill something, keep going." Favorite of the gen AAA game is open world and combat is simply "choose what you want to do: Action or Stealth?" Just listen to how many open world developers of AAA in a sit down stress "we want to give the player choice," Which is honestly short hand for "We want to make everyone happy and not alienate potential buyers."

Finally, asking what the person making the criticism has done lately is rather short sighted and dismissive. He's been developing games as whole, not just video games, longer than many users of this site have been alive. He's worked with big publishers and knows the industry inside and out. We don't get perspectives like these often, and criticisms like his are a healthy thing for the industry as a whole.

Concertoine496d ago (Edited 496d ago )

A lot of games feel same-y. So many games have bare bones and boring upgrade/skill trees, lack of open-ended design, perfunctory quest rewards, etc.

If i had a dollar for every game i spent crouch walking in bushes, throwing objects to distract braindead AI so i can hold a button to take them out of the fight.

Also, better combat? Like what? In fighting games combat has been dumbed down to the point of boredom. In hack and slash games, I'd say the complexity of combos and systems peaked at Bayonetta or DMC 4, 7 years ago.

morganfell496d ago


You are dead on the money. Spector is wrong. He is another person hanging on in an industry where he has lost relevancy. You do not see people trying to invent new types of Baseball, Basketball, or Football. No, you see teams trying to perfect those tried and true formulas. Same with gaming. Wild off the wall titles may catch our eye but they cannot hold our attention. It is a title that perfects a game type that actually isn't new which winds up having staying power.

agent4532496d ago

The lack of gameplay evolution. Gameplay in games peaked in the PS2 era which mark the last time of true gameplay evolution.

AAWELLS09496d ago

Exactly what I was thinking. If he is so amazing he should show everyone how its done.

Christopher496d ago

***Games these days tell more immersive stories than ever before***

Being more immersive means being prettier and easier to identify with. You just agreed with the person.

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freshslicepizza496d ago

No, he's not wrong. The AAA market is not sustainable which is why we have so many delays in projects and so much content either cut out for DLC or season passes.

The AAA market plays it way too safe, you want interesting games check out some indie titles or better yet the vast selection on the PC.

Istolla496d ago

Indie games and Nintendo games are all I've been playing lately.

496d ago
gametrotter497d ago

Yep, the indie scene is where proper games are being made. All of the standout experiences have been indie games. Think of Inside last year...

You've still got awesome AAA games, but there's way too much reliance on graphics and open world design. But that's what sells...

The 10th Rider496d ago

Games cost more to produce now, so AAA publishers have gotten bigger and a lot of smaller studios have gone under because they're not able to keep up. AAA publishers play things largely by the books because that's what will sell. With the size of teams there's also a lot less room for an individual to step in and make a difference in a game's development. The indie scene then rose up, focusing on smaller games and allowing for a lot more innovation. However those don't get the budget that those AAA games get. There's a lot of indie games I love, but I also hate that they're smaller in scope and the enjoyment is relatively short lived. What we need is some indie games that get larger in budget in scope, and some AAA publishers to give studios the reigns to try smaller passion projects. Not everything has to be a AAA blockbuster, but also not everything needs to be a 4-10 hour indie game. We've lost the middle ground and that's a big issue.

-Foxtrot497d ago

Oh and what was Epic Mickeys excuse?

Had a great licence and messed up...twice

gamerpop497d ago

He isn't a has-been ranting for the sake of ranting, though. Spector is largely right in what he's saying... Even Horizon Zero Dawn, which was super awesome, is just a rinse and repeat of everything we've seen before.

-Foxtrot497d ago

They were good games though...his games have been lacklustre

I think he's just a little bitter....not completely wrong but if he really thinks that then maybe he should try and do something to go against that instead of being all talk.

AspiringProGenji497d ago

I don't remember dealing with mechanical animals and dinos before... Do you mean the gameplay? Yeah Horizon may not have reinvented the wheel, but did it have to? Horizon has identity and sticks heavily to its concept despite borrowing ideas. That is where it success greatly: Identity

I believe in these days, Identity is very important since pretty much every idea has been played out already. Blizzard succeds doing this where their games aren't original but improved others' ideas and mechanics

I can see a gamer complaining about AAA being the same, but a developer? Why isn't he then making an AAA and show others how it's done?

ZeroX9876497d ago (Edited 497d ago )

I love games with a LOT of story telling and character progression. Graphics isn't the only aspect of a game.
Great voice actors aren't usually cheap.
People loves big games and if they're not completely generated by an algorithm, it takes a very large team to do it.
Sound effects in games like Gran Turismo and Forza actually needs a lot of different recordings to ensure accuracy and even then, people critics the final product!
Motion caps needs to be taken into consideration also to eliminate those old horrible animations.

Indie games are amazing at what they do, but I wouldn't abandon AAA titles because they're "same old with prettier pictures". But, I can understand that some of the AA titles can be considered mere copies of prior titles.

Cmv38496d ago

I hate this outlook. What was rinse and repeat about hzd?

Secondly every game is going to use elements from other games. Even minecraft did. Think of a fans with 100% new experience..... now create that game because you're about to be a millionaire.

I personally just want to play good games. A game is the sum of its parts. Hopefully all its parts work together and create a fun game.

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Princess_Pilfer497d ago

wether or not his games are good, and wether or mot he can change that has no impact on his point. (spoilers: no one game dev can chhange the publishing and development practices of an entire industry so long as said industry remains profitable they have no reason to listen).

The 10th Rider496d ago (Edited 496d ago )

His point wasn't that games aren't good, it's that there's not enough innovation in AAA games.

As for Epic Mickey: Yeah they weren't the best, but there was a lot of things he wanted to do that were shot down. He was originally going to have it so you could be an evil Mickey, of sorts. he also wanted to make it so that the third game in the trilogy was part musical. Both of those were shot down though. At least he was trying for something new.

As for what he's actually saying here: Look at series like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry . . . A lot of AAA series just release the same stuff every year or every other year. Those are the games that top the sales charts every year and for the most part they ARE the same thing each year with minimal improvements and a new coat of paint.

agent4532496d ago

Sadly you are correct. I still do not understand how call of duty and battlefield outsold Titanfall 2 a fps game that allow the gamer to use robots like Gundam, with no microtransanctions, free DLC, and an actual single player campaign.

The 10th Rider496d ago (Edited 496d ago )

Battlefield One is the only one of those series that I bought new recently. I had gotten Battlefield 3 for free at some point and Battlefield 4 for like $5. I never really played either because I was getting tired of the modern setting and I prefer Bad Company 2 anyways.

I'd have bought Titanfall 2 brand new if a WW1 Battlefield wasn't releasing the same month. No idea what EA was thinking there. They would have better off holding it for Spring, if nothing else.

basilboxer497d ago

I can think of a ton of AAA games that are still breaking new ground. Persona 5 and Breath of the Wild to name two from this year alone...

Segata496d ago

I love persona 5 but what ground did it break? It was pretty much a Persona game which we been playing for 20 years. Yeah the dungeons are different than before but nothing groundbreaking.

Cy497d ago

Typical dismissive crap designed to make him look smart and above it all while not actually offering any real, substantial criticism or alternatives.

Void000496d ago

Have you read any of his articles or listened to any of his podcasts? He makes very pointed criticisms.

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