"I hold up my own career as an example of the ability to do original work in someone else's sandbox." He observed that, apart from System Shock and Deus Ex, "every computer/videogame I've worked on has been a sequel or derivative. On every one of them, I had to negotiate to find my own creative space and on every one of them, I feel I succeeded."It's a pretty lengthy interview and a good read about the evolving state of the games industry. You can find where it begins here.
Spector said, "I firmly believe that, if developer and licensor (and publisher) get on the same page about what people expect - a dialogue that clearly has to be driven primarily by the licensor, I admit - you can still do creative work in someone else's universe."