Warren Spector on games industry: "Nobody knows what they're doing"

Shacknews caught up with Warren Spector at Reboot Develop Blue 2019 in Croatia to chat about the current state of game development. Please take a look.


Warren Spector has had his hands in a lot of games over the last three decades in the video game industry, having worked on titles like Deus Ex, Wing Commander, and Epic Mickey. Spector is currently working as Director of OtherSide Entertainment. The company is working on System Shock 3 at the moment, but we were lucky enough to catch up with him at Reboot Develop Blue 2019 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The conference of game developers and industry professionals took place from April 11-13 and featured a lot of great speakers. We chatted about the current state of game development, changes happening in the industry, and even about his good friend George R.R. Martin. Please take a look at our full video interview with Warren Spector. 

For more great videos, including developer interviews and convention coverage for events like E3 or PAX, be sure to check out both Shacknews and GamerHub.tv over on YouTube.

"Reboot is amazing," said Spector when asked what he thought of the conference. "I can't believe the lineup of speakers they have here. It's actively intimidating." Dubrovnik, Croatia is also the location where a lot of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones is shot. Spector's wife and writer George R. R. Martin actually work together quite a bit. "I listen in on all these conversations about Game of Thrones." chuckled Spector as he described Martin as "just a guy." 

When asked what excites him about the industry today, Spector said that "what excites me is nobody knows what they're doing. It's kind of like the old days when we were making things up as we went along. No business model works, you know? Who knows what new platforms are going to do to us and for us. The most exciting thing is that everything is happening. If you have an idea, there are tools to make it." He went on to say that it is great that there are so many independent developers popping up, but discoverability is now a huge problem.

We will be posting tons of interviews from Reboot Develop Blue 2019 in Dubrovnik over the next week, so keep an eye out for more hot takes.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
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    April 19, 2019 2:00 PM

    Asif Khan posted a new article, Warren Spector on games industry: "Nobody knows what they're doing"

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      April 19, 2019 2:41 PM

      Man I really really hope System Shock 3 doesn't suck.

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        April 19, 2019 2:49 PM

        I sure wouldn't get your hopes up.

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          April 19, 2019 4:54 PM

          "System Shock 3 is now a mobile match-3 battle royale game!"

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      April 19, 2019 3:25 PM

      Arkane mostly knows what they're doing! Prey was 3/4ths of the best immersive sim ever made!

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        April 19, 2019 3:27 PM

        Arkane might be my favourite dev outside of CP Projekt Red, I LOVE what they do, but they could hugely improve in their story writing and character directing.

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        April 19, 2019 4:29 PM

        I only played prey because there wasn't anything else I wanted too. I don't think a game had beat my expectations as much as Prey did.

        It was just so damn good, from beginning to end.

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      April 19, 2019 3:28 PM


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      April 19, 2019 4:52 PM

      No one knows what they are doing because you fire the veterans or burn them out with terrible business practices so you are constantly churning through people learning nothing.

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        April 19, 2019 6:03 PM

        Not only did Nintendo not fire people when the Wii U was tanking, they also came out, as a publicly traded company and said they weren't.

        "If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, employee morale will decrease," he said. "I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world."
        - Satoru Iwata

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      April 19, 2019 8:08 PM

      He shouldn't talk. I've heard horror stories about the management during epic mickey 1 and 2.

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