ION Storm Departures

Harvey Smith leaves ION Storm on GameSpy is a Q&A that announces that Deus Ex lead designer and Invisible War project leader Witchboy is departing ION Storm to attempt to start up a new development company. The story simultaneously confirms news that Randy (no relation) Smith is no longer the lead designer on Thief: Deadly Shadows (story), and that Randy, too, has parted company with ION:
GameSpy: We heard Randy Smith is leaving as well. Is this in any way related to you departure?

Harvey Smith: Not at all. Just weird timing. I was not a core part of the Thief team and their inner workings are somewhat arcane to me. They're all friends, though, including Randy Smith. And, by the way, Randy is one of the most talented game designers, leaders, or communicators I've ever known.
Update: GameSpot has posted their own Q&A on the same topic: "I see four possible futures in front of me. Only one of them involves homelessness, which I suppose is a good thing."
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25.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 7, 2004, 09:30
25.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 7, 2004, 09:30
Apr 7, 2004, 09:30
 
While I agree with the gist of your post, and I am by no means a Carmack worshipper, I think the comparison of Specter to Carmack is bogus.

I wasn't comparing the two; just making an observation of them based on recent comments and design decisions.

Alex
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Director/Creative Designer
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24.
 
Re: XBox / PC
Apr 7, 2004, 06:39
24.
Re: XBox / PC Apr 7, 2004, 06:39
Apr 7, 2004, 06:39
 
DXIW sucked but I don't blame Harvey. I think it's Eidos and just the state of the games industry as a whole. Which is why starting up your own studio and making the perfect game and doing exactly what you want to do ... sounds almost psychotically optimistic nowdays. But I wish him the very best and I'm looking forward to see what he comes up with in the years ahead.

Minus your last sentence, that post sums up my own feelings about this. While I don't blame everything that went wrong on Harvey, I do think his idea of a good PC game isn't shared by PC Gamer "Intelligencia" snobs such as myself and the others who drive this industry through our wallets. Eidos, like nearly every publisher nowadays, wants a game that the teenagers can play and that focuses on sound and visuals rather then gameplay. Short games for short attention spans...like it or not, that design philosophy is here to stay.

I told a friend a couple years back that he shouldn't worry about this "Changing of the guard" though. Every five years we go through a cycle where one platform (Either console or PC) becomes dominant and temporarily weakens the other. In the early 80's it was the C64, then the NES came around and dominated from 86-91. Shoot ahead to the early to mid 90's and you'll see the PC coming back, especially when Diablo hit in late 96. By about 2000, the PC was officially crowned dead by the console mags and we see developers jumping ship like fat women from the titanic.

When Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 ship, expect things to start changing. Especially once Longhorn comes out and clears up the mess Win2K and XP caused.

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23.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 7, 2004, 04:22
23.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 7, 2004, 04:22
Apr 7, 2004, 04:22
 
It seems like a sad irony when two of the biggest names in PC gaming (Warren Spector and John Carmack) have both expressed interest in designing games that are "easier" and more assessable, like console games.

While I agree with the gist of your post, and I am by no means a Carmack worshipper, I think the comparison of Specter to Carmack is bogus. Carmack has a lot more common sense than people give him credit for.

22.
 
Well
Apr 6, 2004, 23:41
22.
Well Apr 6, 2004, 23:41
Apr 6, 2004, 23:41
 
I'll wish Harvey Smith the best of luck in his new game studio, but considering the decisions he made for Ex Deus : IW, it's a fairly safe bet I'll never pick up any of his games.

It doesn't bode well for Ion Storm that two of their top guys walk, though. My guess is that the original Deus Ex will be the only quality title we'll ever see coming out of there.

