Warren Spector

The games legend chats about Disney, Mickey and reinventing Zelda

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I wanted to introduce some new kinds of gameplay into those classic genres, but I made a conscious decision not to play the old Mickey games because I didn't want to be prejudiced by what they had done.

If Nintendo handed you the keys to Zelda, where would you take it?

Wow! Well, they probably wouldn't, let's start with that! But every game I've done I see it very much as a progression on a specific path. Every game I've made, I've tried to find a different way or a better way for players to power their own experiences. I want players telling their story, not listening to mine.

I would have to find some way to allow Link to be Link and have his personality but also allow the player to express himself, and if I couldn't do that then I couldn't do the project. We'd be sitting here talking about the ways in which choice and consequence play out within a Zelda game and how play style matters in a Zelda game.

And actually, as I'm sitting here talking about it I'm starting to get some ideas about how to do it, but we should probably talk about Mickey!

So what has the mouse taught you about this path that you're on?

I've learned how hard it is to make a platform game, for starters. To some extent this is almost Zelda with a jump button. In a first-person game you can fudge a lot of stuff - and most of my games have been first-person - but when you're doing a game about running and jumping the challenges of camera and control take on a whole new level of difficulty.

You're also developing in the shadow of Mario 64. Was that game just too good?

Oh God no - it was phenomenal; it wasn't too good. There's always room to grow any genre so long as you have someone creative with lots of ideas. It's not about doing better but about always doing something different and challenging yourself to do things you don't quite understand.

There are plenty of people who execute well-understood ideas at a higher level of quality than me and I just don't understand why they would do that. This is a young industry and the whole point is to always be trying something new.

It's not that I don't think I should build on my past experiences; it's that I understand how to do this thing over here... now, what don't I understand how to do?

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