Legendary Deus Ex and Thief creator Warren Spector has said that he believes VR is nothing more than a passing fad.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Spector said: “I’ve been pretty consistent in my belief that VR is a fad. I think it’ll generate some interest among the hardcore gamers. And I see amazing possibilities in VR for social media and virtual meetings and training and crazy stuff like dealing with phobias. But for entertainment? I’m just not seeing it.”
Spector, who is currently working as a university lecturer at the University of Texas, went on to say that he had actually worked on couple of games that utilized VR headsets in the nineties (someone might one to point out to him that technology has moved on over the superceding 20-odd years). While he was excited about the possibilities back then, he’s pretty much over the hype now. “I see amazing possibilities in VR for social media and virtual meetings and training and crazy stuff like dealing with phobias. But for entertainment? I’m just not seeing it,” he explained. “I don’t think most humans want to look stupid (everyone looks stupid in a VR headset) and they don’t want to isolate themselves from the world.”
“I’m kind of over it.”
While he wasn’t all that jazzed about VR technology, Spector has much higher hopes for augmented reality (AR), such as Microsoft’s HoloLens technology – which had an impressive on-stage demo during the Xbox conference. “There’s some potential there. Even the low-hanging fruit of AR gaming seems compelling. Bring on the AR.”
Outside of the discussion around virtual and augmented reality, Spector discussed the future of Deus Ex, saying that he is looking forward to playing Mankind Divided and that he enjoyed playing Human Revolution when it was released back in 2012.
Spector said that “the team at Eidos Montreal really seems to get what made the original game work and they’re doing a nice job with it – they’ve only made three or four design decisions I wouldn’t have made! I really enjoyed playing Human Revolution – it felt (and equally important, sounded) like a Deus Ex game. I had the Deus Ex experience and, for a change, I didn’t know all the secrets. That was pretty cool.”
When asked what excited him most at this year’s E3, it’s perhaps not surprising that Spector picked out Cuphead – a 2d side-scroller designed as an homage to animated cartoons from the 1930s. After all, Spector created Epic Mickey and its sequel. But he also stated his admiration for No Man’s Sky, and pointed to the increased support of the indie scene from Microsoft and Sony as beneficial to the industry as a whole.
It’s doubtful that Spector’s comments will do anything more than raise a few eyebrows among the staff at the various companies working on new VR headsets; but it’s interesting that the creator of Deus Ex and System Shock – effectively the de-facto examples of Cyberpunk video games – would dismiss the technology so readily.