Creston

Edit : "It seems like a sad irony when two of the biggest names in PC gaming (Warren Spector and John Carmack) have both expressed interest in designing games that are "easier" and more assessable, like console games"

The thing is, though, I wouldn't have any problem with that whatsoever (well, not as if either Carmack or Spector would give a fuck on if I have a problem with it or not ). What bugged me about Ex Deus is that Spector just plain out fucking LIED about it.
If they wanted to make a dumbed down "easier" game, fine, but at least fucking ADMIT to it. Don't give me this "Well, it's streamlined, but still as deep as the first!" crap.

A Deus Ex action title... Words just fail me.

Creston

This comment was edited on Apr 6, 23:47.
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21.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 23:26
21.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 23:26
Apr 6, 2004, 23:26
 
I had the pleasure of meeting Harvey a couple of times at E3. He was a real nice guy to talk with. The first time was at E3 2002 and they were showing off DX:IW for the first time. He seemed real energetic and happy about the product, though it was in it's early stages.

I then met him again in E3 2003. By then DX:IW had changed quite a bit (including the HUD) from what they were originally planning. My impression was that he was not as excited about it.

Couple this with the fact that Warren Spector loves some of the Japanese console game designers, and announced that he may be assisting in the design of the next Tomb Raider (which is a console game), and you may have the beginnings of a company switching from PC games to console games.

It seems like a sad irony when two of the biggest names in PC gaming (Warren Spector and John Carmack) have both expressed interest in designing games that are "easier" and more assessable, like console games.

I loved DX1, did not like DX:IW, and have serious doubts about Thief 3. This is just my own opinion and maybe I'm reading into this too much. But ION Storm is not the developer I thought it once was...

Alex
-----------
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20.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 16:15
Bet
 
20.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 16:15
Apr 6, 2004, 16:15
 Bet
 
No, but that works out for its benefit.

"I thought this would suck, but it's actually kinda decent, so I liked it."


Exactly what I'm expecting when I go to play Deus Ex:IW in a couple of months. Which is great, when I think about it. I have this whole 'this game is going to SUCK' mentality, so if there's even the glimmer of goodness involved, I'll come away with something. Thief 3 being bad right out of the gate might destroy me, however. I love Garrett like a brother

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19.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 14:54
19.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 14:54
Apr 6, 2004, 14:54
 
Does anyone hear still believe that Thief 3 won't be a honkin', steamin' pile of dog doo at this point?

No, but that works out for its benefit.

"I thought this would suck, but it's actually kinda decent, so I liked it."

18.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 14:19
18.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 14:19
Apr 6, 2004, 14:19
 
Does anyone hear still believe that Thief 3 won't be a honkin', steamin' pile of dog doo at this point?


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17.
 
Re: ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 14:11
nin
 
17.
Re: ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 14:11
Apr 6, 2004, 14:11
 nin
 
I don't buy Harvey's PR-speak (rating DX:IW 85% ). We can see where Ion Storm is heading now, after DX:IW and the announcement of an action Deus Ex MP game. They're jumping ship.

It amazes me that a company that once seemed so in tune with pc gamers is now so clueless (and / or in denial). I thought everyone and their dog understood that what made the first DX so good was the story and how you chose how the game played. Now they're making an action MP game? WTF?

Warren, I wanted the motorcycle you hyped DX:IW to be. And I get home and opened the box, and I find...a tricycle. Just because it has that 3rd wheel, it doesn't mean it's better. And the neighbor kids won't stop laughing...

I ain't going anywhere near Thief3...


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16.
 
ION Storm Departures
Apr 6, 2004, 13:17
16.
ION Storm Departures Apr 6, 2004, 13:17
Apr 6, 2004, 13:17
 
I look at Harvey and Randy leaving, not as "fall guys", but as two guys who don't want to make lame console games that turn into even lamer PC ports, just to milk all the kiddies monies.

I don't buy Harvey's PR-speak (rating DX:IW 85% ). We can see where Ion Storm is heading now, after DX:IW and the announcement of an action Deus Ex MP game. They're jumping ship.

This comment was edited on Apr 6, 13:19.
15.
 
