Warren Spector, the former studio head of Ion Storm Austin and the brains behind Deus Ex, has slammed game developers for relying on tried and tested formulas instead of coming up with new ideas.
Speaking at the Montreal Game Summit in an interview with The Canadian Press news agency, Spector had particularly strong words for Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto - which he described as the "ultimate urban thuggery simulation."
"I'm really angry at the Rockstar guys. Not like I'm going to go beat them up and yell at them, but they frustrate me because Grand Theft Auto III, in particular, was an amazing advance in game design," Spector told The Canadian Press.
"It was a stunning accomplishment as a game design. And it was wrapped in a context that completely for me undid all the good they did on the design side."
Spector went on: "It's like I want to tell my mother: 'This is what games can be.' But I can't because they don't get past the beating people up with a baseball bat, stealing cars and crashing them, and the foul language and stuff, and I don't think it is necessary.
"I sure wish they would apply the same level of design genius to something we really could show enriches the culture instead of debases it."
Spector argued that while sticking with successful formulas can result in healthy profits, "Stagnation is not the friend of any medium - and anybody who thinks it is is going to go out of business."
He also discussed the difficulties for independent developers facing inflated production costs, and the importance of developing games for a more diverse audience.
Spector announced the formation of his own studio, Junction Point, back in March of this year. At the time the studio was said to be working on a fantasy title, but no further details have been released since.