Specter of a Spector Departure?

Shacknews is reporting that "multiple sources" inform them that Warren Spector "is said to be leaving" ION Storm, reporting the Austin Texas-based developer has also laid off 20-25 employees. Ion Storm Implodes is the headline on a similar story on IGN, which reports on the layoffs, as well as Eidos' explanation that this was a normal staff reduction associated with the completion of the pair of game projects that were underway at ION, quoting the publisher as dismissing the idea that Warren was laid off as well, though they don't actually come out and say he did not quit. They have yet to receive a reply from ION Storm, but this was Eidos' response to questions about Warren's departure:
"Ah rumors... well that sounds like a good one... but it is just a rumor," said the representative. "He certainly has not been laid off."
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50.
 
i dont get it
May 29, 2004, 02:31
50.
i dont get it May 29, 2004, 02:31
May 29, 2004, 02:31
 
few months ago when eidos gave a boot to lead designer of dx:iw mr. whatever his name is (though officialy he was leaving to Explore New possibility) and lot of people were wishing that guy good luck or some thing on this board. was't he also responsible for making that shity dx:iw game?but now lot of people are happy that warren got the boot?i dont get it. why the difference?

49.
 
The real problem is
May 29, 2004, 02:18
49.
The real problem is May 29, 2004, 02:18
May 29, 2004, 02:18
 
The real problem is, you get months of previews, screenshots, videos, that sort of thing, up until the release. Reviews are generally from gaming rags that have some sort of arragement with the publisher, and of course have the caveat of 'this is a review copy, all the bugs will be gone by release' to nudge them away from some negative points. And, as most games sell when they're new and have premium shelf space for their shiny new boxes, the majority of sales occur before many of the independent reviews are released. This is all assuming that people even bother to look into the quality of the games, instead of just looking at the back of the box and saying 'Ooh, that looks pretty!' and taking it home. I'd guess that console gamers are more guility of this than PC gamers, on average, because most of the real discussion goes on in online forums and gaming news sites. PC gamers are already at a PC, and generally have to keep up with the online community for new patches, mods, info from the developer, or whatever. Console gamers, on the other hand, expect their shrink-wrapped game to be perfect out of the DVD case.

Thief 3 (I'm not going to use the stupid marketing name, that's what it is) isn't a bad game, but it could have been much better. It suffers from many of the same performance problems as DX2, especially at higher (read: PC) resolutions. If they'd have given the PC port team a month to optimize it and make the interface better, I think it'd turn out to be a much better game, or at least the mistakes would be more forgivable. There's also a fair few places where you can get stuck, especially if you're the play-on-expert, get-all-the-loot, explore-everywhere type like myself. I would have also appreciated a checkpoint-based save system, or even multiple cycling quicksave slots, so you can skip back a bit earlier in the level without restarting or having to manually create and overwrite a save game every single time.

This comment was edited on May 29, 02:20.
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48.
 
Re: My two
May 29, 2004, 02:11
48.
Re: My two May 29, 2004, 02:11
May 29, 2004, 02:11
 
First, great thread...

Second, there is no such thing as 'job security', especially as a program, and triple so as a game programmer.

Why? Programming in itself should be looked upon as a contract job since each project has a start and end date. This is in comparison to something like an accountant, which is a continuous process that has slow and fast periods.

I have worked salary and contract programming jobs in the US and Japan (including Canon and Dell headquarters), and the only difference is the contract jobs pay more. When you are good, they keep continuing your contract, or don't lay you off. In either situation, look at the end of the current project as your last day. If you want to stay, get involved with another project.

I recently read a book by two major managers/leads for UO and Everquest, and they both agree that programmers should be staffed up and reduced during the phases of development.

People keep arguing that programming should not be compared to engineering. Actually, programmers should be compared to construction workers. You can be proud of what you built, but only those who had stake (i.e. investment) in the project will stay, and/or make a profit.

i am not suprised in the least of the layoffs, and kind of agree with them. If the programmers are suprised, they are ignorant. The only reason 'lay off' was used is because they had a salary. Truth be told, they just were not needed anymore.

47.
 
