Spec Ops: The Line devs hoped to defy expectation

Lead designer says third-person shooter meant to shock gaming audience; multiplayer modes reportedly an unfortunate imposition from 2K Games.

Spec Ops: The Line was meant to ambush players with their own expectations, according to several Yager Studios developers who spoke to Polygon about the shooter's path from concept to critically contentious game.

"Seeing gamers go into the experience hoping to have a fun, shooty bro-romp through a Middle Eastern environment...and then slowly finding themselves falling down the rabbit hole into a darker, more contemplative, more surreal, and character-driven experience has been amazing for me," lead designer Cory Davis told the publication.

Spec Ops: The Line's setting and cover-based shooter mechanics were reportedly chosen at least in part to juxtapose player expectations for mindless violence with the game's much darker approach. Davis told Polygon the game's emotionally and morally straining scenarios were unusual for the medium, but that publisher 2K Games was largely committed to the team's artistic vision.

Unfortunately, that vision reportedly did not include multiplayer, though the final game did.

"[Multiplayer] was literally a checkbox that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened," Davis said. "No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package--it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."

Spec Ops: The Line was announced in 2009 for a 2011 release, but suffered multiple delays until shipping in June 2012. Take-Two, which owns 2K, reported less-than-expected sales for the game in its July earnings report.

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"Spec Ops: The Line devs hoped to defy expectation" was posted by Connor Sheridan on Tue, 28 Aug 2012 17:49:21 -0700
Filed under: Video Games


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