Warren Spector, the creator of Deus Ex is spoken of highly when it comes to game development, his insights are gems. However, it appears that massively popular games like Uncharted 4, Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead did not really impress him.
He always insists that letting the players express themselves and get the experience that they have carved out should be of the highest importance; people who aren’t focusing on that should start making movies instead of games, he says.
Talking about Uncharted 4 he says that while it is “a better story than I’ll ever tell in a game,” it is “not your story.” Discussing games like this one, he added:
They limit your ability to interact with the game world, so the story can unfold the way the storyteller wants it to unfold. You have very limited ability to express yourself; it’s about how do you accomplish a predetermined path to get to the next plot point.
Tackling the way The Walking Dead works, Spector says that “every choice in a game like this has been pre-scripted and handwritten by a designer somewhere,” and that despite being compelling choices, they are “designer driven, not player driven.”
Last but not the least, he also doesn’t like the way Heavy Rain works – for the same reasons. The game tells a better story than he could ever in his entire career as a game developer, he says, but adds:
They tell better stories because no player will ever do anything surprising or unaccounted for. They’re basically like five movie scripts all mashed together, and you’re just picking which script you’re telling at any given point in time.
Whether you are a fan of The Walking Dead, Heavy Rain or Uncharted 4, it is a fact that Warren Spector does have a point in what he is trying to say. He is differentiating between movie making and videogames, he is drawing a line. But is that line what the community wants?