Shut up, fags.
May 29, 2004, 02:08
47.
Shut up, fags. May 29, 2004, 02:08
May 29, 2004, 02:08
 
I can't believe you girls are still crying about Deus Ex 2. Oh no, they made a console game! FART!s{reply and you've been trolled!}

46.
 
My two
May 29, 2004, 01:33
46.
My two May 29, 2004, 01:33
May 29, 2004, 01:33
 
Wow, great thread. OK, I know what I'm about to say is going to sound like I'm defending Warren Spector, but, I find it a little funny that people are blaming Warren for DX:IW on him and he wasn't the game's designer. I believe Harvey Smith was the DX:IW designer.

There were two teams, one working on DX:IW with Harvey as its designer and another team working on T:DS with someone else as its designer. Perhaps that was the problem with DX:IW. The original designer of DX (Warren) was "promoted" to a consulting position. If you look at the old dev diaries, Warren even says there were things he didn't agree with Harvey on, but, he basically gave him free reign because Harvey was the designer this time not him. He was in the same position with the Thief team. So, if either game succeeds or fails, it has nothing to do with Warren Spector.

Now, that being said he still fucked up. He did have the power to stop Harvey and change the track of the DX:IW game. In fact, that was supposed to be his job! To monitor these new game designers and make sure the game fit in to the DX universe and still be as good as the original. Also, he did write about how great he thought console games were and how games shouldn't take so long to complete. So, fuck him too. Just remember, Harvey Smith probably deserves a lot of the credit for ruining the sequel to DX as well. Anyway, If Warren is gone from ION perhaps he will go back to being a game designer at a new company instead of being a clueless "game manager" in charge of different teams. Something he obviously wasn’t good at.


Now, as for the game industry and it's future: I keep seeing these "Hollywood to merge with game industry" articles and I think this is a main problem with the industry too. The film industry and movies in general suck. They are all about style and special effects. A game engine is essentially, a game's special effects and so it would seem the game industry has learned from Hollywood. If you make people think a game is good people will buy it. It doesn't have to actually be good. Same with movies, Hollywood movies anyway. Quality movies can still be found in independent and foreign films and I believe the same will hold true with the gaming industry. I already see it happening. I prefered Jowood's Arx Fatalis to Bethesda's Morrowind. Alot of good games are starting to come out of Croatia (Stalker looks very good) etc. Yes, foreign game studios and later on independent games will most likely be the salvation from the Hollywoodafication of the game industry. Or maybe in the future we will all own consoles and play nightly games of Super Mario Deathmatch 15: The final DoomQuake.


45.
 
Re: Thief demo
May 29, 2004, 00:00
45.
Re: Thief demo May 29, 2004, 00:00
May 29, 2004, 00:00
 
Thats the other thing about console ports.
WHy the hell cant the stupid developers make decent menus/interface for the PC version?

OK, we get it, the stupid console people only have a crappy controller. But the PC people have a mouse and a keyboard.


44.
 
Thief demo
May 28, 2004, 23:51
44.
Thief demo May 28, 2004, 23:51
May 28, 2004, 23:51
 
Just dove into the Thief demo for 15 minutes, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I was completely pessimistic after the crushed hopes of DX:IW, but this is pretty good.

Have to agree with Punisher though, the PC gaming market is really pretty stagnant. Feels like we're moving backwards rather than forwards in every area except graphics.

The hallmark of PC games used to be customizability - pages of toggle settings to set the game to your playing style. After 15' with Thief: Deadly Shadows, I'm already itching for toggles to turn off that ridiculous blue glow and the glint of treasure. Ruins the immersion and reminds me I'm playing a game. Yet, since this is also an X-Box game, the options are surprisingly few on the Options screen. This is going backwards, not forwards.

Sigh. I'm going back in to try some more, but it's so frustrating to see game design regressing.

Istari

43.
 
Re: My thoughts...
May 28, 2004, 23:28
43.
Re: My thoughts... May 28, 2004, 23:28
May 28, 2004, 23:28
 
Why all the emphasis on DX:IW when Thief 3 just came out? I saw on Metacritic it was averaging an 88 - that is a fantastic score - and the game is awesome. The PC version is just beautiful. Isn't that the same team, more or less, that did DX:IW?

I would wager to say that people in that studio made that game great - not Warren Spector. I bet they even take offense that people think the studio is nothing without Warren.

