Epic Mickey Maker Slams Wolfenstein Reboot

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Epic Mickey Maker Slams Wolfenstein Reboot

Warren Spector

Legendary game designer Warren Spector, whose work runs the gamut from Deus Ex to Epic Mickey, is none too happy about the resurrection of Wolfenstein.

In case you missed it, Bethesda revealed this morning that a new Wolfenstein game is on the way that will take the franchise somewhere a little different: the 1960s of an alternate universe in which the Nazis won the Second World War (but that nonetheless still has Hendrix). There was little to the announcement beyond "Hey, we're doing this" and some red-eyed Nazi death robots, so while the idea is interesting, there's not nearly enough information at this stage to judge beyond that.

But one man is judging it anyway, and he's judging it rather harshly. "Did the world really need another Wolfenstein game? Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game?" famed designer Warren Spector asked on his Facebook page. And then he answered, "Uh. No. The world did not. I am so tired of stuff like this."

"Oh, and could we all just agree we'll never use the generic gravelly-whisper trailer voice guy ever again?" he continued. "And one more thing: Please stop using Jimi Hendrix to promote your adolescent male power fantasies. Thank you. I'm done."

It's not difficult to see a hint of bitterness in Spector's response, presumably fueled by the utter failure of his much-hyped Epic Mickey endeavor to catch fire with gamers. He comes off a little better in responses to comments, where he clarified his complaints about the state of the industry and "the difficulty of getting new stuff green lit - new IP, new game styles and so on."

"Part of my frustration here is - well, lack of sleep leading to crankiness! But part of it is frustration not so much with Wolfenstein but what it represents to me. Like it it not, if you're playing console games - core games - you're probably playing a Shooter, a Shooter-like Action-RPG or a sports game. That's about all publishers offer us, now more than ever," he wrote. "When I see people getting all excited about Another Shooter, I fear for our future. A lot of comic book publishers probably said, 'They like that - give 'em more,' and a lot of readers probably said, 'Thank you very much.' And now comics are as marginalized as they ever were (except as inspiration for crappy movies). That's the sense in which we don't need 'another Shooter' or a reboot of Wolfenstein - the publishers aren't offering us much else and normal humans aren't yet impacted by the more creatively diverse indie scene."

In response to another user who claimed he doesn't see the difference between the Call of Duty and Wolfenstein franchises - he likes them both - Spector was even more pointed. "The fact that you don't see a difference between Wolfenstein and Call of Duty is EXACTLY the point I was trying to make," he wrote. "Remaking a classic is okay - not great, but okay. The fact that we get shooter after undifferentiated shooter is just sad."

It's an awfully strong response and it doesn't paint Spector in the most positive light ever, but he does make some valid points, and not just about that song. The videogame industry is dominated by a few narrowly-defined genres and developers are far more likely to be punished than rewarded for taking creative chances. Even so, it's hard to blame major game publishers for going with what works, and it's also awfully early to be dumping on Wolfenstein, which Spector allows - to an extent.

"It's totally possible the new Wolfenstein game will do something we've never seen before. Maybe it will even revolutionize the FPS genre," he wrote. "But I didn't see a hint of that in the material released so far."

Source: Facebook

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Andy Chalk:

"It's totally possible the new Wolfenstein game will do something we've never seen before. Maybe it will even revolutionize the FPS genre," he wrote. "But I didn't see a hint of that in the material released so far."

Source: Facebook

Permalink

Does he mean like how Epic Mickey totally revolutionised 3D platforming and made Mario Galaxy 2 look like on of those terrible 90's disney tie ins on the PS1?

That's a lot of bile a hatred for something that kinda doesn't exist yet, but this is the internet so that is to be expected. I agree that new IPs are needed, but if it turns out to be a good reboot, well those are rare too.

I do agree that the games industry needs a lot more variety than it has now.

I however don't think bashing games that do more of the same is any way to achieve that. You're not going to make those games fail. All that criticism isn't going to convince publishers to publish other games.

Instead I believe that with Kickstarter campaigns as well as the indie scenes we now have more power than ever to influence change in the industry. Not huge, sweeping changes that will totally change everything in a few months but gradual small chances that will eventually mount up.

I don't mean to imply that criticism has no place, not at all it's required for growth as well. But I do mean to say that it does seem the balance between criticism and support for alternatives seems kinda out of whack.

I think we could do with a few less people commenting on the pervasiveness of modern military shooters, adolescent male power fantasies and many other generic elements in games currently and a few more people commenting on interesting new ideas, highly promising new game concepts and amazing indie titles.

