Warren Spector Admits To Working On "Half-Life Stuff"

Warren Spector Admits To Working On "Half-Life Stuff"

Half-Life promotional image (Gordon Freeman)

Deus Ex hit retail in 2000. Epic Mickey debuted in 2010. What was Warren Spector working on in the interim? Apparently, Half-Life.

Kotaku has discovered an excerpt from a 2012 book titled Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play that reveals an unexpected link between Deus Ex creator Warren Spector and Valve Software's phenomenally beloved shooter Half-Life.

In the book, Spector is asked about the work he (and Junction Point Studios) did in the time between the debut of Deus Ex and the firm's acquisition by Disney (a deal that would bear fruit in the form of the Epic Mickey franchise. Here's what Spector said:

Like most independent studios trying to compete in the tripe-A space, much of the time was spent conceptualizing ideas and trying to find funding partners for them. We generated several original concepts - some of which we did find deals for and were able to take to prototype, and some of which just died. We worked with a couple of Hollywood directors on concepts, including [famed action director] John Woo. We had a development deal with one publisher to make "Ninja Gold," a game concept which we developed with John. We did some work for Valve on some Half-Life stuff. We developed and got a deal for a huge fantasy game called "Sleeping Giants." And we got a contract with Disney to do the Disney Epic Mickey game, which eventually led to the acquisition and to us walking away from all of those other projects and opportunities.

While Spector doesn't specify exactly what he means by "Half-Life stuff," we see a few distinct possibilities: First, there's the idea that Spector's team was hired by Valve to create some of the content found in Half-Life. That's exciting for all kinds of reasons, and lends more stock to the idea that Spector is a legendary game designer.

On the other hand, since no time frame is specified for this work, and PC titles (particularly first-person shooters) of the late 90s were a ripe target for post-release additions (expansions, level packs - all the things that we now know as DLC), it's entirely possible that Spector's team worked on something akin to Gearbox Software's Half-Life: Blue Shift, an addition that expands the scope of Valve's original game with new plot points and content.

Then again, it's also entirely possible that Spector had a hand in Half-Life 2. The development of that title more or less matches up with the time frame we're imagining here, and it would have undoubtedly been a much larger production than its predecessor, requiring more developers to create more content. It's perfectly reasonable to believe that Valve might've farmed some part of the game's creation out to Spector.

Whatever the case, Spector's involvement with the Half-Life franchise only further solidifies his credentials as one of our top games makers. And, now that we know all of this, we're able to impress other people with such a geeky point of trivia. If you win any bar bets, we demand 10 percent.

Source: Kotaku

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"Lends more stock to the idea the Spector is a legendary game designer"? Does he really need an even better resume than he already has? Deus Ex is his game, no doubt about it. But he was also involved as a producer or designer on Systen Shock, some of the latter '90s Wing Commander, Thief's first title, among many other classic games. If there is a great PC game series, you can bet that it was either worked on or inspired by Mr. Spector.

Also, his favorite game is Suikoden. Win.

https://www.facebook.com/SuikodenRevival

Seems highly likely to be Half Life 2, since he said "did" implying it was a while ago. Or alternatively it could have been a scrapped project since Valve is notorious for cutting things they aren't satisfied with. Either way I doubt it's Half Life 3, but that wouldn't get that many hits wouldn't it?

Phrozenflame500:
Seems highly likely to be Half Life 2, since he said "did" implying it was a while ago. Or alternatively it could have been a scrapped project since Valve is notorious for cutting things they aren't satisfied with. Either way I doubt it's Half Life 3, but that wouldn't get that many hits wouldn't it?

To be fair, the title only says 'half life stuff' so it's open to anyone's interpretation. Could be Portal 3 or HL indeed. But again, I'm still baffled people are chasing the phantom that is HL2: Episode 3 / HL3. Valve is too busy with their Steam box.

Whatever the case, Spector's involvement with the Half-Life franchise only further solidifies his credentials as one of our top games makers. >

So let's get this straight, he was working on something to do with Half Life, for Valve, yet he dropped it all and sold his development company to Disney to make a Wii platformer.

Whilst Deus Ex is well, it's Deus Ex, it's nine years since he made a game of serious note and thirteen since Deus Ex. This makes me think he needs his head checking. Seriously, who abandons working on Half Life to work as a contracted developer for Disney's legendarily uninterested and under-invested video games department? What an idiot.

Ryan Hughes:
"Lends more stock to the idea the Spector is a legendary game designer"? Does he really need an even better resume than he already has? Deus Ex is his game, no doubt about it. But he was also involved as a producer or designer on Systen Shock, some of the latter '90s Wing Commander, Thief's first title, among many other classic games. If there is a great PC game series, you can bet that it was either worked on or inspired by Mr. Spector.

Also, his favorite game is Suikoden. Win.

https://www.facebook.com/SuikodenRevival

The Epic Mickey games damaged the "legendary" status quite a bit. Especially with his comments associated with why they were mediocre.

He has is place in gaming history sure, but he's not the legend he once was.

I think Nintendo should hire this guy and give him a team. He clearly shares a lot in common with Nintendo (He believes Used games are good and that the best games don't need the best graphics), yet is definitely a core/hardcore pleaser. If Nintendo hired him and gave him a team to make a Nintendo exclusive game, there's no telling what could come out of it (Maybe a Metroid game better then Prime!).

