'Games are about what you cut, not what's included'

'Games are about what you cut, not what's included'
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 5th 2012 at 9:52AM

'Ideas are easy. Everybody in the industry has more ideas than they could fit in', says Warren Spector

Successful games are about what the developer cuts and not what they include, claims Warren Spector.

Speaking to IGN, the Epic Mickey and Deus Ex designer said that coming up with a plethora of ideas and concepts for a game was the easy part, but it was identifying and cutting the bits that don’t fit that made a game successful.

“I always say games are not about what you include in your game, they’re about what you cut; they always are,” said Spector.

“Ideas are easy. Everybody in the game business just has more ideas than they could possibly put into every game they ever work on in their lives.

“So what you do is you throw in everything you think is cool, everything you think is going to resonate with people, everything that people already care about, and then you start trimming things that don’t fit.”

Spector added that whilst it sounded easy to do, working out what features didn’t fit into a game was tough to identify, and highlighted subplots and elements taken out of Deus Ex as an example of the difficulties of this process.

“I’m making it sounds like it’s easy, I mean, it’s not. It’s really, really hard to figure out what to cut, what not to include, but it’s just part of the process," he said.

"Trust me, on Deus Ex there was a whole sub-plot involving the White House that I cut.

“There was a whole storyline about the Russo-Mexican Alliance storming across the border into Texas and taking over Texas. I mean, none of that ended up in the game, right? I knew what was happening in the asteroid belt while all of those events were happening in the world of Deus Ex on Earth.

“So every game you do that. I don’t want to be glib about it, but that’s what you when you’re a game developer or a storyteller, or probably a filmmaker or a novelist or anything else. You think of all the cool stuff you want to do and then you start cutting the bits that don’t fit.”