I'm surprised at the degree at which Warren Spector wigged out. But I think it's a great question to ask - can the industry grow beyond the FPS. Yahtzee's been chanting this mantra for a while now.

Do you know what I would give for a game with giant Nazi robots and a final boss fight with Hitler? Does he have any idea how long it's been since we actually had one of those? I'm not terribly happy about the color pallet either, but that kind of crazy pulp nonsense has been really lacking this console generation. Maybe the Nazis could be in league with Frankenstein and have their shock troops mounted on velociraptors.

Also, as many others have said, the guy who made both Epic Mickey's is on pretty shaky ground when it comes to criticizing games for originality and execution.

Actually, looking at Spector's history, I can't figure where he gets off throwing out 'adolescent male power fantasy' as a criticism. That's what made him a big deal in the first place. Honestly, I'm fairly uncomfortable with the way that term has become a pejorative in general, as well as with how ready people have become to arbitrarily declare what a given audience does or does not enjoy or fantasize about.

Tabloid Believer:
I'm surprised at the degree at which Warren Spector wigged out.

Im not, he hasnt done anything good in years, so he probably wants all the publicity he can get.

"I still matter! I made Deus Ex! LISTEN TO MEEEE!"

OT: Yep, he may have been good at one time, now hes just an idiot. That trailer looked interesting. I for one enjoy shooting giant robots.

And to be fair we havent had a good Nazi entry this entire generation that I can think of...

EDIT: And to just be a sensationalist douchebag: Warren Specter is a fuckin Sexist to boot! He thinks only MEN can have power fantasies from shooting giant Nazi death machines? I know a few women who particularly enjoy that kinda action too. Warren, you are a sexist douche that no longer matters in modern gaming.

I can see where his frustration is coming from. There are so so so many shooters on the market these days. Yes, admitedly these last couple of years has seen other genres come out of the wood works a little more often, but not nearly enough. For someone who enjoys the RPG-style Zelda-like crossbreed gameplay of Dark Souls, there aren't a lot of other games out there that do things like that.

After Epic Mickey 2, Warren's star isn't so much faded as nose dived into the Pacific.

Still his point about homogenous Dudebro shooters is completely correct, they're all looking, sounding and playing like a Michael Bay Transformers movie run through a blue-grey filter.

How to alter that situation is a difficult question, platformers still exist to a degree (plenty of people would've bought Epic Mickey 2 if it had been good) and things like Minecraft and LoL prove you can have a gigantic success without a fleet of Blackhawks and some patriotic sounding music. But for some reason the major publishers are intent on forging down one narrow path.

Hopefully Wolfenstein won't follow that path, Machine Games need to remember that this is the series that invented the circle strafe...

He's right, we need another Epic Mickey game with it's wholly original characters and art style...

And whilst he has a point about homogenised games it's not as if no one has mentioned that already, he just comes across as a bit of a twat who is bitter that his own game didn't sell eleventy billion copies.

Mr Spector, I feel your pain for the amount of crappy shooters on the market, but having said that, I would give my genitals in order to play a modern game with Nazi Fuckin' Robots.

I agree with the larger point he's trying to make about the state of the industry, but he shouldn't have lashed out on a teaser. I don't play many shooters. Almost no shooters at all. But I like Wolfenstein. So when I see a new Wolfenstein I get somewhat excited. As long as they don't make it like CoD, of course. He should have reserved his hate for new CoD instead.

Eh, I get it. It's not like the things he's saying are untrue in nature, just unduly harsh in execution. Of course it's going to be very easy to turn around and point out the hypocrisies in the things he says, or to pick apart and argue the validity of his points, because, I mean, they're there. But I guess I just see this as an artist who is frustrated with his medium or some personal roadblocks he has encountered and felt the need to vent his frustrations.

To that point, I get it. I think we've all been there over one thing or another, it's just unfortunate that he's a public figure and chose to vent on a public medium which will exacerbate this from an artistic mood swing (which is actually a fairly common and important occurrence in the creation of the things we enjoy in all mediums as I understand), to a public mudslinging campaign with both sides volleying low blows and generalities.

That said, he probably shoulda just kept it to himself, but now he'll have to pay up by either answering or ignoring a number of detractors screaming "What makes your games so special," etc. etc. so in the end the universe will remain in balance. Horray! Rant over.

Yeah, we see so many Nazi robots in games these days. And it's an FPS? What were you expecting from fucking Wolfenstein?

I really don't understand the point he's making- it's completely misplaced.

I love this man because of Deus Ex, but please stop, oh God.

