For today's Gamasutra feature
, we catch up with Deus Ex: Invisible War
designer Harvey Smith, now at Midway Austin, on what next-gen might bring, collaborative versus competitive play, and what gaming can learn from MySpace and Digg.
Says Smith on designers furthering collaborative social play:
"Team play is still one of my favorite things. Speakerphone co-op Doom is still one of my favorite experiences. We're including features in our games now that try to facilitate some of those same feelings between players. FireTeam was all about that too. I really think that there's money to be made and good feelings (among players and developers) to engender by specifically building games around features that allow players to aid one another, to build one another up. Beyond giving each other resources or participating in group raids (which are both great, by the way), there's a lot that can be done in games where players specifically, asymmetrically aid one another in having a better play experience, even in action games.
Also, to get to the implicit politics in your question, I think we can score (financially and creatively) by trying to model more diverse subject matter. Okay, we know how to model gun play. Cool. I love it. Guess what, there's a lot of competition there. Maybe we should spend more time advancing models related to social structures: What happens if a handful of players were put in a persistent small town with persistent, memory-driven AI's and the ability to act socially or anti-socially? What would happen if we started modeling more subject matter with universal appeal, requiring less esoteric subject matter; Romeo and Juliet instead of Tolkien. I wish more people would model political or social trends. Or at least we could keep modeling gun play and add some interesting new collaborative tactics; throwing another player an ammo clip in a team-based shooter would be a huge win."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
, including more on Smith's roles at Midway Austin, and on the avatar psychology that drives user-driven community sites like MySpace (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).