Warren Spector, the veteran game designer known for games like System Shock and Deus Ex, is returning to game development: He has joined Boston-area studio OtherSide Entertainment as studio director.
Spector had been working in academia for nearly three years, having co-founded the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy at the University of Texas at Austin in May 2013. He had served as the program's director since November 2013.
"I've loved working with students as Director of the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy in the University of Texas' Moody College of Communication," Spector said in a statement to GamesIndustry International. "But when the opportunity to have a bigger role in bringing Underworld Ascendant to life, as well as playing in the System Shock universe once again, helping to bring these games to a 21st century audience, I just couldn't say no. Working on System Shock was one of the most fulfilling things I've done in my career and it's hard to describe how much I'm looking forward to sharing with players what SHODAN has been up to since the last game was released."
Spector's most recent work in the game industry was on the Epic Mickey franchise at Junction Point Studios, which he co-founded in 2004 and which parent company Disney Interactive shut down in January 2013. Spector was the director of both 2010's Epic Mickey and 2012's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. Prior to starting Junction Point, Spector led the Austin, Texas, branch of the studio Ion Storm from September 1997 to November 2004, working on the Deus Ex and Thief franchises.
Spector has been working with OtherSide Entertainment as a creative adviser since the studio's creation in 2014. Joining the company as its full-time studio director means Spector is reuniting with Paul Neurath, OtherSide's founder. Spector and Neurath worked together at Origin Systems and Looking Glass Studios in the 1980s and 1990s on franchises such as Ultima Underworld and games like Thief: The Dark Project.
OtherSide Entertainment is currently developing Underworld Ascendant, a spiritual successor to the Ultima Underworld series. And in December, the studio announced that it has begun working on System Shock 3.
Reached for comment, an OtherSide representative provided the following statement to Polygon regarding Spector's hiring: "Everyone at OtherSide is enormously pleased to welcome Warren on-board and are really looking forward to working with him… in many cases again. We've been fortunate to have signed on game industry luminaries as Warren, studio art director Nate (BioShock Infinite, Last of Us) Wells, lead designer Tim (System Shock, Thief: The Dark Project) Stellmach, and more. Getting a chance to work with developers like these and talents like voice actress Terri Brosius (the voice of SHODAN) and Robb Waters (the concept artist responsible SHODAN) is phenomenal. We can't wait to show you more of their work on Underworld Ascendant and System Shock 3."
Update: An OtherSide spokesperson sent over this statement from Paul Neurath: "It's wonderful to be able to work again with Warren. He was a key part of the original Underworld and System Shock games. We're thrilled to have Warren part of taking these forward to a new generation of gamers."
Update 2: Spector commented on his return to full-time game development in a post on Facebook, indicating that he was building a new studio in Texas.
"Word's out - I'm joining Paul Neurath's Otherside Entertainment to make System Shock 3," Spector said. "I'm going to work part-time on my own until the end of the school year but come June I'll be building a studio in Austin. Start updating those resumes, System Shock fans!"