Warren Spector Vents His Spleen Once Again
Warren Spector has been something of a tone-deaf pill of late. Ever since his development studio, Junction Point, was shut down by Disney for making shitty games, Warren Spector has wondered the earth wailing at violent games, condemning their very existence. In February of this year Spector contended that the colourful and silly Lollipop Chainsaw was a title that should never have been made, and he is of the opinion that violent games were fine back when he used to enjoy playing them, but now that he has grown too “mature” to play them they should stop being made.
“There are some games that should just not be made, by the way. [When you are young] blood sprays and all that stuff is really kind of what you’re looking for because you really want to alienate people in a strange sort of way. Not so much any more. I have no interest in guys who wear armour and swing big swords. I have been the last space marine between earth and an alien invasion. I really just don’t need to go there anymore. I want content that is relevant to my life, that is relevant to me, that is set in the real world.
OK, great. So Spector is disinterested in Ghouls and Ghosts, has played Doom, and now only wishes to play games about Warren Spector. Great. But is this really the reason that Spector has been traipsing from interview to interview in order to slander the work of his industry colleagues? Of course not, and this week Spector has betrayed his true intentions whilst bad-mouthing the newly announced Wolfenstein: The New Order. He starts off typically enough by stating:
“Did the world really need another Wolfenstein game? Did we need a generically dark, monochromatic, FPS, kill-the-Nazi-giant-robot game? 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? And one more think: Please stop using Jimi Hendrix to promote your adolescent male power fantasies.”
But then goes on to disclose his real motives by stating:
“You’re welcome to write off my opinions but I have a right to express complaints about people recycling work as old as I am. I’m allowed to complain about the difficulty of getting new stuff green lit — new IP, new game styles and so on given my perspective as someone who’s constantly fighting the pressure to ‘just make a shooter’“.
So there we have it. Spector’s recent erratic behaviour is largely attributable to the fact that making a succession of bad games has meant that he no longer has creative freedom with respect to which games he is able to get publisher funding to produce. That however is to be expected considering that he has not produced a well-received game since leaving Ion Storm. Whilst working at his Junction Point studio Spector allegedly had his pick of projects and elected to develop the mediocre Epic Mickey and the outright terrible Epic Mickey 2, the latter of which had over seven hundred people working on it – ultimately sinking the studio. Thus it is a little bit rich for Warren to blame everyone but himself for an inability to get new creative projects approved.
He also stands to be monumentally wrong about Wolfenstein: The New Order. The game is being developed by MachineGames, a developer comprised of veteran creative talent from Starbreeze Studios, who previously worked on story-driven action-adventure/FPS hybrid titles: The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay and The Darkness. Like those amazing games, Wolfenstein: The New Order is said to be a story-driven FPS adventure which eschews multiplayer in favour of crafting an immersive environment for players to explore. The game will allegedly feature puzzles and lengthy non-combat exposition sequences, though, given the vacuum of first-hand knowledge surrounding the title, this requires an awful lot to be taken on faith.
At any rate, one fervently hopes that Spector is made to relent and do an FPS as his next project [as a fitting capstone to his prodigious hypocrisy], though, given prevailing industry trends, he will probably just end up doing a Kickstarter.
Silicon Knights Declares Itself Still Alive
It was a disaster. For the record – an epic fail. It is hard to overstate one’s own derision. Silicon Knights; they do what they can, because now they must – for the good of Dennis Dyack, though all his projects look dead. But Dyack is not one for crying over every mistake, he just keeps on lying until fans have had all they will take; and the coffers run dry, then he will cry for the decline in his personal circumstance.
This week Silicon Knights chief financial officer, Mike Mays, has reached out to Polygon in order to proclaim that the studio is “definitely alive” and “very busy” even in spite of the fact that the workforce has been sacked, the studio boss has fled to Precursor Games, their offices lay empty, and their phone has been disconnected. After initially responding to Polygon, Mays refused to answer subsequent questions such as where the studio is now located, and how many staff it is currently employing. It is quite amazing the fiction that utterly shameless fraudsters are willing to peddle in order to dodge their liabilities; namely the 4.45 million dollars that they owe to Epic Games for illegally using their Unreal Engine 3, and the four million dollars that they still owe to the Canadian government.
