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Warren Spector: "I've Personally Saved Hyrule Many, Many Times"

Posted by Andy Green

Believes video games can tell stories like no other medium

Warren Spector is well known for developing stories within games. He believes the gaming medium is perfect for expanding plots and offering players choices that have an impact on their overall experience.

Speaking at the UC Santa Cruz's Inventing the Future of Games convention - which was attended and reported on by Gamasutra - Spector urged those game designers and creators who are currently making mainstream games to "level up" their storytelling,

The man behind titles such as Epic Mickey and Deus Ex gave a few examples of games that transport players to other worlds, and one of them was Nintendo's popular The Legend of Zelda series. It appears Spector has a lot of experience playing as Link as he went on to say:

I've personally saved Hyrule many, many times.

Spector would like to see more developers focus on storytelling in games as, unlike other media, he claims games have the ability to give each individual player a unique experience. He offered designers some advice to consider when they're making a new story-focused game:

If, at the end of this game, every player has the same experiences, go back and think.

Clearly Warren Spector believes stories can play a huge part in players' experiences, though he was quick to point out not all games need to have one.

How many times have you saved Hyrule? Let us know in the comment section below.


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User Comments (32)



Shiryu said:

I wish he had been more successful with his latest projects, I really like his work. I also found it terrible how his latest opinion on "Wolfenstein" got so out of control. I wish him all the best in the future of his career.



MAB said:

Why? we have all saved hyrule at least once whilst between jobs. 10 years ago I saved Wind Waker Land using a preowned world generator... I was THE pirate man swashbucklin' across the high seas, playin' me flutey thing, conqueror of dungeons until reality checked



GamerZack87 said:

I've saved Hyrule a few times, but I've saved other Zelda series locales perhaps more than Hyrule itself:

Hyrule: Thrice (Yes, thrice is a word. Google it.)
The Great Sea: Once
Labrynna: Once
Holodrum: Once
The Wind Fish's Consciousness: Once



MrGawain said:

I've saved Hyrule 3 times, but 4 times I've got to the 2nd to last dungeon, got too busy with other stuff, and left Zelda and her people to suffer under the cruel domination of Ganondorf.



Grubdog said:

Obviously he never stopped to appreciate the fundamentals of 3D camera design



NintyMan said:

I've saved Donkey Kong Island and the Mushroom Kingdom more times than I can recall. Why, in Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, I saved the universe a few times!



MrWalkieTalkie said:

@DePapier He doesn't really need a new job. He's an old man whose done his part providing us with Deus Ex. All he does these days is speak about games these days from his perspective, and I find it very interesting.



Peach64 said:

It would be nice to have a bit of context for that quote, because as much as I love Zelda games, they have almost no story to them and they're very linear, which goes against what Spector has been going on about for the last few months.



Peach64 said:

Just the original article... wow, people complain about NLife posting too much about Kickstarter a lot recently, but this has got to be the most tenuous link yet!



GameLord08 said:

@Peach64: I recently completed my first Zelda game (Ocarina of Time 3D) and I can agree with you that it is very linear indeed. I often think though, that that's the most effective way to appreciate its storyline (especially since most of the story-telling itself wasn't immediate).

However, I'd personally like to see an open-world Zelda title one day, though - or at least one with open-world elements. I think there's potential for it with how much has been made of the Zelda universe at this point, and I'm interested to see what Nintendo will do with the upcoming Wii U title. I'd like it to not go the bog-standard "go this way, that way and save Hyrule" route for a change when there's a chance for exploration.



Geonjaha said:

I love Zelda games but I'd hardly say story is ever a strong point in them. Video games can still be a great medium for stories though - Walking Dead (Telltale) ftw. :3



aaronsullivan said:

Well, as much as story is cool, Warren should have taken gameplay cues from the Zelda games. Miyamoto starts with the core gameplay and builds out from that. The core mechanics in Mickey Mouse were never that fun. Should have fixed that before building this massive production around it, IMO.



aaronsullivan said:

Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward all have great memorable characters and a straightforward but interesting story. What's all this "Zelda isn't known for story?" The very first Zelda is an "open world" game. Zelda III was pretty open world at times. Wind Waker, Ocarina have decent "over worlds" which allow all sorts of nonlinear and optional adventure. The "temples" are often extremely linear in the sense that they have to be completed in a certain order, and even the insides are pretty directed.

I actually find the level of story in Zelda games about exactly what I want in a game. (They have taken some disappointing turns like the shoehorning of certain characters into Twilight Princess in such a way that undermined the better elements of the story.)

I do wish the characters wouldn't talk (text) as much. As soon as you've noticed that you've stopped and now you're watching it breaks down for me. Games like that Metal Gear Solid that took brief intermissions from cinematics for gameplay. That is just fail on almost every level.

Portal is a fantastic example of narrative that intersects with game play almost perfectly.



sr388survivor said:

@aaronsullivan I agree that Miyamoto's philosophy on gaming is my favorite as the game being fun is what's most important. I have no problem with long cutscenes if they're interesting or fun to watch.
What bugs me with the new Zeldas is that your companion tells you everything you're supposed to do and often reiterates what just happened in a cutscene as if you weren't there lol.
Ocarina to me has a great balance of story vs. gameplay.
Oh, and I can't even count how many times I've saved Hyrule.



aaronsullivan said:

@skjia Yes, the companion hand holding NEEDS to be delayed and better yet optional. I like the reminder If I ASK for it. I really hope this gets sorted out for the next big one. Worse though is the unskippable pause when collecting stuff every time you sit down to play.



SCAR said:

Imagination is just as important when being told a good story.
If you don't have an imagination, no story will ever get through to you.



Gold_Ranger said:

The Legend of Zelda:

  • Played too many times to count.
  • Got to Ganon ONCE! Ran out of Arrows -__-
    Zelda II: The Adventure of Link:
  • Played too many times to count
  • NEVER got near the end
    A Link to the Past:
  • Played too many times to count
  • Beat Ganon EVERY time!
    Link's Awakening:
  • Played less than 10 times.
  • NEVER got near the end
    Ocarina of Time:
  • Played too many times to count
  • Beat Ganon EVERY time
    Majora's Mask:
  • NEVER played
    Oracle of Ages:
  • Played once
  • Beat it
    Oracle of Seasons:
  • Linked it
  • Played once
  • Beat it
  • Beat Hidden Ending
    Wind Waker:
  • Played once
  • Beat it
    Minish Cap:
  • Played once
  • Got to end, died.
    Link to the Past/4 Swords:
  • Played 4 times
  • Beat every time
    Twilight Princess:
  • Played too many times to count
  • Beat EVERY time
    SkyWard Sword:
  • Played twice
  • Glitched once - stuck behind Pirate Ship Mast
  • Playing currently, want to finish
    4 Swords Adventures:
  • Played twice
  • Once with a friend, Once on my own.
  • Neither time beaten
    Phantom Hourglass:
  • Played twice
  • Beaten Twice
    Spirit Tracks:
  • Played once
  • Beaten once
    Ocarina 3D/Master Quest
  • Played too many times to count.
  • Beaten both EVERY time


GermenatorHue said:

Focus on level design and interesting gameplay mechanics Warren, cause clearly that's where you failed. In a videogame, a story isn't worth much without interesting gameplay.



element187 said:

Nothing wrong with saving Hyrule many many times.... But Nintendo does need to do something fresh with Wii U Zelda (no I'm not talking about TWW remake) And I have complete confidence Nintendo will blow our minds.

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