In a recent interview with, veteran game designer Warren Spector spoke of his own personal success metrics, offering words of wisdom from a man with nearly 30 years in the industry.

Scheduled to give the keynote address later this month at PAX Dev, Spector shared a portion of the message he intends to deliver to fellow game designers. “You need to know how you define success to know when you’ve hit it,” he said. Elaborating further, the veteran designer explained what success means to him in particular. “When I talk about my success metrics, one of them is you need more to say than just what’s happening on the surface of a game. There’s no reason why games can’t deal with thematic material as deep as any other medium.”

In addition to a depth of storyline typically associated with television, film, and books, Spector believes that for a game to be a success, it must push the envelope in other ways. “I’m going to be a little coy, but I’m a big believer that every game needs to have one thing that no one’s ever seen or done in a game before.”

Whether large or small, Spector believes notable, outstanding games have more going for them than simple fun factor. Taking risks in design and investing oneself into creating something with personal meaning is also of the utmost importance, according to Spector. In his opinion, every game should seek to have that one special new thing that pushes boundaries unsurpassed by previous titles. By doing so, he says, perhaps game developers can make a difference.

Warren Spector is the designer behind several classic game franchises such as the Wing Commander, Ultima, and Deus Ex series. He joined the video games industry in 1989, after several years of working on tabletop role-playing games, including the second edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

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Jennifer Anderson
Also known as Twist, Jennifer is a gamer, author, and digital artist who spent the early days of her childhood beating her stepfather's friends at Space Invaders and Pole Position on a beat-up Atari console, after which they would promptly complain to her mother. Now a competitive Diablo 3 player, she splits her time between writing, loving her dog Emmie, and putting her monk through nephalem rifts in a quest for the top spot on the seasonal leaderboards.

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