Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
Interview: Epic Mickey 2's Warren Spector on Video Game Violence
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Boasting an enviable CV consisting of video game greats like Deus Ex and System Shock, Warren Spector is a man who knows what he's talking about when it comes to games and the industry at large. With over two decades making games under his belt, he has a thing or two to say when it comes to the medium.

As VP & Creative Director at Disney Interactive studio Junction Point, Spector is currently applying the finishing touches to Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. And post-E3 2012, Spector had a thing or two to say about the current state of video game violence and how it reflects upon the medium at large.

During an extended chat with Spector, we quizzed the video game veteran regarding his opinions on the state of video games and the excessive violence on display during E3 this year. As you'd expect, Spector offers some insightful words on the subject, making this interview a must-watch. So watch it!


User Comments

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #1 by Hurricane Of 87
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 02:00:34 PM
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Warren Spector and David Cage have pretty similar views about the future. Agree on the points about going wilder and more imaginative next gen instead of even more realer realism. More stuff like the opening dream chapter of Gears 3 where the environment is forming itself and breaking apart in front of you eyes. Regulate.

Anyway, the interviewer keeps saying "Games like Epic Mickey" without specifying what aspects he's talking about. It's confusing.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #2 by Richie82 [STAFF]
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 02:07:38 PM
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@1 - "Games like Epic Mickey" - I mean more family-oriented fare that appeals to a wide audience. Non-violent stuff, essentially.

Forum Posts: 36
Comment #3 by Hannibal king 88
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 02:40:24 PM
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But now and days everything as violence or sexual aspects to it. Even down to kids shows have hidden sex jokes. And the same goes for violence, nothing can be made with out the two

Forum Posts: 1596
Comment #4 by HalfEVILmonkey
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 02:43:27 PM
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Warren Spector is an idiot. Not every game has to have unicorn giggles and sunshine smiles.

Forum Posts: 118
Comment #5 by Dawgmuffin
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 04:02:34 PM
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@4 He specifically said that violence in video games is okay, he just wants to see more variety and creativity in the industry overall.

Forum Posts: 210
Comment #6 by High Lord Sigma
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 04:15:12 PM
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I think the most important point Spector touched on in this interview is his fear that the next generation of consoles will have their power used to make better graphics than to make different experiences. There, he's pointing to one of the key problems facing the industry right now. Far too many developers are focusing on improving technical details at the price of the details that make games--and any other artistic medium--emotionally engaging and resonant. These are the sorts of aspects such as atmosphere, mood, tone, and strong themes; these are the aspects that games like Halo: Combat Evolved, Deus Ex, Dark Souls, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind did so well that made them so beloved. These details are the difference between great games and immortal classics that withstand the test of time.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #7 by starscream XI
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 04:43:04 PM
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@4 what the hell kind of statement is that :/ the guy is clearly making a valid point

Forum Posts: 158
Comment #8 by el_pieablo
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 08:38:01 PM
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Mr Spector has a point. Why do we celebrate the violence?? It does reinforce the gamer stereotype, although Lollipop Chainsaw is meant to be a satire

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #9 by GUITARGREG
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 12:06:34 AM
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Great interview! He has so many interesting points and ideas about the changes coming to the industry.

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #10 by Rastaman20
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 12:58:29 AM
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@6 true but hes just trying to make excuses for a game with shitty graphics, essentially what hes trying to say is its ok to have shitty graphics and great gameplay that keep upgrade. here my problem with that.

its like going to a car dealer and wanting to buy the newest top of the line truck with all power shit and yet the head sales man keeps says to you " ohh no man you need to get this 1 it runs alot smoother only problem is it has hand crank windows and no power steering. were in the 2012 bout to 2013 when i see this consoles that only get better and better and then i see companies that release games that look like ps1 gen graphs or last gen im like " wtf were they thinking? "

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #11 by Kroesis
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 04:19:08 AM
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Good Graphics ≠ Good Game

Forum Posts: 28
Comment #12 by TotalBlank
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 06:29:46 AM
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You compared two scenarios where your thinking will lead you into a sad sad future. If you're always out for the #1 coolest looking game (Use Call of Duty for example) and the #1 most expensive luxurious car (Porsche etc..) they'll always develop another BIGGER, BETTER, COOLER one in their respective field and it'll be a never ending cash grab in which you basically admitted you're naive enough to fall for. One question, are you old enough to be considered an adult? (living on your own with expenses and real life responsibilities etc) if so, how do you cope with your immense debt strangle-holding your everyday life?

