Warren Spector on Fallout 4: It's "An Inch Deep and Miles Wide"

Warren Spector on Fallout 4: It's "An Inch Deep and Miles Wide"

"I'm probably gonna get myself in trouble here[.]"

Warren Spector is known for the immersive sim. Games like System Shock and Deus Ex which later paved the way for games like BioShock and Dishonored. He was recently gracious enough to give quick reviews of modern immersive sim RPGs like the two mentioned as well as Fallout 4 and even The Legend of Zelda.

"I'm probably gonna get myself in trouble here, but in the Bethesda games their simulations are an inch deep and miles wide," Spector says in a new feature by PCGamesN. "Their whole thing is creating huge expansive worlds that you could explore fully and live in. My games and, I think I can speak for [game director [Joe Fielder and the Underworld Ascendant team as well, they're an inch wide and miles deep, if you see the distinction."

If we're picking up what Spector is putting down, he probably means that while games like Fallout 4 and Skyrim are expansive in size and content common in modern open-world RPGs, Immersive Sims are smaller in scale but feature meatier mechanics and game interactions that reverberate more strongly within the world. In the end, Spector says Bethesda games and Immersive sims are "definitely related, but...a little bit distantly related."

The full feature is worth checking out if only for Spector's micro-reviews. BioShock for example Spector considers more as a "kissing cousin" to System Shock rather than a spiritual successor and says director Ken Levine is more interested in telling his own story than letting the player tell a story like in Spector's games. Spector also "didn't play" Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. "I started and got distracted, but it wasn't a quality thing," Spector says.

He did play the first game, Human Revolution, and said while there were some moments of frustration Spector "really had a Deus Ex experience" and "That's pretty cool."

Bethesda is currently working on the online multiplayer Fallout 76. If Fallout 4 is a distant relative, then Fallout 76 could be considered a complete stranger. You can read our Fallout 76 beta impressions here, or check out our Fallout 76 guide.

Fallout 76 is coming out on November 14 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

An earlier version of the story incorrectly called Deux Ex: Human Revolution the sequel. It was the predecessor to Mankind Divided. The story has been corrected.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

Read this next

From Miami to Coos Bay, Modders are Building an Alternative America in Fallout

A look at the various mods that are remaking the United States in the series’ classic retro-futurism style.

Axe of the Blood God Presents: The 25 Best RPGs of All Time

From NetHack to The Witcher 3, we celebrate the greatest RPGs throughout gaming history.

Fallout 4 Returns to Xbox Game Pass After Disappearing Last Year

Just Cause 4, F1 2018, and Lego Batman 2 round out the month.

The Case for Fallout 4

We reexamine Fallout 4 in the wake of Fallout 76's release and find that it holds up better than you might think.

Behind the Creation and Evolution of Fallout's Iconic Pip-Boy

With insight from designers, what Fallout's iconic device tells us about its ever-changing post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The Top 25 RPGs of All Time #17: Deus Ex

Warren Spector's magnum opus set the bar in more ways than one.

More News

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

Return of the Obra Dinn's Creator Reminisces on Getting Its Iconic Style Just Right

"After working on non-graphical stuff for so long, I took a moment to reflect on what I had with the visuals. It wasn’t great."

More on PC

What's Your Favorite Video Game Monster?

COMMUNITY QUESTION | We love to be scared of 'em.

Humble Monthly Is Getting a Name Change and a Higher Price Point

Humble Monthly will soon be no more, with Humble Choice taking its place.

Final Fantasy 14's Nier: Automata Raid Gets a Release Date and a Ton of New Details

Final Fantasy 14 continues to consume all things Square Enix.

Blizzard's Very Bad October Just Keeps Getting Worse

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Blizzard's ban on Hearthstone player Blitzchung catches the ire of Republicans and Democrats alike.

Return of the Obra Dinn's Creator Reminisces on Getting Its Iconic Style Just Right

"After working on non-graphical stuff for so long, I took a moment to reflect on what I had with the visuals. It wasn’t great."

AOC, Rubio, and Other Legislators Pen Letter to Activision Blizzard CEO Over Hearthstone Player's Suspension

A bipartisan letter from U.S. lawmakers urges Blizzard to correct course.