Noted development veteran Warren Spector has spoken out against publisher Rockstar and the Grand Theft Auto
series in his keynote at the Montreal Game Summit, according to a report from website Canada.com.
Speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit, he stated: "I’m really angry at the Rockstar guys. Not like I'm going to go beat them up and yell at them, but they frustrate me because Grand Theft Auto III
, in particular, was an amazing advance in game design. It was a stunning accomplishment as a game design. And it was wrapped in a context that completely for me undid all the good they did on the design side."
A key figure in the design of classic PC series such as Ultima Underworld
and Deus Ex
, Texas based Spector left the now defunct developer Ion Storm
in February of this year, before founding his own Texas-based studio called Junction Point – although nothing has yet been seen or heard of the studio’s first project.
His attack on Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto
, though, is a relatively rare example of a developer advocating restraint on the part of violent content in a video game. “I don't think it is necessary," he is quoted as saying. "At this point, GTA
is the ultimate urban thuggery simulation, and you can't take a step back from that. But I sure wish they would apply the same level of design genius to something we really could show enriches the culture instead of debases it."
"We are dead square in the cultural crosshairs right now," Spector added. "The kids, the teens, the twentysomethings, they love us. And what that means is the parents and politicians don't ... And as we're seeing, they're feeling threatened. And that's not something I think we can afford to ignore."
Spector ended his comments by saying that the industry needs to create more content beyond "mindless pathetic killfests", suggesting that more attempts should be made to show players the consequences of their actions within a game, so as to explore a broader range of emotions. "I do think that a lot of the games we make lead to a coarsening of our culture”, he said. “And I think that inevitably leads to government and judicial intervention. And that means eventual cultural irrelevance."