System Shock 3 Interview with Warren Spector at GameSpot



“Burgess” … Hahaha! Wow.


I have been yammering about “playstyle matters” for well over a decade now, so you can imagine how I feel when I read Warren Spector pointing out that this has been his lodestar since well before I ever said anything about game design.

But today, there’s this from Warren in the Gamespot interview:

To reiterate what I said over on NightDive’s Discord channel: I read those comments from Warren, and what I hear is Marc LeBlanc and the Mechanics-Dynamics-Aesthetics model of game design, but taken seriously. Most games focus on doing one or maybe two of those things well… and usually it’s the Dynamics part that gets short shrift. But dynamics – plausible world-reactiveness – is what puts the “sim” in “immersive sim!”

So I read Warren’s remarks about “interconnectedness” and BioShock’s strong blending of Aesthetics and Mechanics (so that they enhance each other), and a goal for SS3 to “innovate in other areas” (which I take to be dynamics), and that sounds 100% right to me. That thoughtful combination of Mechanics with Dynamics with Aesthetics so that each of those areas has features that actively deepen the player’s experience of the other two… I believe that is exactly what computer games ought to be trying to do. It’s dynamics in particular that is what best distinguishes computer games from other art forms such as novels and films. Bringing dynamics up to the same level of expressiveness that game developers have done for mechanics and dynamics, and interconnecting all three, is precisely the kind of thing I’d advocate for a “let’s do something other games haven’t really done.”

I don’t think there’s a better game than a System Shock 3 to showcase the kind of massively immersive fun that really hitting on all of these modes simultaneously can deliver.


The potential is always there, so close we can taste it. We know it can be done, but are powerless to stop the stuff that always gets in the way. I hope someone succeeds in achieving the potential, even if it’s rough, soon. I’d love to see someone figure out the company business model and development team that can produce more than 1 game that blows minds per decade.