Whatever that new company is, I am sure it will kick ass. If they had a chance to choose the best of the best, it's gonna be pretty frickin awesome.

42.
 
Re: My thoughts...
May 28, 2004, 23:19
42.
Re: My thoughts... May 28, 2004, 23:19
May 28, 2004, 23:19
 
I don't care if a game is unpolished as long as it's good. DX:IW was a good game. I understand why a lot of people hate it, but underneath the presentation was quality game design. And it certainly wasn't a 'me too' game.

41.
 
Re: My thoughts...
May 28, 2004, 22:59
41.
Re: My thoughts... May 28, 2004, 22:59
May 28, 2004, 22:59
 
Buying less PC games means less PC games, not better PC games. Unfortunate, but most likely true.
And the best way to change stuff in politic (short of lobying) is demonstration of public opinion. Well, it still works here. YMMV. Online petition aren't worth shit and a bunch of bitchy 14 years old gamers typing in 1337 won't influence anyone. As far as the drive toward engine, there's very few developpers doing it (Epic and iD).

40.
 
My thoughts...
May 28, 2004, 22:28
40.
My thoughts... May 28, 2004, 22:28
May 28, 2004, 22:28
 
I have to agree whole-heartedly with many of the intelligent posts in this thead. Many of my hardcore gamer friends and I have been talking about the state of the industry recently with a lot of concern. Most of us are hardcore gamers from back in the early 80s and while we like a lot of what comes out these days, we also see a lot of "me too" tripe released as well as a great many titles that are hugely flawed right from the start, either technically or from a design point. We've also seen a growing trend of companies focusing more and more on getting out the next coolest engine rather than a good game. Many games these days are just playable technology demos that happen to sell well (I still firmly believe Doom 3 will be this.)

The main reason for this drive towards engines is very simple: Engine licensing makes the developers money and not he publishers. If you can spend a couple of million dollars and three years writing an engine and then license it fifteen times for $250,000 a pop, that's a good profit. The problem is that in this drive to find a higher revenue stream, many developers are forgetting that they are around to make games and not the next greatest eye-candy wrapper. The problem is that many gamers (particularly newer ones) are so conditioned to believe that the best looking game is also the best game overall. Many gamers will love Doom 3 simply because it looks so great. It doesn't matter that it won't have any meaningful story, it doesn't matter that id Software has already said it will have only basic multiplayer, it doesn't matter that it's just another spooky shooter like all the others, it will be the best looking thing out at the time and therefore, it must be good. This is one of the key problems.

The other of course is publishers. DX:IW was an Xbox game that received a half-assed port to the PC. Thief was also poorly polished and no way in shipping condition. While I do place a large onus of responsibility on Warren Spector for being the studio head and clearly not having any problem so heavily promoting two technologically flawed (also flawed in design according to some) projects, much of that is the fact that Eidos wanted it out fast. Their marketing guys know that all the fanboys will rush out and buy the game regardless of what condition its in. Some of them will put up with it, many will bitch and whine in forums, but you know what? They'll all be lined up to buy the next hyped title and Eidos knows it! People don't seem to understand that if Eidos didn't think the title would make money when they wanted to ship it, they would change the ship date. They only push it out the door early because they know the lemmings that make up much of the gaming public will buy it and they'll buy the next one and the next one. EA has been doing this to us for years. Does anyone remember Ultima IX? Does anyone remember that Battlefield 1942 was unplayable when it shipped? Does anyone remember the countless other aborted projects they've pushed out the door? I bet many do, but I bet many of those people also bought the games and will buy their sequels. I didn't buy Battlefield Vietnam because in spite of 1942 being a very fun title to play, it runs horrible, still crashes frequently and is full of cheaters. I made a decision to not keep telling EA and DICE that it's OK to push this kind of crap on me by not giving them my money. But many people here did buy B:V and then bitch in here when certain maps didn't work, when there were lag issues and when there were balance issues. But EA and DICE have your money and they know that when Battlefield 2 ships, many of those people will be lined up again. This is another key flaw.

