Warren Spector Speaks Truth to Power About Motion Control

epic mickey
As we all know, the Game Developer Conference is happening this week down in San Francisco, and there’s a lot of news coming out about Sony’s Move motion controller. While it’s got a few developers excited about the possibilities, one industry veteran doesn’t think too highly about the rush to embrace gaming’s new zeitgeist.

Warren Spector has been in the video game industry for a long time, starting off with Wing Commander in the 1990s, but he’s perhaps most renown for his work on Thief, Deus Ex, and System Shock. With such a history behind him, surely he’s one to listen to when it comes to debating the merits of motion control. As Gamasutra’s new interview states, Mr. Spector isn’t so hot on the idea of motion control, mostly because it’s essentially “throwing away our entire history”. During the “Lunch with Luminaries” event at GDC, something I would give my left arm to attend, Warren had this to say about motion control:

“I think it’s kind of weird…that we’ve sort of said, ‘We’ve go 20, 30 years of people learning how to do this — sitting on their couch and having a good time, and knowing where the buttons are — and we’re saying ‘You’ve got to stand up and wave around and gesture,'”

He goes on to quantify his statement:

“We’re in the process of throwing away people — kids, adults — who know this stuff.”

A man after my own heart, he is. It’s good to see that there’s at least one person out there who doesn’t consider motion control to be as beneficial for the industry as some would have us believe. How do you guys feel about Spector’s statement? Obviously we’re all video game veterans in our own rights, raised on the blockey NES controller, the puzzling N64 device and the early massive X-Box manipulator. Should developers embrace this new technology wholeheartedly, or is there a legitimate concern over leaving long time gamers behind? Let us know what you think! Warren is currently working on Epic Mickey.

Source: Gamasutra

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

11 thoughts on “Warren Spector Speaks Truth to Power About Motion Control”

  1. I just hate how everything seems to “need” motion control. what do developers do, “we need to spice things up lets do what everyone else does and add motion controls.” what really sucks is how this always leads to it feeling tacked on at the end, and for the most part its just not innovative I believe. Also, whatever could be done by motion controls can almost always be done better by normal controls, even the old x-box controllers were your hand had to be big enough to grip a basketball

  2. Atleast we won’t be required to use motion control to beat the ever loving crap out of enemies with Gordon’s crowbar in Episode 3…or whatever they’re gonna call the next installment.

  3. Excuse me while I roll my eyes and file this under the heading “Who the hell cares what (insert interviewee here) thinks about motion control?”.

    You don’t like motion control, don’t use it in your games. There’s no need to crap on the entire concept just because you don’t like it. It’s not like every publisher is demanding that games MUST have motion control and that this is the unquestioned future of gaming.

    And as for leaving long time gamers behind, what does that even mean? Did everybody swear off video games the first time they saw all the buttons on a SNES controller? Did they freak out when analog based controllers came out? What about people who learned to play on single button Atari joysticks that couldn’t adjust to playing left-handed on the NES, should we start crying a river for them?

    Sorry to rant, but I’m so tired of gamers complaining about stuff like this. Who cares about the merits of motion control if the games that use it are good?

    The bottom line is that the vast majority of games coming out still use traditional controls and that isn’t going to change anytime soon given the current limitations of motion control. Could that change in the future? Absolutely. But if the gaming experience is still as good or better, then who will really care?

  4. I kinda of agree with Zayven. Did movie studios say, “You know, this black and white thing is working out so well, do we really need color?”

  5. Show me a good game with motion control, then. It’s still relatively unproven outside the Wii, and most of that is tacked-on.

    Warren is simply stating his position as a long-time industry person who’s seen plenty of gaming fads come and go.

  6. Metroid Prime 3 (and 1 and 2, since they added them to the Gamecube versions)

    Mario Kart Wii

    Twilight Princess

    Boom Blox

    Not a lot, I will admit, but some really good games. And those aren’t tacked-on.

    I understand his position, but the Wii’s monstrous success could hardly be called a fad, not at this point. Maybe a few years down the line.

    The point is, there is plenty of room for both kinds of games. No one is going to abandon normal controls.

    Sony has said, with regards to the Move, that they are very concerned about shovelware and will do what they can to limit it.

    I am all for trying new things and while I won’t be rushing out to get a Move (or a Natal), I don’t mind that they try.

    But no more on-rails shooters, please.

  7. I agree with Anthony. There were many painters against the new ideas/techniques that the renaissance introduced, the same thing happened later with Pablo Picasso and Cubism. They did not throw away all the other styles of art, it just allowed the artists to better express themselves in whatever style they felt like. that does not mean there were some really bad renaissance and Cubism paintings, it just gave the painter more options. If this turns out to be a fad it might just discourage them from using it in the future. but if it ends up working and allowing more game types/styles than cool!

  8. With the exception of Boom Blox, which I haven’t played, all the games you mentioned had been done before without motion controls.

    It’s nice that Sony is guarding against shovelware, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Same thing with motion control.

    I’m not against it if it works, but so far I’m not convinced.

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