I hate it when people think to know what the people want.

I for one really want to blast apart evil nazi-robot-hordes, sounds like hellofalotoffun, and a nice departure from all that semi-realistic stuff we get since 2007.

Of course there is a place for Deus Ex, but there is also a place for shooting evil nazi-robots, I mean just because the one thing is good, doesn't mean that the other isn't.

Did the world really need 2 Epic Mickey games? You make a game about Disney Characters and you complain about generic?

Please stop using Jimi Hendrix to promote your adolescent male power fantasies.

WHAT!?!? NEVER!!!

Also, doing YAFPS (Yet Another First Person Shooter) is OK as long as Id is doing it.
edit: Actually, it doesn't seem like Id is doing it (zing!) but as Wolfenstein is an Id IP, their spirit is in there somewhere so it counts.

I'm completely with Spector on this one.

I am sick to the back teeth of shooter after shooter, reboot after reboot, sequel after sequel. Let's get some originality in here folks. FPS isn't the only genre.

Much like Peter Molyneux, love him or hate him, at least Spector aims for something different. Neither of these men completely hit their target but at least they try damn it. I'd rather have more flawed dreamers and innovators as game devs than competant but boring "play-it-safers."

Proverbial Jon:
I'm completely with Spector on this one.

I am sick to the back teeth of shooter after shooter, reboot after reboot, sequel after sequel. Let's get some originality in here folks. FPS isn't the only genre.

Much like Peter Molyneux, love him or hate him, at least Spector aims for something different. Neither of these men completely hit their target but at least they try damn it. I'd rather have more flawed dreamers and innovators as game devs than competant but boring "play-it-safers."

But they both only manage to sell games by promising the moon and delivering a can of soda from my fridge. They say they want to make something amazing, but don't even deliver the basic idea in a functional manner. You know what? I'm sick of defending molyneux, FABLE are terrible games!

Epic micky was a barely functional platformer that had promised a edgy story and a slew of interesting and new gameplay devices and delivered a crap kiddy story with the same crap you see in every single other game.

As the consumers, we can criticize the devs when things go wrong, but a Dev talking smack about another dev better have a steel plated house and Spector lost the plates he earned from deus ex long ago.

Besides, quite frankly, where are all the nazi robot games? I mean, I haven't seen many nazi games period recently except for the sniper elite one and that looks like alot of fun! Calm down and lets see where bethesda goes with it before throwing stones no one here is prepared to have thrown at them.

Captcha: make a bee-line

...... thats my que to run away now.....

Epic Micky was overrated so I don't don't care for this guy's "too good for this" attitude. What we need, are fun games. Not artsy games with cute Disney characters just because its the opposite of what's popular. And wasn't epic micky supposed to be kind of "dark" too? We do need "a game where you fight Nazis in robot suits". I haven't actually played a lot of games like that lately.

the difficulty of getting new stuff green lit - new IP, new game styles and so on.

...says the man most recently known for making a platformer with Mickey fucking Mouse.

People in glass houses, Warren...

Edit: but really this is just yet another case of someone using social media to speak without thinking. Oh well.

Adam Jensen:
I agree with the larger point he's trying to make about the state of the industry, but he shouldn't have lashed out on a teaser. I don't play many shooters. Almost no shooters at all. But I like Wolfenstein. So when I see a new Wolfenstein I get somewhat excited. As long as they don't make it like CoD, of course. He should have reserved his hate for new CoD instead.

But no body would have paid attention to him if he complained about CoD. He would have lost in a sea complaints that have been repeated since 2008 or whenever Modern Warfare 2 came out

Douchebag:
"Did the world really need another Wolfenstein game? Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game?"

Are you fucking kidding me? YES WE NEED WOLF. This is exactly what we need in fact. Instead of all the 'oh so cinematic' and 'haha let's pretend this is what real war looks like' and 'let's push as much money as we can in sequels of a game that was once vaguely interesting' and 'badass american superhero' we have:

1) over the top silly fun with a cheesy protagonist (who's actually Polish btw iirc)
2) actually interesting IP: no, even the previous Wolfs were NOT just more WWII shooters
3) giant robots and some paranormal with really evil nazis. Guys, remember Indiana? Hellboy? Stuff like that? This isn't Saving Private Ryan.
4) from people that seem to know what they're doing, at least hopefully (done by people who did Riddick EFBB)
5) apparently close to people who a) know what to do with other IPs (Bethesda) a well as the original owners (id)
6) if all goes well, a game with more than 2 weapons, and some more interesting stuff

In short: shut up Warren. If you want to rant against more samey shooters, rant against COD, BF, Halo, GoW and other stuff like that with a bazillion sequels. Wolf has always been something different. Something we actually need for fucks sake. Whether it ends up good or not remains to be seen, but at least Wolf is something that has a real chance to be done right because it never took itself too seriously.

