Deus Ex's Warren Spector Warns Against Going Overboard with Motion Controls

By Chris Faylor, Mar 11, 2010 1:00pm PST As hardware makers rush to embrace motion-controlled gaming--Sony with the PlayStation 3's PlayStation Move, Microsoft with the Xbox 360's Project Natal, Razer and Sixense with the "Ultra-Precise Motion [PC] Controller"--industry old-timer Warren Spector has warned "we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater."

"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,'" the Deus Ex veteran warned during a GDC 2010 luncheon attended by Gamasutra.


The PlayStation 3's PlayStation Move and the Xbox 360's Project Natal

It's not that he's against motion-based controls--"I'm working on a Wii title and I'm loving it," Spector said of Juncture Point's upcoming Epic Mickey--but rather that he's cautious of what will happen if more traditional games and control schemes are abandoned.

"We're in the process of throwing away people--kids, adults--who know this stuff," said Spector. "I don't know if we want to throw away our entire history because we want to use gestural controls...I hope we keep our perspective a little more rational."

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  • You know, you could have used this same speech 5 years ago to warn developers about the "dangers" of developing so many Console-friendly shooters - "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 [office chair] and having a good time, and knowing where the buttons are--and we're saying 'You've got to [sit on a couch with a controller in your hand],'"

    Just look at how long it took for us to figure out how to map shooters to a controller correctly -- that has changed the way a lot of people play. Maybe someday, someone will figure out that same sweet-spot for motion controls. I think developers are going to experiment and if they find a way to make it work - if they can figure out a way to make it "catch on" with our demographic, then more power to them. If not, then it's no big loss. They tried, and we still have our controllers.