Re: XBox / PC
Apr 6, 2004, 12:58
15.
Re: XBox / PC Apr 6, 2004, 12:58
Apr 6, 2004, 12:58
 
Oh man, he worked on Fireteam? I beta tested that.

14.
 
XBox / PC
Apr 6, 2004, 12:24
14.
XBox / PC Apr 6, 2004, 12:24
Apr 6, 2004, 12:24
 
He was curiously coy about whether he'd be making PC or XBox games. I guess it depends on what the publishers want to hear.

DXIW sucked but I don't blame Harvey. I think it's Eidos and just the state of the games industry as a whole. Which is why starting up your own studio and making the perfect game and doing exactly what you want to do ... sounds almost psychotically optimistic nowdays. But I wish him the very best and I'm looking forward to see what he comes up with in the years ahead.

13.
 
Kinda Sad
Apr 6, 2004, 11:54
13.
Kinda Sad Apr 6, 2004, 11:54
Apr 6, 2004, 11:54
 
Kinda Sad if you read the entire interview. Reading between the lines they kicked the guy out the door. It must be because Invisible War tanked. I agree with the guy who wants to see the sales figures. Anyone want to post them?

This guy sounds like a lost puppy that just got thrown out in the rain. It is easy to identify with his feelings with all the "secure" job layoffs going around. Must be lots of professional people who are being set adrift after their jobs go to India or wherever.

It looks like Eidos wanted a fall guy and chose him. I thought I read that Eidos had pushed them to release the game too soon? Isn't that life? The bean counters force a bad decision, then someone else takes a fall, while the bean counters stay setting pretty.

12.
 
Good luck, Harvey
Apr 6, 2004, 11:51
12.
Good luck, Harvey Apr 6, 2004, 11:51
Apr 6, 2004, 11:51
 
As much as I was disappointed with DX2, I think Harvey's a stand-up guy with a lot of potential as a game designer. I wish him the best of luck.

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11.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 6, 2004, 11:49
DDI
11.
Re: No subject Apr 6, 2004, 11:49
Apr 6, 2004, 11:49
DDI
 
No, he saw the $$$ for doing a crappy console port.

10.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 6, 2004, 11:37
10.
Re: No subject Apr 6, 2004, 11:37
Apr 6, 2004, 11:37
 
you know, my friends and I have come to the same conclusion.

I don't think its really Warren Spector, its some alien imposter.

They've taken the real Warren back to their homeworld. Probably to make games for the benefit of some alien species.

9.
 
Money
Apr 6, 2004, 11:29
9.
Money Apr 6, 2004, 11:29
Apr 6, 2004, 11:29
 
Does anyone know how much DX:IW made or is making? I'd really like to believe that after they made such a crappy PC product that it didn't sell too well. One of the biggest game letdowns I've ever experienced.

8.
 
EA
Apr 6, 2004, 11:27
8.
EA Apr 6, 2004, 11:27
Apr 6, 2004, 11:27
 
"EA probably hired him to head up their "push it out before it's done" division"

LOL!!!

You just know EA have one of those, right next to the "Milk the franchise till it squeals" division.



7.
 
No subject
Apr 6, 2004, 10:59
7.
No subject Apr 6, 2004, 10:59
Apr 6, 2004, 10:59
 
Interesting comments in that interview...

Confirms my suspicions that ION bit off a bit too much in trying to develop the tech and the game simultaneously (namley trying to shoehorn the tech into the XBOX) with the end result being a dissapointing product (DX:IW).

Still Harvey never claimed he was gonna make anyone his bitch or 'tell people to suck it down' so good luck to him and hope he does well in his future endeavours

6.
 
Re: No subject
Apr 6, 2004, 10:55
6.
Re: No subject Apr 6, 2004, 10:55
Apr 6, 2004, 10:55
 
EA probably hired him to head up their "push it out before it's done" division.

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