No sooner had Dennis Dyack and a core group of former Silicon Knights employees formed a “new” studio [at the time of the mass layoffs in 2012], then said studio turned around and started “purchasing” core assets from Silicon Knights, including: game assets [Eternal Darkness 2 demo (Shadow of the Eternals)], art assets, desks, chairs, and computers. Now Precursor Games can pick up where Silicon Knights left off, while the empty husk of Silicon Knights peddles the fiction that it is still a going concern currently searching for the money to pay back their debts – but then Dennis Dyack is no stranger to white-collar theft. Epic lawyers are currently looking into whether any impropriety has occurred.
Precursor Games CEO Paul Caporicci has stated that Precursor Games “has no connection to Silicon Knights.”
“We are a completely separate and independent entity and always have been. Precursor is not and never has been a party to that case, and is not involved in it whatsoever. We purchased completely wiped clean machines, that is all. There is no basis for any liability or any claim against Precursor Games.
We wish Silicon Knights the best of luck in their future.”
Meanwhile Denis Dyack has this week jumped back on the Silicon Knights forums in order to inform fans that:
“It has been a very long time. I am sorry I was away so long, it was not intended and I truly regret that I could not interact more with you all. I wanted to do so but it simply was not an option for me at the time. I really hope you understand.
As most of you already probably have seen, I am no longer at Silicon Knights and I joined Precursor Games some time ago. I invite you all to join us at Precursor Games if you are so inclined. I will be interacting more there (our whole team will be – it is one of the principle pillars of the company) and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with the community and our crowd sourcing campaigns.
I do see some people are disappointed at the way things turned out, so was I and many others, believe me. However, rather than dwell on that, we are moving forward a positive direction that I hope you can also join.”
When Polygon attempted to reach out to Dyack for a comment on Silicon Knights he informed them that “we want to concentrate on forward looking news and Precursor Games focused things only.”
Happily, not all of the week’s Silicon Knights/Precursor news involves these wretched sods getting away with highway robbery, as their ridiculous faux Kickstarter that Lusipurr.com reported on last week looks to be going nowhere fast. When the page opened for donations they very quickly pulled in over 130,000 dollars, yet for the last day they have been pretty much stuck at around 138,000 dollars. Given that that they are asking for 1.5 million dollars, it seems very unlikely that the project will meet its funding goal, though one will be very curious to see whether Dyack decides to return fan donations.
PS4 Is Not Expected to Cause Sony Major Initial Losses
The launch of the PS4 will represent an end of an era. From the birth of the PS1 right up until the present era of the PS3 Sony have always developed much of their own proprietary technology – but no more. The looming eighth generation of console hardware will see Sony for the first time adopt slightly modified off-the-shelf components for the PS4, but the situation is not all bad. Leaving much of their console’s technical make-up to outside firms has allowed Sony to save a lot of expense in terms of R&D, not to mention the fact that they can simply use one of AMD’s established foundries to produce the chips, as opposed to incurring that cost themselves. This has led to Sony’s chief financial officer, Masaru Kato, this week stating:
“Unlike PS3, we are not planning a major loss to be incurred with the launch of PS4. At the time we developed PS3, we made a lot of in-house investments to develop the chip, the Cell chip. Development of the chip saw the silicon processing and all the facilities invested by us ourselves. But this time, yes we have a team working on chip development, but we already have existing technology to incorporate and also product investment and all the facilities will now be invested by our partners, other foundries, so we don’t have to make all the investment in-house.”
It is not just the more standard nature of components that will be saving Sony money however, as the power of the console itself is rather less ambitious than the PS3. Sony treated the release of the PS3 like a technological arms race, delivering up a console that was the equivalent of an enthusiast PC – this time however, the PS4 only aspires to the quality of a mid-tier PC. The PS4 GPU is a cut-down version of the Radeon 7970M, which itself is a cut-down version of the Radeon 7970. In comparison to the desktop version of the card, the PS4 GPU is lowered from 925MHZ to 800MHZ, while the number of compute units has been lowered from 32 to 18. The desktop version of the 7970 is capable of 3.79 gigaFLOPS of performance, while the 7970M is capable of 2.17, and the PS4 GPU is capable of just 1.76.