Much like politics, the only way to force change is with your wallet. Did EA or Eidos push unfinished crap down your throat? Then stop buying their games! I know that's a tall order for many, but it's the only way change will happen. Or if you don't want to stop buying their games altogether, only buy the stuff that ships in good condition. Don't buy DX:IW, even knowing what shape it shipped in just because you had been looking forward to it. Either wait until they patch it right or tell them you won't tolerate it in that condition. I admit, it's also difficult to know what games ship good and which don't as most major game sites post horribly skewed reviews (GameSpot gave 8.x ratings for DX:IW and Thief 3 which is ludicrous), but discussions like this and the flame-based ones you'll find elsewhere make it a lot easier to know the truth. The fact is that people need to stop whining about the quality of games and start altering their buying practices to reflect the demands they have. If you are whining about DX:IW, but plan to buy DX3 if there is one, then you don't have a right to whine in the first place.

Sorry if I came off on a bit of a rant here, but I believe this to be the cold, hard truth. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. My friends and I are thinking of starting a web site talking about what we think is wrong in the games industry, where they are failing us and what we think the gaming public can do to try and make things better. Would anyone contribute to such a site if it was started?

Parallax Abstraction
Technical Consultant, Hardcore Modern and Retro Gamer, Video Game Historian
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Parallax Abstraction
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39.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 22:13
39.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 22:13
May 28, 2004, 22:13
 
Making the game for xbox and pc at the same time is what hampered DX:IW... Not the technology....

I don't think you can separate those two issues.

38.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 22:00
38.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 22:00
May 28, 2004, 22:00
 
Making the game for xbox and pc at the same time is what hampered DX:IW... Not the technology....

This comment was edited on May 28, 22:02.
37.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 21:45
37.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 21:45
May 28, 2004, 21:45
 
Sorry, I should clarify: DX1 was certainly a better game overall. But the people who worked on DX:IW knew about gameplay. I think it's nothing short of a tragedy that the great gameplay in IW was so hampered by the technology. Remember that Ion Storm created their own tech for the game, and they did it in less than 3 years. How long has HL2 been in development? Not to mention the simultaneous constraints of Xbox development.

I remember Harvey Smith saying he wished they hadn't made their own tech for DX:IW, because it was so hard to make a game at the same time. It's a real shame.

This comment was edited on May 28, 21:52.
36.
 
Re: No subject
May 28, 2004, 21:43
36.
Re: No subject May 28, 2004, 21:43
May 28, 2004, 21:43
 
Invisible War is one of the few games I believe if you like it you're a god damn idiot. There's nothing to like, so shoot yourself in the face right now.

This comment was edited on May 28, 21:44.
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35.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 21:34
35.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 21:34
May 28, 2004, 21:34
 
I wouldn't call it a better game. It had less options.


Doing away with the skill sytem made almost every character the same. It came down to doing what you saw rather than doing what you'd planned for. Essentially every player could sneak as well or fight as well as the next.

In the original you were tailored to something, with pros and cons. In the sequel you were just there.

34.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 21:05
34.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 21:05
May 28, 2004, 21:05
 
I don't think most people realise why DX:IW was a disappointment. If you could look under the flaws, there's a very innovative game there. The gameplay is actually better than DX1's, but it was hard to get to because of poor performance and sloppy presentation. I firmly believe that DX3 would have been an excellent game, but we might not even see it now. We should be mourning the downsizing of a company like Ion Storm, because they were one of the few companies holding the torch of innovation.

33.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 19:57
33.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 19:57
May 28, 2004, 19:57
 
He left alright
http://www.rpgdot.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=92809&sid=8765043c7d197149fcfa0621f67fec74
as many others, good job in getting some confirmation Dhruin

32.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 19:50
32.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 19:50
May 28, 2004, 19:50
 
Did you play Deus Ex? If you had, you'd know that DX:IW just doesn't compare to the first game... The gameplay for the first game is miles above IW...

And there is no DX2 - just DX:IW...

31.
 
Re: Warren Spector / DX2
May 28, 2004, 19:49
31.
Re: Warren Spector / DX2 May 28, 2004, 19:49
May 28, 2004, 19:49
 
Yes, I beat it.

No, I do not think it was a sequel to Deus Ex.

Cut out, a lof of the original's highlights were.

Xbox, definitely short-changed for.

Like Yoda, do I post :o,
Ray

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