What is wrong with the gaming industry is far too many people jump on the next biggest baddest coolest looking game and don't give core mechanics and the tale a real chance. This would mean all of the CoD nuts (the ones who have a subscription to play nothing but CoD every single day and have a 0 Gamerscore to show they they are capable of 0 diversity in their video game library) need try and rehabilitate themselves and expand their gaming. How likely is that to happen?

Forum Posts: 14797
Comment #13 by Webb [STAFF]
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 09:31:25 AM
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@#12 - I still have faith... the day games like Skyrim stop selling millions is the day I give up hope though.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #14 by Ghosty McGoo
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 09:51:04 AM
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@10 and when that car with all the bells and wistles breaks down because the manufacturer had no clue how to build a good engine, leaving you on the side of the road frustrated because nothing works the way it's supposed to. Look at BF3, great graphics, but they've had to patch so many broken mechanics in that game that it's comparable to a lemon car.

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #15 by Hurricane Of 87
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 10:01:49 AM
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@10: Your analogy failed when you suggested ease of use in cars (Power steering, manuals windows) somehow equalled poor graphics, when ease of use in video games is clearly the gameplay.

There's nothing wrong with the XBOX 360 graphics. Sure it'd be nice if round objects didn't look like octagons (The video above), but really what difference does it make? You'd have to be one pedantic git for that to ruin your enjoyment.

The opposite of Cage and Spector are the developers of GRID (Codemasters?) who think the reason racing games aren't selling is because they need a greater graphical engine. Uhhh, how about some originality in racing titles? Drve round in loops, follow the green line, collect the powerup. Yawn. Criterion and Playground are doing good things for the genre in this current gen.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #16 by capirus
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 02:26:36 PM
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@15: Ah, if only more video games fans were like you.

Anyways, I do not mind better graphics if they don't affect the development of the gameplay. The problem with most game developers is either that they want to make the next big multimillion dollar game (better graphics) or their publishers do. This causes two major problems:

1. There is no innovation in gameplay, enemy AI, or environments
2. It becomes about making a franchise instead of taking a chance with something new

Sadly most of the fans of graphical games are in the game industry already. Honestly, the best thing to do is to make a game you love and introduce it to the world. Not a "real career" my ass. Take that high school counselor!

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #17 by Rastaman20
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 05:02:49 PM
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@ 15 what you said makes no sense to ewhat i said, 360 has supurb grapihcs but im saying when a developer put out a game with shitty graphics that are no better then last gens graphics theres a problem cuz they try to spoon feed you the same graphics and expect a full pay price for it, fuck that i expect my games to have good mechanics and good graphics.

@15 also i may have worded my explanation wrong but actually you kinda confirm my theory, cuz you sai when your nice car with power everything breaks down you'd have wish you got the other 1 well games are similar cuz look how many games have all the bells & whistles but game play is clunky and buggy, and some games with lacking graphics seems to work a tad better then other highend games lol

@12 i am an adult, wtf does CoD have to do with anything ? CoD graphics suck monkey balls compared to BF3/MoH/MoH:WF.

you dont seem to get what im talking about, it would be like the new xbox that coming next year, it drops you buy it the graphics card and processers are exactly the same as in the 360. why the hell yould you pay full price for a " NEW " more badass console when it in no way is better then the previous console? answer is you wouldent cuz its a waste of money.

thats what im talking about cuz this guy in the article is tryin to say that great grahpics arent nessicary, well sorry to say but yes they are look at any game that has terrible graphics, it dont last long at all and the company who put it out wonders why it did terrible

Forum Posts: 1596
Comment #18 by HalfEVILmonkey
Sunday, September 23, 2012 @ 09:13:12 PM
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@#5: Yes, by more creativity, Good ol' Warren means "buy Epic Mickey 2". The toolbag is in sales mode. Why bring up violence at all? Clearly he has a sales angle, and he is also a terrible human being. Google his actions over the last ten years and see if you disagree with what I am saying.

