News Article

Warren Spector: "I'm Sad But Excited For The Future"

Posted by Andy Green

Former Junction Point chief is proud of the studio's achievements

Yesterday Disney announced that it was closing Junction Point Studios indefinitely, resulting in around 160 people sadly losing their jobs.

Warren Spector was the man who headed up the operation at Junction Point, and because of the closure he too has left Disney Interactive.

In a post on his Facebook page, Spector said he was grateful to everyone he had worked with over the past eight years and that though he is saddened by the closure, he is excited about his "next adventure".

Here's the post he put up on Facebook in full:

Yes, it's true. The Junction Point journey is over. To all those who've asked, or want to ask, I'm sad but excited for the future.

JPS had a good eight year run. I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing projects. I've had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I've gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney's history, walked where Walt walked... "Magical" really is the only word.

But now it's time to... (Man, I almost said, "now it's time to say goodbye to all our fa-mi-ly..." Which would have led me right to "M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E!"). Let's just say, now it's time to move on to the next adventure. I honestly don't know what that will be yet, so don't ask. (And while we're on the subject of asking, if you're a journalist, don't bother - all press inquiries go to Brian Nelson and Carrie Davis over at Disney.)

Anyway, whatever you think of me, or Junction Point, or Disney or the Disney Epic Mickey games - yes, I know we polarized people! - I'll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride. Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been part of a game - of anything, really - that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the Epic Mickey games. That's priceless.

I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the Epic Mickey journey that, worst case, we'd be "a footnote in Disney history." Looking back on it, I think we did far better than that. With Mickey Mouse as our hero, we introduced a mainstream audience to some cool "core game" concepts... and, most especially, we restored Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to a place of prominence.

WE did that.

Junction Point.

I'll always be grateful to Disney for that opportunity, to the folks who helped out along the way in Glendale, on the studio lot in Burbank, at the parks in Anaheim and Orlando and Paris, at Disney offices around the world and at Pixar. (You know who you are!) I'm grateful to the Disney fans, bloggers and historians who embraced me, the team and our work - that was huge. And, most especially, I'll always be grateful to the folks – the family – at Junction Point who did all the real work.

I'll see all of you in the future!

And, really, press inquiries go to Brian and Carrie!

There will certainly be some gamers keen to find out what project Warren Spector will be working on next. He's known more recently for the Epic Mickey series, however he has produced many other titles in the past including Deus Ex and a few games from the Ultima franchise.

What are your thoughts on Junction Point closing its doors? Will you be sad to see it go? Let us know in the comments below.

[via facebook.com]

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User Comments (27)

KnightRider666

#1

KnightRider666 said:

Does anybody know if he was involved in Split Second by chance? That's still one of my favorite combat racing games on the PS3.

rayword45

#2

rayword45 said:

Outside of talking about all the job losses, nothing Junction Point made really interested me.

However, his involvement in Deus Ex automatically results in interest.

Birthday_Boy

#3

Birthday_Boy said:

I liked the first Epic Mickey. The "Playstyle Matters" gameplay was very interesting. The Disney magic in epic Mickey was astronomical, and thats what I liked about Epic Mickey. It was a world based on Disney's forgotten. Including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (Which I hope won't be forgotten, now that Junction Point can't work with him).
Epic Mickey will be one of my Wii game for that reason alone.

DashDG

#4

DashDG said:

All 3 Epic Mickey games (Wii,WiiU and 3DS) were very poor or mediocre... Not a great lost at all.

WiiLovePeace

#5

WiiLovePeace said:

@KnightRider666 I don't think so as "Black Rock Studios" made Split/Second, which Warren isn't a part of. & I agree, its an amazing game & heaps of fun :D

& I've never played any of Spector's games though I do plan on playing Epic Mickey one day. Maybe if Disney hadn't have rushed the Epic Mickey games then they'd be better, as far as I can tell. Oh well.

KnightRider666

#6

KnightRider666 said:

@WiiLovePeace: Thanks for clarifying that for me. I guess there's still hope for Split Second 2:) I agree, all Epic Mickey games were rushed. Haste makes waste, and waste destroys jobs and futures. It's indeed a real shame because these games could have been so much more. I bet if WayForward was involved, they would have been nothing short of amazing.

