In a moving talk at the DICE Summit, Deus Ex co-creator Warren Spector used his 30+ years of game industry experience to get up from recent knocks and give some thoughts on the older gamer and the older game creator.
Kicking off, Spector joked that although his studio, Junction Point, sadly no longer exists, he wasn't going to riff on that, since "the folks at Disney were pretty remarkable" - but he noted wryly: "if you see a little red laser dot on my forehead…"
In a lecture that delved both into his aging and the greying of some of his target audience, Spector noted he's all of 57.33 years old, and commented of the game biz: "I've seen so much chaos in the last 30 years, you wouldn't believe it."
But even after his later setback, he was optimistic, suggesting: "I still have stuff I want to make… I'm not quite ready to live on a farm."
Spector then went on to discuss the differences between younger gamers and the older demographics, saying that when he was younger, "I needed my games to last a really long time." Younger gamers can ditch the rest of life and concentrate on games. But as he's aged, he's got to the point where "a 20 hour game… was perfect."
In another comparison, Spector said that he used to gravitate toward more controversial titles: "If it was going to convince my mother that I was going to be a juvenile deliquent, then I'm there." When you're younger, "spectacle is… really what you're looking for."
There's a desire to shock - sometimes unfortunately, such as in Lollipop Chainsaw, which the Deus Ex creator is not a fan of - or at least, said "there are some games that should just not be made", while having a picture from the game onscreen.
But nowadays, Spector says: "I have no interest in guys that wear armor and swing big swords." And he's finding a lot of interest in titles such as Heavy Rain and The Walking Dead, and are "different in that they delivered a satisfying experience in a fairly short timeframe."
But they aren't just "about ideal Nordic bodybuilder heroes," and they celebrate the ordinary. For him, these are some of the most interesting types of games created today.
Concluding a heartfelt talk, Spector implored those who are older developers to think about their legacy ("I want to leave something behind… this is not just about making money"). He also suggested that older game creators should be sharing more, being more of a mentor to those up and coming in the industry, and truly giving back to both gamers and the game creation community.