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How Dungeons & Dragons Inspired Warren Spector To Create Deus Ex

How Dungeons & Dragons Inspired Warren Spector To Create Deus Ex

Back in 2000, Deus Ex changed the game for first-person shooters by deftly adding rpg and stealth gameplay to its memorable cyberpunk adventure. Even 17 years later, the influence of Deus Ex has only continued to grow and it has become a franchise unto itself.  Deus Ex was the dream game of producer Warren Spector, and it took a very challenging development cycle to get it right. Surprisingly, Spector has given credit to a classic game of Dungeons & Dragons for giving him the impetus to eventually create Deus Ex.

Via Gamasutra, Spector shared new details about the creation of Deus Ex while appearing at the annual Game Developers Conference. In particular, Spector cited a game of Dungeons & Dragons that start in 1978, with “cyberpunk guru” Bruce Sterling as the DM as a major turning point in his desire to make games. “Let me tell you where it began — this is going to get a little embarrassing,” related Spector. “It all began with Dungeons and Dragons…I would not be here, you would not be here, if not for that game of Dungeons and Dragons…The story belonged to Bruce, but every detail belonged to us…I was completely hooked; I played in that campaign for ten years.”

Spector went on to explain that Sterling’s story not only inspired him to create stories of his own, but to recreate the sensations he felt while playing through the campaign. “That’s been my life mission: to recreate that feeling,” said Spector. “Every game I’ve worked on, every single one, has been trying to engage players in the telling of the story. My only hope is to do it a little better every time.”

The desire to give players the freedom to make more choices was one of the core tenants of Deus Ex,  “We wanted players thinking about who they were in the world…we wanted players to think about how they wanted to behave in the world,” explained Spector. “We wanted them to feel like they were actually in the world….everything in the game had to be based on something real.”

You can read the entire account of Spector’s remarks at Gamasutra, and it really is worth checking out. It also includes Spector’s “commandments” for making a great game.

Are you impressed by the way that D&D inadvertently led to an all-time great video game? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image Credit: Ion Storm/Eidos Interactive

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