Warren Spector Remembers Origin
Our friends at the Wing Commander CIC have posted a link to this interview with Warren Spector conducted by Metro, a British publication. Metro’s GameCentral team caught up with Spector recently, and sat down with him for a quite lengthy interview about his history in the gaming industry…and where he wants to go next.
Naturally, Ultima merits a couple of mentions:
GC: Well, I think we’re all glad you made that choice. Now, I’m afraid I’m relying on Wikipedia for this question but it seems like your first game, or at least first retail game, was one of the Wing Commanders, is that right?
WS: Ah, no. [laughs] I actually did some uncredited testing on the very first three gold box games from SSI, Pools Of Radiance and the others. The first thing I actually did in the electronic games world is I went to work for Origin and I worked on quests and adventures on Ultima VI, I did all the story flow-charting and dialogue writing for a game called Space Rogue. And then I did some work on a game called Knights Of Legend and then after that was Wing Commander. I worked on Wing Commander and a game called Bad Blood about the same time.
…I have to admit that after Deus Ex: Invisible War and Thief: Deadly Shadows I had a moment, I guess, where I thought ‘If I have to do another game where a guy’s wearing armour and swinging a big sword or another game where a guy’s wearing sunglasses at night and a trenchcoat in the middle of summer and carrying guns I will probably go bananas.’ And so I did want from a content standpoint and a tone standpoint, I really did want a change.
And Disney offered the opportunity to both let me indulge my love of Disney and cartoons and have that change pace. But maybe someday I’ll go back to doing a different kind of game, from a content standpoint, but you’re exactly right: from a design philosophy standpoint Epic Mickey and Epic Mickey 2, they’re doing the same thing as Deus Ex and Thief and Ultima Underworld. It’s all about letting players tell their stories through their play choices.
And of course, it’s worth noting that Warren Spector chose the exact date of the 20th anniversary of the release of Ultima Underworld to announce Epic Mickey 2. The connection may only be casual, but it’s not unreasonable to think that there might have been something more deliberate about it.