Warren Spector thinks Lollipop Chainsaw should not have been made
When people think of prolific minds within the gaming industry names like Hideo Kojima, Will Wright, Gabe Newell, and Shigeru Miyamoto typically to come to mind. Warren Spector is also one such a developer, having worked on franchises like Wing Commander, Thief, Epic Mickey, and System Shock. With his most notable contribution to gaming being the creator of the famed cyberpunk thriller Deus Ex, as you can see his body of work highlights why he’s so well respected.
Recently Mr. Spector gave a talk at the DICE convention in Las Vegas, and large number of press, developers, and executives were invited to hear him go over his 30+ year career as a game developer. He also went over his gaming desires from the perspective as a 57 year old vs what he wanted from games when he was in his 20′s.
“It’s not just about time. It’s not just about giving me shorter experiences. It’s about the content. My interests in content have changed dramatically and I suspect this is true for many of you. There are some games that should just not be made, by the way….”
At this point, an image of Suda 51′s Lollipop Chainsaw flashed up on an overhead projector. He then went on to state that ultraviolet games of this nature are hindering the industry from growing further, and are not appealing to a broader audience.
“I’ll try not to be too obnoxious,” he continued. “When I was younger, that’s all I needed. All I needed was to differentiate myself from other people. If it was going to convince my mother that I was a juvenile delinquent, I was there. I needed to be transgressive. Adrenaline rush and spectacle were all I needed. I don’t think I was alone in that. Maybe I’m just shallow…. When you’re this age, spectacle is plenty. And bloodsprays 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. You want to shock people and you want to be different.”
“Not so much, anymore.”
“I have no interest in guys who wear armor 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…”
“If we’re going to reach a broader audience, we have to stop thinking about that audience strictly in terms of teenage boys or even teenage girls. We need to think about things that are relevant to normal humans and not just the geeks we used to be.”
While I have the utmost respect for Mr. Spector, I’m going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with him on this one. Gaming is just like any other medium in that a creator’s vision should never be compromised in order to appeal to a broader audience. In the film medium, sometimes you’re in the mood for a thought provoking masterpiece like Taxi Driver, and other times maybe you just want to kick back and watch something like Hot Fuzz and have a good laugh. Having variety in your medium is what makes it appeal to a larger audience. It’s interesting that he chose to rail on Lollipop Chainsaw of all things, a game that while seemingly is nothing but a bloody zombie game with an overly sexualized cheerleader, it has a surprising amount of social commentary with regards to gender roles and how women are objectified in videogames. It actually leaves you thinking about what you’ve just played in an intelligent way and stirs up conversation amongst those that really got what Suda 51 and the games writer James Gunn were trying to say with it. Sorry Mr. Spector, but if anything the industry needs more games like Lollipop Chainsaw, it’s part Taxi Driver and Hot Fuzz with regards to its content.