Warren Spector worked on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Role-playing party game and that's pretty cool. It's true, says so right here:

This isn't news: we've have been haunted by the Spector of Half Life for years now.

AzrealMaximillion:

Ryan Hughes:
"Lends more stock to the idea the Spector is a legendary game designer"? Does he really need an even better resume than he already has? Deus Ex is his game, no doubt about it. But he was also involved as a producer or designer on Systen Shock, some of the latter '90s Wing Commander, Thief's first title, among many other classic games. If there is a great PC game series, you can bet that it was either worked on or inspired by Mr. Spector.

Also, his favorite game is Suikoden. Win.

https://www.facebook.com/SuikodenRevival

The Epic Mickey games damaged the "legendary" status quite a bit. Especially with his comments associated with why they were mediocre.

He has is place in gaming history sure, but he's not the legend he once was.

Well, I thought Epic Mickey was alright. But I would imagine Deus Ex: Invisible war would have damaged his reputaion long before that. When he was talking about why the game turned out so poorly, he told us that the focus-group testing came back with the idea that the main character should be dressed in a purple jumpsuit, and that they should scale back the political intrigue. But the fact remains that even with those titles, he still has a better resume than any other single game developer with the exception of Miyamoto or maybe Sid Meyer.

terrible, misleading title and not news.

also, pretty ballsy to make no mention of the game that shall not be named, when clearly thats what the title is implying...

Are you making a statement by removing the "l" from "triple-A", Earnest? ;)

Heck, considering Gearbox's current reputation, it wouldn't be too surprising if he had worked /on/ Blue Shift, while the guys at Gearbox went full 3D Realms :P

And here I was hoping it was a present-day thing... Nope, Spec's still gone all Mickey Mouse on us. Must not make grim shooty things! Must make mediocre brand spin-offs instead!

Misleading title much. Oh well; still interesting learning who worked on what.

Owyn_Merrilin:
Heck, considering Gearbox's current reputation, it wouldn't be too surprising if he had worked /on/ Blue Shift, while the guys at Gearbox went full 3D Realms :P

For that matter, the more we learn of Gearbox and it's ridiculously "shady" ways, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Specter and his team did all of the work on Blue Shift and Opposing Force; with Gearbox taking the credit.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Seriously, after I learned about this, I swore off all things Gearbox. I didn't even need games like Duke Nukem Forever and Aliens: Colonial Marines to ruin their reputation for me.

Still wish I could get my sixty bucks back for BL2. Feel so ripped off and dirty. Especially after sinking so many hours into the first game.

Ryan Hughes:

AzrealMaximillion:

Ryan Hughes:
"Lends more stock to the idea the Spector is a legendary game designer"? Does he really need an even better resume than he already has? Deus Ex is his game, no doubt about it. But he was also involved as a producer or designer on Systen Shock, some of the latter '90s Wing Commander, Thief's first title, among many other classic games. If there is a great PC game series, you can bet that it was either worked on or inspired by Mr. Spector.

Also, his favorite game is Suikoden. Win.

https://www.facebook.com/SuikodenRevival

The Epic Mickey games damaged the "legendary" status quite a bit. Especially with his comments associated with why they were mediocre.

He has is place in gaming history sure, but he's not the legend he once was.

Well, I thought Epic Mickey was alright. But I would imagine Deus Ex: Invisible war would have damaged his reputaion long before that. When he was talking about why the game turned out so poorly, he told us that the focus-group testing came back with the idea that the main character should be dressed in a purple jumpsuit, and that they should scale back the political intrigue. But the fact remains that even with those titles, he still has a better resume than any other single game developer with the exception of Miyamoto or maybe Sid Meyer.

There are quite a few people I think are better single game developers than Warren Spector for sure.

Hideo Kojima for Snatcher and the Metal Gear Franchise(No Kojima, no modern stealth games.)

Peter Molyneux for the creation of God Games.

CliffyB for what Unreal did for the Shooter Genre(everyone hates him because of Gears, but no one can deny that Unreal Tournament make significant strides for 3D shooters)

Brian Fargo for Wasteland, Fallout, A Bard's Tale and other stuff.

When it comes to Warren Spector, many others have offered more to gaming than he has. He definitely has his kudos for what he's done, but he's done nothing of substance for a long damn time. (Same with Molyneux, but he created a genre that's still relevant today). I can't throw him in a Sid Meider/Shigeru Miyamoto level.

It wouldn't have been Half-Life 2; Valve wouldn't farm stuff out to people and leave them uncredited. Especially people as famous as Warren Spector. We know there was a concurrent spinoff planned called Return to Ravenholm; maybe they had more than one?

Earnest Cavalli:
It's entirely possible that Spector's team worked on something akin to Gearbox Software's Half-Life: Blue Shift

Wait, what? You sited Blue Shift? Not Opposing Force? The thing that people still refer back to today when talking about suddenly being able to play as a former enemy type, and is generally considered one of the greatest expansions of all time?

Obviously we're dealing with a massive fan of Barney here. Although then again, who isn't.

Anyways, Deus Ex just finished reinstalling, so of I go.

 

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