Famed designer Warren Spector has warned that hardcore gamers may not be too happy when they hear what he’s working on for his next project.
“I think people are going to be very surprised when they hear what I’m working on,” Spector said in an interview with Forbes. “I’m sure a lot of the hardcore folks are going to be up in arms and I’m really looking forward to getting into that discussion with them. I don’t believe I’m compromising on my gameplay ideals at all. [But] any artist who doesn’t want his or her work in front of the largest audience possible is nuts.”
Spector’s Junction Point Studios was acquired by Disney Interactive in July 2007, and while details about the studio’s latest project have not been revealed, he recently implied it would be considerably different than previous efforts like Deus Ex, Thief and System Shock. “I love working with Disney because I’m so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns,” he said at the time. “I don’t want to make those anymore.”
The article says the hardcore demographic has long been a secondary consideration for major game publishers, citing the success of The Sims, which has sold over 100 million copies across the franchise despite being held in contempt by “serious” gamers, and Spore, which has been heavily criticized for “simplistic” and “shallow” gameplay but nonetheless broke one million copies sold in only three weeks.
Spector said the shifting gamer demographic means the relevance of the hardcore gamer has been reduced considerably. “At the risk of alienating all of the people who paid my mortgage all these years, they can’t be [as relevant],” he said. “We are in a commercial art form, which means you have to focus on the mainstream if you are playing in that game space.”
Nonetheless, he added that hardcore gamers will be fine in the long run, they may just have to adjust to the idea of not being serviced by the industry heavyweights. “The hardcore is completely safe,” Spector said. “They are less relevant to major publishers, but they are more relevant to independent developers.”