Spector: Motion Control Risks “Throwing Away Our Entire History”


Deus Ex developer Warren Spector thinks that the games industry should be careful not to toss the baby out with the bathwater as it rushes towards progress.

With Microsoft and Sony poised to heavily promote the hell out of their respective motion-control systems at this year’s GDC, there’s no doubt that the success of the Wii has led the industry to seriously consider alternative control as a major new path of progress. But famed designer Warren Spector isn’t so sure, and said as much at the GDC ’10 “Lunch with Luminaries” event, reports Gamasutra.

“I think it’s kind of weird … that we’ve sort of said, ‘We’ve got 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,'” Spector mused. “We’re in the process of throwing away people – kids, adults – who know this stuff.”

Spector speculated that the rush to motion control might have been influenced by forces external to the industry, who want to see gaming technology hit all the Next Big Thing buttons. “Especially from outside the industry, there’s a tendency to want to see seismic shifts, to want to see radical change, and we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater … I don’t know if we want to throw away our entire history because we want to use gestural controls.”

It isn’t that Spector hates motion control – he himself acknowledged that it was ironic of him to say such things given that he was working on Epic Mickey for the Wii. “I’m working on a Wii title and I’m loving it,” he admitted. He just wants to make sure that we can all “keep our perspective a little more rational.”

It seems reasonable. Not every game needs motion control – or should have motion control – but ask any gamer who tried for years to get their parents to game with them, and suddenly found them interested in playing Wii Golf or Tennis together, and you’ll find that motion control is hardly a bad thing.

About the author