I don't really care if it's called Wolf or whatever, I care for another old-school shooter (no, I don't mean Serious Sam kind of shooter). Hopefully it won't turn out too far from those older titles.

Seriously, here's a challenge: show me 3 titles from the past few years like that.

I don't care for CoD, but I'll check out a new Wolfenstein game. We don't know anything about the game yet, it's completely idiotic that he is attacking it. I even enjoyed the last one, it was way different from previous Wolfenstein games. Maybe this one won't be just another CoD wannabe FPS. It may be, but I'll wait as Bethesda has not disappointed me in the past.

And this is coming from the guy who made a dark and edgy Mickey Mouse game from some years ago. Don't throw stone in a glasshouse Warren.

While I can certainly empathize with Mr. Spector there comes a point where if you're unhappy with the content being produced from a mainstream medium, take the extra time to look at what's being made on the independent side. It's what I did in 2004 with music and since then I've grown to love genres I had previously despised (country and hip hop) and my knowledge has grown exponentially. The same thing happened in 2011 when I started taking a look at more indie games and since then I've found myself attracted to game genres I previously found I didn't like (such as rougelikes, FTL/ Binding of Isaac, etc). I still occasionally pay attention to the mainstream AAA market, but besides BioShock: Infinite and Watch_Dogs the games of 2013 I'm looking forward to are all indie ones. Now that I have a plethora of little cheap colorful games to keep me entertained, I find it far easier to let bygones be bygones and let the dudebros enjoy buying the same games every year. PC gaming is experiencing a wonderful renaissance and I will ride this wave 'till the end, and I suggest Warren Spector grab a board and do the same.

Of all things to criticize, why Wolfenstein? It's one of the few franchises with a distinctive personality anymore.

P.S. Thanks

It's not like shooters are the 'only' thing being announced, they're just the most popular. There's a metric fuck-ton of indie games being released and at least a couple of AAA-non-shooters in the works.

I just can't shake the idea that he's just really sour over how badly his own original IP went. He tries to come off as non-self referential but utterly fails at it.

Shameful display ~

Really all i can say after reading this article.

This guy is creative but not a genius at it. But he is right about the same old stuff getting put out. Yesterday, my friends and I got all excited, hoping for a new sci-fi rpg game. Then they announced it's Wolfenstien, and we all rolled our eyes and are no longer interested.

Now apparently rumor has it EA is working with DICE to make another Star Wars game, how much you want to bet that's also a FPS?

It feels like most of the gaming industry is slamming itself into a creative brick wall, trying to fit through tiny little hole of major brand name like COD, multiplayer, M rated, and FPS. If they would actually think and be creative, they could just walk around or climb over the damn wall instead of killing themselves over trying to get into that tiny hole.

1. Shooting Nazis, preferably in the back, is always good.

2. Game's industry must provide new IPs. We could have the most psycheldelic, fantastic looking gamess with no holds barred visually (see Bioshock, Zeno Clash), and what do we get? Unimaginative brown 'real world copy' shooters and, going by the sales numbers, for an equally unimaginative, numb audience.

3. If the new Wolfenstein will be anything in the vain of IRON SKY, we need MORE of it!

Ackshully boss, I don't think Wolfenstein has been rebooted. I mean, yeah, the first one ended with Hitler being killed, but the expansion happened before that, so if we assume that RTCW happens before the end of Wolf3D, and Wolfenstein is a direct continuation of that, then this new one is technically just another sequel (no word if Hitler's still dead or not, so, pure speculation)

Frankly, my big issue with this announcement is it's a bit too close to Astrostein for my liking . Admittedly, I doubt it'll be so goofy, but that's not necessarily a good thing, after all, if you're starting out with a far-fetched idea, why not just go all out?

Yeah, nah, nice try, but I want a good FPS that isn't a bastard mix of realism and arcade, coated in military fetishism. I'll take a silly, hopefully fun FPS any day.

And I liked WW2 as a setting, damn it.

I agree with Spector, i'm so sick and tired of the same boring dark tone we see so often in games like this and i hate the gravelly voiced trailer guys, i have enough of games with dark and brooding atmoapheres!

Obligatory "U Mad, Bro":

image

In all seriousness though, I can see why he would be upset. But I think there is a bit of hyperbole with his statement.

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