TheSonicdude97

#7

TheSonicdude97 said:

I never truly knew anything about Junction Point Studios, but I do feel sad to see it end. I rented/borrowed Epic Mickey for Wii and I was amazed. I really wish I had it because of the fun gameplay I had with it and the good, "epic" feeling of the story, cutscenes, and the level designs. :) Anyways.. While reading Warren's message, it made me feel like how I would express my feelings for a certain role in a workplace I might have with developing great games, and then another day comes by, now knowing that your honored position in that career of yours is gone, but leaving you feeling with something more than "Oh no, I'm jobless now!". You truly feel for those who worked along your side with just as much determination and motivation as you. I'm glad Warren sees his fellow former partners at work as more of a family all together, and its nice that he chooses to look at the future and believing in possible new adventures waiting for him rather than losing hope and feeling failure. The way I see someone like him makes me believe that they don't give up. For Warren..He'll keep going strong and looking to the bright side. Good luck, Warren Spector. I wish you a great next adventure in gaming.~
-TheSonicdude97
I really hope I can reach my dream of making games in the near future and stay feeling confident along the way, too.

GreenDream

#9

GreenDream said:

Epic Mickey had great potential of changing the story based on actions, but it was limited by it's final design. They never did nail down a whole game design which matched the pedigree of System Shock 1&2, Thief 1&2, and Deus Ex 1. Spector has said himself that games have never really evoked a true sense of morality... but maybe his experiences with his team on Epic Mickey taught him about how to come one step closer to that goal.

Spector's element is in the first-person and close camera third-person perspective titles... maybe his lack of experience with dynamic-panning perspectives was one of his downfalls with creating Epic Mickey?

LightSuitGuy

#10

LightSuitGuy said:

If it weren't for Mr. Spector's visions and Junction Point, Mickey would still be nothing more than a coporate mascot. Mr. Spector and his team truly did justice to the mouse, as well as reintroducing Oswald and The Mad Doctor back to the world.

I wish him and everyone formerly at JP the best.

SMW

#13

SMW said:

I still need to get Epic Mickey 2. I loved the first one! Food comes before games, though. Sorry. :P

ThreadShadow

#14

ThreadShadow said:

This just in! Warren Spector to work at new studio, formed by mystery company whose name ends with "intendo", starts with "N", on third entry in newly acquired IP series, name ends with "siders", starts with "Dark".

I wonder what it could be!

Anyway, jokes aside. I think Nintendo should offer him a little studio and a 2-3 game exclusivity deal. 1 for 3DS, and 2 for Wii U (retail, eShop). And let him create what ever he wants. See what happens.

doctor_doak

#15

doctor_doak said:

I never played any of the Epic Mickey games, but I think Spector's talents would go to better use developing/over-seeing first person 'immersive' games like Deus Ex. Hopefully, this is what he goes back to doing when the dust is settled, because the strong sales of both Dishonored & Deus Ex:HR and Bioshock (i guess) in recent years show that there is an audience out there that is hungry for 'deeper' first person action games than say, CoD & Crysis, etc..

PinkSpider

#16

PinkSpider said:

His hard working team obviously were not working on the Wii U version of Epic Mickey 2 then.

fluggy

#18

fluggy said:

Cynical company release rubbish game (twice), knowing full well that its pants . . . and then slap a £50 price tag on it to dupe parents and little kids who don't read reviews. The heart bleeds!!!

Mahe

#19

Mahe said:

Epic Mickey 2 should have been kept a Wii exclusive, maybe that would have made it a better game. Going multiplatform is what strained their resources too far.

A1234

#20

A1234 said:

I enjoy the Epic Mickey games greatly. Deus Ex and Ultima are also excellent. I am excited to see what Warren will make in the future.

NintyMan

#21

NintyMan said:

The first Epic Mickey will always be one of my favorite Wii games, so although the series has come to a close, it'll still have a lasting legacy in my gaming for years to come. Of course there's things they should've polished, but I think the first Epic Mickey was still interesting to play and was a true delight for a Disney fan. The second game's flaws were more apparent, but I still happen to find some enjoyment, so the series has been good to me. I wish Warren the best.

Banker-Style

#22

Banker-Style said:

The Epic Mickey franchise did a lot of good for Disney,whether you found the games crap,or brilliant,Warren Spector and his team at Junction Point,put Mickey Mouse back into the lime light.

DePapier

#23

DePapier said:

All in all, that's sad. The dude REALLY loved Disney and Mickey, in spite how his last game apparently turned out...

AbeVigoda

#24

AbeVigoda said:

Neither game was awful by any stretch. I played both of them a little bit and would give them each a solid 7/10. For a comparison, I would give Banjo Kazooie a 9.5/10.

YujiPro

#27

YujiPro said:

Spector, I would only hope that the 160 employees that got sacked share your optimism for the future.

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