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Spector: Make "believeable characters" not "believable guns"

Disney's creative director challenges developers to do more with technology

Disney Interactive Studios creative director Warren Spector has challenged game developers to use their considerable expertise and technology to tell better stories and create more realistic characters. Speaking to Eurogamer at Gamescom, Spector named id Software founder John Carmack and Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney as two gentlemen he's tried to push further.

"I've been actively trying to shame some of my fellow developers, specifically John Carmack and Tim Sweeney. Can you imagine what games would look like if those two guys spent as much time working on non-combat AI as they do on rendering? Can you imagine what games we would have if John Carmack decided he wanted to create a believable character as opposed to a believable gun?" Spector asked.

Spector notes that games currently pull off violence very well, but subtle things like natural conversation and emotion tend to elude the industry.

"We focus a little bit too much on violence, but we all know how to do it. It's easy. And a lot of players seem to like it. It isn't all we can do and it certainly isn't all we should do," he said.

"We have a controller that has a bunch of buttons on it. That maps really well to, I'm going to press this button at this millisecond which will cause a pixel to move on the screen and create another pixel. We do that really well, and that maps really well to pulling a virtual trigger on a virtual gun," Spector explained. "Trying it on a conversation is very hard in the extreme. It doesn't map very well to pushing buttons. It's not what we're doing right now."

"I find it annoying where people don't try to solve that problem. But I understand why. It's a very hard problem to solve. One of the reasons I find games like this so appealing as a developer is, at Disney it's hard to make a game like most other companies force you to make. They don't even want you to do a game like that."

Spector previously expressed his displeasure with violence in video games in an interview with GamesIndustry International two months ago.

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Mike Williams avatar

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor, USgamer

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.