E3 Roundtable Video: Immersive Sim Shooters

By Lucy Wood,
Recorded live at E3 we have a roundtable discussion of immersive sim shooters featuring Warren Spector of Otherside Entertainment (System Shock, Deus Ex), Harvey Smith of Arkane Studios (Dishonored series) and Darryl Long of Ubisoft (Far Cry series). The video gives a fascinating insight into the birth and development of the genre, with Spector and Smith sharing their memories of working together for the first time on 1994's seminal title System Shock and discussing the game development philosophy they took into other projects such as Deus Ex.

The panel discusses the unique challenges and rewards of developing systems-driven games, including limitation of the player base as a consequence of making games that require more effort to play. As developers they want players to express themselves and find their own fun, yet players accustomed to linear games do not always realise how many options they have. While this type of game often shines on repeated playthroughs, where players who have mastered the mechanics and interfaces are more comfortable with experimentation, it is difficult to get people to play a game more than once. Therefore strategies such as resource economy may be employed to challenge players to become more creative and deviate from their normal play style. Also under discussion is the future of immersive sim shooters, with a key issue being how to make AI more responsive to players despite its inherent limitations.

System Shock

For anyone wanting to relive the birth of the sim shooter, System Shock Remastered Edition is expected to launch on Xbox One in December.
Lucy Wood
Written by Lucy Wood
Lucy wasted her youth in the pursuit of music, art and stories. Eventually she discovered that video games combine all three with shooting and exploding stuff and a gamer was born.