I recently enjoyed the opportunity
to sit and have a short discussion with creator, Will Wright, 41-year-old
cofounder of California-based Maxis
Software. Wright has been involved in the making of great titles
such as; SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, SimCity2000, SimCopter and The
Sims. After the past success of Sims' games, many people have asked
what Will Wright might venture to next. It appears the newest product
of Maxis and Will Wright will be geared towards the massively played
online genre. Stratics wishes to help welcome "Mr. Sims"
and Maxis' intriguing and intellectual creations to our online gaming
Danciy Dynae: During the recent interactive
gaming conference at the University of Southern California, the
meshing of developers and customers was a forefront discussion.
I guess what I would like to know is, who is going to get paid?
[er, your opinion] Also, what do you think will or must happen
to help bridge the gap? I am thinking of instances of ebay sells,
"mod" creations and tools, and /or the many astonishing
ways gamers are making real money.
Will Wright: I don't think anyone has a
good answer to this. At this point it's the wild west out there
(much like Napster). Many companies are trying many things and
eventually something will emerge from this chaos that becomes
the "established" norm. How's that for evasion?
Danciy Dynae: Unfortunately we are not
all "Sims." Admitting so -- what decision do you regret,
most, having to make during your successful years of game developing?
And, if you could go back and change this instance would you do
Will Wright: I honestly can say that I
don't have any regrets. There are many things that I found stressful
during my career (having to fire an employee for the first time,
bootstrapping Maxis with most of my cash, going public), but had
any of these events changed then it's likely that I wouldn't be
where I am right now. I happen to like where I am at this point
DD:The online community is quickly becoming
an entity of its own, and people are now realizing its value of
"realness." How do you foresee government, or the masses,
controlling the rules and regulations online? For instance, do
you think in-game "crimes" will have any type of "real-life"
WW: Different areas of the online world
adhere to different rules. It's much like the various nations
across the planet. The big difference is that it's much easier
to move to a different "country" (and hence rule set)
online. I think people will vote with their feet (or in this case,
mouse) and gravitate to the worlds/areas where they feel the rules
are comfortable and just.
DD: Why the focus and detail to women? No easy or appropriate
way to ask this. What instigated you to create a world that was
so appealing to both females and males? Was this your intentions
from the beginning and where did the feminine aspects /ideas appear
from? And, if you are privy, which of your titles has sold the
most copies to females?
WW: SimCity has still sold more copies
to females (because it has sold more total copies in the 10 years
since it was first released) than The Sims. The Sims, however,
is selling to a much higher percentage of females. About 40% of
The Sims team in fact was female (including my 2 co-designers,
Claire Curtain and Roxy Wolosenko).
DD: I understand your gaming ideas formed
while you were working on a game creating islands for an attack
helicopter; as a result, you discovered you enjoyed creating the
islands more than driving the helicopters. Do you have any special
interest in philosophy, psychology or sociology? If so, who is
your most adored theorist, and why?
WW: Yes, a strong interest in all of the
above. My favorite theorists are: Edward O. Wilson, Stuart Kaufman,
Thomas Schnelling, Christopher Alexander, Douglas Dennet. I could
probably name 50 others, I like to read a lot.
DD:What is your favorite aspect of the
Sims? Do you enjoy building the homes, the socialization or the
arranging and scheduling of your life and chores?
WW: My favorite part is still the architectural
design. I love to build elaborate houses that I would enjoy living
DD: I find many adults who seem "clueless"
to what is happening in the interactive entertainment industry.
What do you feel must happen to educate the two?
WW: I don't really see it happening. I
think it's a generational thing. When the current crop of Gen
X'ers become the parents is when it will happen.
DD: You are making a Sims online. When
do you anticipate revealing more about the game, including more
WW: We don't know what the process for
selecting our public beta testers will be yet. We might know in
about 3 months. I think we might be showing this at E3. Before
then I'll get in loads of trouble if I give away any dates or