At Origin and Looking Glass that whole idea of players solving their own problems and telling their own stories took root. It was about players playing the way they want to as opposed to the way designers force them to.
design for me is like sculpting. You whittle away all the things that don’t look like the game you want to make. It’s not an additive process like painting. You take things away. I am in the process of building myself an enormous lump of clay, and then we’ll start whittling.
Looking forward to see where this ends up. I have a lot of respect for Warren Spector and the types of games he has been creating and the games that those in turn have inspired. It seems to be a lot about managing freedom in such a way that it empowers users to create engaging stories. Some games like Deus Ex manages that well, while others gets a bit too sandboxy and makes the user unable to have any meaningful impact on things. I myself think about managing freedom in eg. such a way as whether to put the stories in the sandbox or the sandbox in the story. A story in a sandbox can be rather limiting as it plays to each other’s weaknesses – a sandbox can’t support all possible actions and a story is prescripted. If the script is limited to the sandbox rather than the other way around, then the freedom will in practise be rather limiting. If one instead lets the prescripted story be the container of the sandbox then they play to each other strengths instead. The script can contain a story of epic proportions, unlimited in its scale, and every part of that story will make the user feel fully free by giving them a sandbox to solve the problem presented by the story within. Deus Ex has managed all of that really well and it will be really interesting to see if these new games from the original creators of that philosophy will be able to push it even further and enable even more compelling stories to be a experienced.