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Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, and fellow devs examine the value of the immersive sim

Warren Spector, Harvey Smith, and fellow devs examine the value of the immersive sim

March 10, 2017 | By Alex Wawro

March 10, 2017 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Indie, Design

"When I look at what games can do that other media can't, I instantly go right to the immersive sim. That sort of real-time you are there, nothing stands between you and belief that you're in an alternate world."

- Game designer Warren Spector, speaking during a PC Gamer roundtable discussion on immersive sim games.

System Shock. Deus Ex. Thief. BioShock. Dishonored. Each game proved successful enough to warrant a sequel or three, but more importantly, they became some of the leading lights of the "immersive sim" genre.

If you make (or were inspired by) games like these, you'll probably appreciate a roundtable discussion of immersive sims that PC Gamer hosted at the Game Developers Conference last week that features folks who worked on all of these games.

The conversation, which was published today in both audio and text formats, features game developers Warren Spector (System ShockDeus Ex), Steve Gaynor (BioShock 2, Gone Home), Tom Francis (Gunpoint), Harvey Smith and Ricardo Bare (Dishonored) chatting candidly about the value of games that afford players room to confront or circumvent challenges in their ways.

"That is something that I guess LARPing gets a little close to, and D&D gets pretty darn close to, but we're the first mainstream medium that can actually do that. And the immersive sim is the perfect way to do it," said Spector, suggesting that immersive sims offer an experience only possible in video games.

"I think we should start calling them instead of immersive sims, probably digital LARPing," added Gaynor, with a laugh. "That sounds good to me."

The full conversation is well worth reading over on PC Gamer's website. You can also listen to the audio version, which runs just over an hour.

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