Saying he's back "to shake things up," Warren Spector, the famed game designer, has reemerged from the shadows to reveal his latest endeavor. Although he claims it's "a little early" for full disclosure, Spector is talking up details of his new development shop, Junction Point Studios, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The former studio head of Deus Ex-developer Ion Storm told GameSpot today that the staff of Austin, Texas-based Junction Point Studios is already hard at work. The company has started preliminary development on a "fantasy" title created by Spector, who worked at Dungeons and Dragons creator TSR in the 1980s. Although Spector said the title was rapidly evolving, he did not give any indication about what specific subgenre the game would fall under or what platforms it would be released for.
However, a clue to Junction Point's current project may lie in Spector's past. One of his coworkers while working at TSR was one Allen Varney, who cowrote a module for the cult sci-fi role-playing game Paranoia with Spector. According to Varney's online resume, he also handled "principal design" on a game called "Junction Point" while at Looking Glass Studios (then Looking Glass Technologies) at the same time as Spector. Varney describes the game as "[a] massively multiplayer fantasy role-playing game, changed in midstream to a single-player science-fiction role-playing game," which was canceled in 1997.
Another connection to the old Junction Point game comes in the form of Art Min. A former project director at Ion Storm, Min also worked with Spector at Looking Glass while Junction Point was being developed. Now Min holds the position of executive vice president at Junction Point Studios, heading up a staff of 12 mostly ex-Ion Storm staffers.
When speaking to GameSpot, Spector was optimistic and seemed ready to tangle once again with the game industry. However, when pressed on details on Junction Point's debut, he preferred to stay mum, only suggesting that new ideas were percolating behind the scenes. He also refused to answer questions on the studio's business model, leaving the door open for a conventional collaboration with a publisher or a self-published MMORPG.
Spector is taking part in two GDC sessions this week. The first one, "Why Isn't the Game Industry Making Interactive Stories," is scheduled for Thursday at 2:30pm PST, while the second one, "Burning Down the House: Game Developers Rant" is slated for Friday, also at 2:30pm PST. GDC is currently under way at the Moscone Convention Center in central San Francisco.