A vast majority of IGN's new three-page interview with Deus Ex creator Warren Spector obviously revolves around his latest title at Junction Point, Epic Mickey 2, but the veteran designer also talks a bit about how focus testing shaped Deus Ex: Invisible War, how he was forced to cut some of the content from the original Deus Ex, his narrative construction process, and other interesting topics. A few excerpts:
“I honestly never anticipated it to be a hurdle, and it wasn’t one, because I always just make the game I wanna play,” he says. “I never – I’m not kidding, nobody believes me when I say this – I’ve never been assigned a game, never been told to make a game. I’ve never made a change in a game based on focus testing except once and it was a mistake, I shouldn’t have done it.”
“It was Deus Ex Invisible War, actually, we focus tested concepts and I was told, ‘Set the game further in the future and put the guy or the girl in a purple jumpsuit; people like purple jumpsuit. Why did I listen?”
“I’m making it sounds like it’s easy, I mean, it’s not. It’s really, really hard to figure out what to cut, what not to include, but it’s just part of the process. Trust me, on Deus Ex there was a whole sub-plot involving the White House that I cut. There was a whole storyline about the Russo-Mexican Alliance storming across the border into Texas and taking over Texas. I mean, none of that ended up in the game, right? I knew what was happening in the asteroid belt while all of those events were happening in the world of Deus Ex on Earth.
“So every game you do that. I don’t wanna be glib about it, but that’s what you when you’re a game developer or a storyteller, or probably a filmmaker or a novelist or anything else. You think of all the cool stuff you wanna do and then you start cutting the bits that don’t fit.”
“Well, you know, I knew we were gonna go here,” says Spector. “Before I start on any project I have a process I go through, on every game – I did this on Deus Ex, I did it on the Ultima games I worked on. I don’t usually talk about it. In fact I literally never talked about it until a couple of years ago, and then people just seemed so interested in the process of making games that I just started hinting around at this stuff.”
“But one of the parts of my process is I figure out a three-story arc, like a narrative arc, and then I figure out, ‘Okay, if we get lucky enough to do more than one game set in this world, what’s the game innovation? What’s the new thing in the first one? What would the new thing be in the second game? What would the new thing be in the third?’