Warren Spector has revealed that he's heading a new game development tract at the University of Texas, but with almost 400 development degrees offered nationwide, Spector believes his program will stand apart thanks to its inclusion of development leadership studies.
"As someone who's hired lots of people out of game development programs, what are those students not getting?" Spector said to GamesIndustry. "What are they lacking, and what can we do that's different?"
In the interview, Spector related that most of the industry's producers and game directors have to rely on a series of lucky breaks, from their first paying job all the way through to their first leadership position. The developer behind Deus Ex and Epic Mickey continued:
With very few exceptions, [game development programs] all seem to be doing the same thing, which is teaching people the nuts and bolts of making games. I looked at that and said "What could we do that's different?" From the perspective of someone coming in with thirty years of experience making games, what does the industry need from academia that it's not getting?
Nobody's teaching the skills and knowledge necessary to become the future producers and game directors of video games of tomorrow.
I was able to say "That's our focus. That's what we're gonna do." I got the support of the administration at the University of Texas, I got the support of our development council. The academics saw the value, every time I talk to students they get the value, and when I talk to our development council, which is made up of industry professionals, they get the value. Nobody's teaching leadership, and so we're gonna do that.
While Warren Spector's most recent titles have been less than overwhelming, no one can deny the long-lasting impact of games like the original Deus Ex, which other development teams still hope to capture.
Spector hopes to cross "industry and academia" in his program in an effort to give students the skills to launch their own studios or land positions with established publishers and developers. For more on the new game development tract at the University of Texas, read the full interview.