Deus Ex designer Warren Spector worried that its open gameplay meant the game would be compared unfavourably to the likes of Half-Life and other titles which set the benchmark in 2000, and even considered making it into a straight shooter as a result.
“There was a point on the first Deus Ex when we were at alpha and tuning the game, trying to make it perfect.” Spector told CVG about development of his classic title.
“I remember putting my head on my desk going, “Why don’t I just make a shooter? Oh my God. If people judge our combat against something like Half-Life – which was state of the art at the time – then we’re dead. If people compare our stealth to Thief, we’re dead.”
“If people compare our role-playing elements to Neverwinter Nights, we’re dead.” he continued,
“There are games that are razor sharp in their focus, but if people get that in our game they can decide how to play or shift back and forth – that if a combat situation is too hard for them they can try something else – then we’re going to rule the world.”
Fortunately, people did understand that Deus Ex could be played in a variety of ways, and it went on to be one the most well renowned video games of all time.
“Luckily people got that, knock on wood, they got it.” Spector added.
Spector’s comments just go to show that even at the top end of game development; it’s very difficult not to compare your work to others.
What are your thoughts on the troubles Spector had with Deus Ex? Have you had moments where you think about changing your games entirely?
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