Warren Spector

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Warren Spector
11.30.10SpectorDavidByLuigiNovi2.jpg
Spector at the November 30, 2010 release party for Epic Mickey at the Times Square Disney Store in Manhattan.
Born Warren Evan Spector
(1955-10-02) October 2, 1955 (age 58)
Occupation Video game designer
Spouse(s) Caroline L. Spector (née Skelley) (1987–present)

Warren Spector (born October 2, 1955)[1] is an American role-playing game designer and a video game designer. He is known for having worked to merge elements of role-playing video games and first-person shooters. He is best known for the cyberpunk video games System Shock and Deus Ex.

Early life[edit]

Spector grew up in Manhattan, which he described as a sometimes hostile environment where “short, pudgy, Jewish kids didn’t fare well.”[1] He showed an intense devotion to whatever topic became his obsession at any given time, from dinosaurs and airplanes as a small boy, to an interest in law by the sixth grade. At age 13, Spector had decided he wanted to be a film critic, and by high school, his obsessions expanded to include cars and basketball.[1]

Education[edit]

Spector attended Northwestern University in Illinois, still intending to become a film critic, stating that he “knew more about movies than a lot of my teachers.” Spector earned his BSc in Communications at Northwestern, and went on to earn his MA in Radio-TV-Film at the University of Texas in Austin in 1980.[1] His thesis was a critical history of Warner Bros. cartoons.[2]

All through college, Spector enjoyed gaming, and “played Avalon Hill games mainly, and a lot of OGRE and G.E.V. games, and Rivets from Metagaming. It was all boardgames until I became friends with science-fiction writers who were into D&D games, so I gave the game a try. I was hooked.”[1] Spector taught several undergraduate classes at the University of Texas at Austin, on the history, theory, and criticism of film.[1]

Career[edit]

In 1983, after a job at the Harry Ransom Center as an archivist in charge of the David O. Selznick collection ended after a few months, Spector “was sitting around, wondering how I was going to pay the next month’s rent, when I got a call from Chris Frink. He was a writer for a weekly entertainment magazine I used to edit in college. Anyway, he said that he was now editor of Space Gamer magazine and asked if I wanted a job. So, in the fall of 1983, I started as an editor.”[1] Within a short time, Spector became the editor-in-chief for all Steve Jackson Games products, the company that owned and published Space Gamer magazine. Spector began producing role-playing games for the company, stating, “I supervised game development, typesetting, and the art and graphic departments.”[1] Most notably, he developed Toon with colleague and high school buddy Greg Costikyan. In March 1987 he was hired by TSR, initially working on games such as Top Secret/S.I. and the Marvel Super Heroes role-playing game.[1] Spector spent some time in TSR's R&D department, helping launch, among other things, Spelljammer.

Subsequently he entered the computer game industry, working with Origin Systems and Looking Glass Studios. He worked on games including Ultima Underworld I and II, System Shock, and worked briefly on Dark Camelot, which later became Thief: The Dark Project. Later he founded Ion Storm Inc.'s Austin branch, which went on to develop Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, and Thief: Deadly Shadows before being closed by owners Eidos Interactive in February 2005.[3]

In 2004, Spector left Ion Storm to "pursue personal interests outside the company".[4] In 2005, it was announced that he had established a new studio Junction Point Studios,[5] where he is working on an unspecified game. A job advertisement for the studio called for artists for a game that has "classic Hollywood cartoons" featuring "cartoon mice, cats and wabbits". On July 13, 2007, it was announced that Disney Interactive had acquired Junction Point Studios.[6] His first project with Disney Interactive is a project involving classic Disney characters, titled Epic Mickey. The game has been confirmed to be a Steampunk title and designed exclusively for the Wii;[7] the game was released in 2010. Spector has contributed a great deal to video game theory, and constantly promotes the importance of proper execution of ideas in video games.[8]

In January 2013, it was announced that Warren Spector had left Disney Interactive following the closure of Junction Point Studios.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Warren met Caroline Chase in 1984 at a comic book store in Austin, Texas, where she was employed. Caroline got a job at Steve Jackson Games shortly afterwards, and shortly after that, the two began a romance. Warren and Caroline were married on April 11, 1987. He and Caroline sometimes worked together, such as on game supplements for the Marvel Super Heroes role-playing game.[1]

The two currently reside in Austin, Texas. Caroline is a fantasy writer.

Cameo appearances[edit]

Ford Schick

Warren Spector appears in many of the games which he helped design. In Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire and Ultima: Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams he appears as the scientist Johann Schliemann Spector, known by the locals in Savage Empire by the alias Zipactriotl. In Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle he appears as the corrupt treasurer Spektor. In the first Ultima Underworld title, he appears as "an upset specter named Warren". In System Shock he voices Warren Anderczyk in his log file, discussing bio-contamination leaks on Citadel Station. In Deus Ex, the face of the character Ford Schick was modelled after him; in addition, "iamwarren" is one of the game's cheats (it causes electronic devices in the player's vicinity to malfunction spectacularly, a joke by the development team).

Credits[edit]

Video games[edit]

Spector in 2006

Spector is usually credited as a producer, except for Deus Ex on which he is also credited as project director.

Role-playing games[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Double Agent: Royal Pain/The Hollow Earth Affair by Richard Merwin/Warren Spector ISBN 0-88038-551-0

Comics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "TSR Profiles". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR, Inc.) (#123): 88. July 1987. 
  2. ^ AGDC: The Warren Spector Interview. September 6, 2007. 
  3. ^ Tor Thorsen. "Ion Storm closes its doors". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  4. ^ Tor Thorsen. "Warren Spector exits Eidos". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  5. ^ Curt Feldman & Tor Thorsen. "Warren Spector resurfaces at Junction Point". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  6. ^ Martin, Matt (2007-07-13). "Disney swoops for Spector's Junction Point Studios". GamesIndustry.biz (GamesIndustry.biz). Retrieved 2007-08-18. 
  7. ^ Thomas M. "'Epic Mickey' Spector's first Disney effort?". GameSpot. GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  8. ^ Mayhew, Fenster (2009-03-23). "Discussing Game Design #1-2". yoobercharge.blogspot.com (blogspot.com). Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  9. ^ Michael McWhertor. "Warren Spector no longer with Disney after Junction Point closure". Polygon. Retrieved 2013-06-01. 
  10. ^ Warren Spector's Master Class Interview No. 8 with Tim Willits (University of Texas, October 29, 2007)

External links[edit]