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Deus Ex Designer: Industry Suffers From "Sameness," Gamers Need to Demand More and Better Games

The video game industry currently suffers from a level of “sameness,” a problem that could be solved if people demanded varied games that are more culturally significant. That’s according to industry veteran Warren Spector, who says in a new interview with Memory Leak that it is “just a matter of time” before video games can have a seat at the cultural table, a reference to his 2010 PAX Prime keynote address.

“Any medium with the kind of financial clout and broad reach we have today has to be given its due by the cultural gatekeepers,” he said. “We’ve made great strides already. To enhance our cultural reputation, I think we could be a bit more demanding in the kinds of content we support and demand. There’s a lot of sameness in commercial games and apps–a lot of slam-bang-action blockbusters on the one hand and simple puzzle games on the other. There’s a middle ground other media occupy with adult content. We could learn from that, I think.”

“I just think gamers simply need to demand more and better games… different games… genuinely adult games” — Warren Spector

Spector, 58, is perhaps best known for his work on the Deus Ex and Epic Mickey franchises. Now, he is the director for the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, a program he established last year alongside Blizzard Entertainment COO Paul Sams at The University of Texas at Austin. Though Spector is no longer making big-budget commercial games by day, he still has a lot to say about industry trends, specifically the level of violence in games today.

“There’s nothing that would get me to make a game with the kind of gratuitous violent content I saw at E3 the last few years,” Spector said. “We seem to be reveling in adolescent power fantasies masquerading as adult entertainment. I have no interest. I just think gamers simply need to demand more and better games… different games… genuinely adult games. I think a lot of it comes down to publishers thinking twice about pandering to the core gamer audience. They have to recognize that the audience for games is much bigger and broader now. If we’re not careful, we might lose that audience.”

This is not the first time Spector has spoken out about the level of violence in contemporary games. Following E3 2012, which featured a variety of very violent demos for games like God of War: Ascension and The Last of Us, Spector said in a media interview that “the ultraviolence has to stop.”

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
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