Warren Spector has hailed Heavy Rain maker David Cage as no less than "a genius".
That's from the mouth of one of the chief creators of Deus Ex, System Shock and Thief.
"David Cage is a genius. If Tim [Schafer - a "really good friend"] isn't the best writer in gaming, David is," Spector told MCV Pacific.
"I've never met the guy - I'd love to sit down and talk to him. But, basically, Heavy Rain works because it's five scripts all jammed together and meshing together and branching together. It's like it's the world's biggest choose-your-own-adventure book, and I can admire the craftsmanship behind that, and the skill it takes. I mean, I've actually written choose-your-own-adventure books, and I know how hard writing those is.
"But I also know that in Heavy Rain, nothing surprising will ever happen. No player will ever see anything, do anything, discover anything that David (with his undeniable genius) didn't create. I think that's a shame. I can't look at that and say 'that's the future of gaming', because the flow charts I did for One Thing After Another and Thing in the Darkness and other choose-your-own-adventure books that I did 1984 and 1987 are exactly the same structure as Heavy Rain. Exactly."
"I loved [Heavy Rain] as an experience - it was unbelievable. It made every day mundane things high drama. I mean, holy cow! I'm in awe of the talent of the guy who wrote it and his ability to tell a cinematic story."
Warren Spector, co-founder, Junction Point Studios
Heavy Rain was one of the two games Warren Spector finished last year. He plays "a lot" of games, but most for only two hours. "If I finish a game, there's something really compelling in it for me," he explained.
The other game Warren Spector finished was the Deus Ex reboot, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, for obvious reasons.
But Heavy Rain, "I loved that game as an experience - it was unbelievable," Spector said. "It made every day mundane things high drama.
"I mean, holy cow! I'm in awe of the talent of the guy who wrote it and his ability to tell a cinematic story."
Spector believes his strength lies not in the controlled stories of Cage or Schafer, not in the uncontrolled stories of Will Wright, but somewhere in the middle.
Warren Spector's currently making Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.
It's an "unexpected sequel to the odd and rather troubled Wii exclusive [Epic Mickey] from 2010", as Christian Donlan expertly put it, in his Epic Mickey 2 preview. Epic Mickey 2 is also a PC, Mac, PS3 and Xbox 360 game as well as for Wii. And there's co-op, and there are songs.
But what there doesn't appear to be this time is creative courage, as Christian Donlan discovered.