Forum Posts: 54
Comment #19 by Legend Xz
Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 12:02:09 AM
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Oh man this guy is so annoying i don't even know where to begin . First off him talking about showing people at E3 video games are not all about violence , well considering almost everyone who took the time to watch E3 is probably a gamer and already knows this . Just because games like assassins creed also have as he said "slow motion knife to the throat" it also has a very nice deep mature story as do most mature games . And im pretty sure almost everyone would rather have a game that both has amazing gameplay AND good graphics . Its nice to see games becoming more realistic because they are suppose to be an experience you immerse yourself in and when you have very believable graphics along with great gameplay it all works together . The thing is so called "expert" does not get is that just because a game has good graphics or violence does not mean it can offer all those other things he says. As far as a majority of E3 previews showing violence , that is just to show the action and intensity of those games same way as movies trailers are full of explosions,car chases,violence, and sex . It does not mean because it has these things that it does not offer a good and emotional story inside of this . This guy has no clue what he is talking about and i find it ironic that he says "anyone who says they know the future of games is lying to themselves and you" and then right after that he goes on to tell us the future games . The future of games is going where it has always been going and that is more interactive , more connected experiences . We can already see games moving closer and closer to virtual reality with motion controls ,valves reported game headset , microsoft's reported holo deck . This is where games are going and within 15 to 20 years we may be there or it may take more time . But i find it a slap in the face that a developer is saying he believes mobile games and the like are part of the future of gaming . Those are a whole different thing . Those are not the experiences he is even talking about . THey offer about 5 minutes of on the go gameplay and most who play those are casual to non gamers anyways . Watching this made me sick this guy has no clue what he is talking about and kept saying two different things .

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #20 by Man On The Run
Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 11:42:14 AM
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Realistic graphics are fine but i love games with fantasy and less serious almost cartoony environments and characters. Way more scope for creative direction and a more varied coloured pallette that comes with it. Not wanting to pay full price for a game that has bad graphics is such a childish thing to do. Gameplay matters first as these are games afterall but i dont know why people would base their purchase on graphics?

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #21 by Qbert17
Monday, September 24, 2012 @ 07:45:16 PM
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I think epic Mickey would have been better if it leaned a little more towards the mature

Forum Posts: 154
Comment #22 by EngagedMetal7
Friday, September 28, 2012 @ 04:40:34 AM
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I have played probably almost 100 console games on xbox360 (95% action/rpg/shooter), and can only think of only 2 games that had a good, believable and absorbing story (GTA IV and Metro 2033). However if the graphics (not to be confused with atmospheres or environments) that the games had changed, (i.e if GTA had saturated colours or low(er) textures) then the narrative of the story and indeed the gameplay itself would be hugely effected.
Of course this is not to say that I didn't enjoy playing through the campaigns of Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Bad Company, Saints Row, L.A Noire, Borderlands, 007, Mirrors Edge, Sleeping Dogs, Rage, Bully, Gears of War, Mafia II and Batman to name a few, just that I thought the stories played out like they were cheap, mindless crap made for piss all.

Forum Posts: 154
Comment #23 by EngagedMetal7
Friday, September 28, 2012 @ 04:49:51 AM
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@2 - So like COD?

Forum Posts: 1596
Comment #24 by HalfEVILmonkey
Saturday, September 29, 2012 @ 10:12:13 AM
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I'm sorry, but anyone who doesn't like Lollipop Chainsaw just doesn't understand humor. Warren Spector is a stupid pile of sh*t as far as I am concerned.

Forum Posts: 152
Comment #25 by AlienDenzil85
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 @ 01:42:14 PM
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Warren's two games mentioned in the first line of the article remain two of my favourite games, even though the graphics for both have dated pretty badly considering we're a few generations on from when they were made. The gameplay is still spot on though which is the clincher for me.

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #26 by 1000 kittens
Thursday, October 04, 2012 @ 08:10:28 PM
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@4 You do know that Warren Spector designed Thief: the Dark Project and Deus Ex, right?

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US November 18, 2012
Europe November 23, 2012

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