People are “trying interesting things” in the indie space, says Deus Ex designer

3 min read


It seems that video games are starting to become eerily familiar, reeking of certain machinations that overlap ideas and themes. Most games these days either have you shooting someone in the face or punching a spine into a chiropractic Spanish Fly. But what about those indie games? They seem to be doing alright. And that’s in genres that we don’t even have proper words for yet.

And according to this one person who has probably made a game that went over well, the indie market is where the innovation is at.

“I can’t believe I’m about to say this–I’ll never work in this industry again–but in the mainstream space I really haven’t seen a whole lot of progress,” Deus Ex Designer Warren Spector said in a Gamasutra interview.

It seems like we’re getting more finely tuned, prettier versions of games we’ve been playing for years.

That’s in stark contrast to the indie game space according to Spector, a division of development where ideas are more varied and yield more “interesting” results. “Thank god for the indie space; there are people trying interesting things there,” Spector said. Right now, Spector is himself working on something that will most likely be finely-tuned and quite pretty: System Shock 3. It’s a sequel being developed with several other legends over at the OtherSide studio, one which Spector has several ideas for.

“I see a variety of places where we could make some strides that would help take games to the next level,” Spector said.

The biggest one, for me, is more robust characters and character AI. We’ve gotten very good at combat AI, we’ve made great strides there, but I don’t think we’ve done much in the world of non-combat AI and interacting with people –human or otherwise. We haven’t done a lot with conversation, and establishing emotional relationships with characters in games.

So I’d very much like to play with that.

There’s one other thing that Spector would like to play with: Giving players the freedom and ability to create their own stories, in the same manner that Dishonored developer Arkane did with their cult favourite stealth-slasher.

“Also, while I’ve seen some efforts, especially from the guys at Arkane, to sort of extend the design philosophy of Origin and Looking Glass–that whole ‘immersive simulation’ and its philosophy of empowering players to tell their own stories. I’d like to go further with that,” Spector explained.

It’s nice to see more people trying, but I think there’s a ways we could go as well, in terms of empowering players to tell their own stories. Those are the directions I’m going to try to go in. We’ll see if I can pull it off.

That’s a  fair enough argument. Mainstream is however, where the money is, and it’s a part of the industry that has to cater to more people than what indie games do or aim for. That, and I really like shooting stuff.

Read  Here’s how IO Interactive got to keep the Hitman rights when they split from Square Enix

Last Updated: February 23, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Captain JJ the “saviour”

    Smart man.

  • Indies are the new AAA titles

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I know I’m pretty tired of the paint-by-numbers bAAAysplosion games – they’re fun to play for a few mindless hours, but they’re shallow and forgettable. The majority of my most highly-rated gaming experiences over the last few years have come from indies. But, you know, those don’t count because they aren’t real games – only AAAs are, because of the money spent making and advertising them.

    Suits like things predictable and to tick all the boxes because they’re loathe to be creative – I can also understand why, funding a massive game that takes risks IS a big monetary risk if it don’t pay off. And most gamers don’t want innovation or change, they just say they do then complain when it happens because they want predictable sequels to the same old stuff they’ve played before.

    • Captain JJ the “saviour”

      * “AAA”

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Needs more DLC, preorder DLC, season passes, online passes, subscriptions and micro transactions.

    • Captain JJ the “saviour”

      I must agree. Of the games I’ve played the last three years there were a couple of amazing games. Especially in 2014. Only two were “AAA” games. The rest were all from smaller devs.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        You don’t have to agree, no one’s forcing you to be right.

        • Captain JJ the “saviour”

          I agree with you too often lately.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Which is odd because I’m not very agreeable.

  • Captain JJ the “saviour”

    Why is the comments section so quiet today?
    This is a good article! Damn it!

    • I read indie and all the game sounds/music from Ori are playing in my head. It’s soothing 😛

      • Captain JJ the “saviour”

        I’ve got Bastion’s soundtrack paying right now 😀

        • I need to start Bastion, it’s been stuck in the backlog for some time now

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            Worth it. I’m only three hours in, but it’s good fun.
            Not as good as Transistor, but still decent. Transistor remains my favourite.

          • This level music from Shovel Knight is my favorite by far

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            My work blocks YouTube 🙁

          • Those corporate pigs!

          • Captain JJ the “saviour”

            I have three things that are not blocked
            Fiction24 (apparently it’s a news channel)
            Lazygamer (I have no idea why)
            banking sites

          • Well at least you got Lagz 😛

            Time can fly when a conversation starts rolling

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Speaking of which, me and CrazyBob did a few VERY successful void runs last night. 3 prime parts, 3 formas and a metric ton of argon crystals

          • Who is CrazyBob?

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            FOR SHAME!

            He is one of our fellow Lagz troopers!

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            And yes, I’m cheating on you

          • Hahaha the Division beta is done, so I will be back on the harvester soon

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Only need one more part for the Nikana P!

          • I am very low on keys for the T4 and T3 parts, might have to do some key farming first

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I’ve got a few, just er… not really logging in that much. Have I even logged in since last time we played together?

          • Same here, but that’s only because of all the damn games I want to play. Soon the weak will fall away and only Warframe will remain

            *Pokemon theme music starts

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            XCOM 2 and Warframe is mine. There are many others, but those are miiiine

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I finished King’s Bounty Warriors of the North on Sat. So on Sunday I dipped my toes into Poker Night at the Inventory 2, Ryse, Eador and the next King’s Bounty – which doesn’t even dent the old backlog haha.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            I’ll join you

          • I’m just glad we have a 4th again xD

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            May the 4th be with us

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Another one? Poor Hammer.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            *sends email to [company name redacted] firewall guys about a certain user’s abuse of the system

          • Dresden

            I feel your pain…

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Pro-tip: When the narrator tells you the kid woke up, press a key, otherwise you’ll lie in bed forever. It took me a minute to figure that one out. :/

          • Commander Admiral Chief


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