Warren Spector Opens Up About Junction Point
We previously reported on Disney's closure of Junction Point, the studio founded by Warren Spector in 2005 that was responsible for the development of the Epic Mickey Series, in January. At the time, it was unclear what Spector - who is known for a lot of the greats of classic gaming - was planning, or even how he felt about the dissolution of his company. That's changed now, as he has opened up to GamesIndustry about his time with Junction Point - especially the time after they were bought by Disney in 2007 - and the future (both his and the game industry's).
First things first, Spector made it clear that he has no regrets - either in selling his studio to Disney, or in the work that they got to do - other than the fact that it's over, saying "I loved being able to say 'I work for Disney' and I can't say that anymore. I left a lot of friends there, and not just at Interactive. Also, I guess I'd have to say I went into the Disney experience as a game guy (obviously) but with a couple of 'checklist of life' things I still hadn't done and with the idea that Disney would be the perfect place to do them....But that didn't happen. Yeah, I regret that. But maybe I'll get to do that somewhere else." Even the games he had a hand in while there is a point of pride: "we shipped two triple-A titles which, Metacritic notwithstanding, sold better than any games I've ever worked on and about which I received more - and more heartfelt - fan mail than I've ever received. I'm good with all that."
Spector went on to say that he was looking towards working with a smaller team, a group of people who he could interview personally and get to know by name, on some scaled back projects - saying "I definitely want to mess around with mobile stuff - phones and tablets - and I'm intrigued by multiscreen gaming....I want to try to make 'real' games in that space - not just rail shooters or swipe-driven puzzle games. I want to tell stories and collaborate with players in the telling of them....And I'm really hoping to make smaller games - games normal humans can finish (i.e., games that can be played in a few hours instead of the uncompletable 100-hour extravaganzas of my youth)."
There was also some speculation on the Games Industry as a whole, which covered a range of topics from innovation, to console/mobile gaming, to MMORPGs. The best thing he had to say - in my opinion - was this (in response to a question about the PS4 hardware encouraging innovation): "Better graphics are better graphics. Nice to have, but that's about it. The irony is that increased hardware horsepower often sends us back a few steps in terms of design innovation - it takes so much energy just figuring out how to achieve graphical quality players expect, make sure our characters can pathfind around increasingly complex game worlds, and so on. Just figuring out what to do with new hardware eats up design bandwidth. I'm certain we'll come up with all sorts of innovative designs, but it might take a while."
There was a lot more that Spector said, and I do encourage you all to have a read of it yourselves - especially if you've got any interest in development, game journalism and/or the future of gaming as a whole - and let us know what you think.