Will Wright answers GameSpot user questions

The creator of Sim City and The Sims took some time at a BAFTA event to answer questions posed by GameSpot UK users.

A couple of weeks ago GameSpot UK asked forum users if they had any questions for Will Wright, who was in London to receive his BAFTA fellowship award--the highest accolade the organisation can bestow upon an individual, given previously to prestigious names such as Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stanley Kubrick.

Thanks to everyone who sent a question or questions in, and read on to see which ones were selected by BAFTA, along with candid answers from the man himself.

PAJ89: Where will the development power lie in the future? With Japan and the traditional industry powerhouses (Square-Enix, Capcom, etc.)? With America and their huge companies like EA and Activision? With Europe, with companies such as Lionhead and Ubisoft? Or is there somewhere completely different that will take the world by storm?

Will Wright: I think what we think of as professional games that you buy in a software store, there is very much a consolidation trend in the industry. But I think the real power in the future is going to be much more in the hands of consumers. Because when I see people doing [indiscernible] things like the Sims or Second Life or Spore or even on the Web in general, the most amazing things I see are things that the players have created or done in game. So I would like to think a lot of people are pursuing that as a trend in game development. So I think handing over more authorial control to the player to me will put the players in a much more of a driver role in terms of where games go in the future.

It would be nice if the players were--in fact I know a lot of players that are--actually actively earning money from these games. You've probably heard of gold farmers in China that are actually playing online games to earn cash. I heard a lot of stories about people who put up Web sites for the Sims that ended up getting so much traffic, they were getting an ISP bill that they had to explain to their spouse. They got a monthly bill for $2,000 for their fan site, their hobby. So they had to get a subscription, and they were charging $5.00 a month. And they were getting thousands of subscribers. And some of these people were turning a quarter of a million dollars a year in profit on their fan site. But I think that's very cool because they were obviously creating that much value, more value than that, for the players they were serving.

TsarVan: How difficult has it been to blend Spore's very different styles of play into a compelling, continuous experience?

WW: That's probably been the single most challenging thing about Spore, actually. I mean, we had a lot major technical challenges about doing animation and all these user tools and all that, but the single greatest challenge was making it feel like a very cohesive experience because we wanted to have a very consistent UI control scheme and goal structure for each level. But yet we were dealing with different genres in essence, you know, Pac Man, first-person shooter, RTS, you know, and MMO, these very different genres. And that's probably taken the most of my work and a lot of iteration.

You get one level just right and all of a sudden it doesn't seam up with the next level. So it's like you pound down this nail and that nail pops up. You pound down that one, this one pops up. You keep doing it and over time on the average the nails are going down, but it doesn't always feel like it.

Gbrading: In what new directions do you think the games industry can move in the future?

WW: The most exciting direction for me for the games industry is learning more about the player. And I mean, the computer observing what the player does and learning to respond to that. Because games are getting inherently more and more malleable where the game itself can customise itself to each player, especially if you're drawing from user content. Possibly even from data on the Web. I can see a lot of games actually basing their data set on general stuff on the Web that they can pull down as needed based upon what the player's interested in, what they do.

But I think that's one of the primary differences between interactive media and linear media is the fact that in interactive media every player is going to have a different experience. And I think the breadth of that experience, what it can be, is tremendously higher than what it currently is. And I'd like to imagine you and I start playing the same game and a month later they're radically different games and the game has evolved to fit us. In some sense it becomes a very real reflection of your psyche. And I think that's the most exciting direction for games for me.

Gbrading: What do you think the game industry will look like in a decade's time?

WW: A decade's time... I would like to think that we're starting to see really interesting, strange hybrid forms of gaming that are coming outside of the box. We're starting to see a lot of experience where people are bringing gaming in reality and playing games on location with their cell phones and stuff like that. I think blended experience across media, we'll see much more. Hopefully games will be interesting enough where it's something I can't foresee right now. If I could tell you what gaming is going to be like in 10 years, it wouldn't be that interesting. But the fact that I can't even see three years out, that's about my horizon, my planning horizon.

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Discussion

42 comments
Zoomer30
Zoomer30

What gaming is gonna be like in 10 years.....hmmm People will still be waiting for Spore :lol: :lol: :lol: But we may have DNF to play by then.

greater_bird
greater_bird

LOL - the game becomes a reflection of your psyche... be really hard to judge things based on reviews if that happens, huh?

bodylotion
bodylotion

The people that actually buy for WoW credits/players or even for The Sims clothes etc. seem pretty pathetic to me lol.

osleyee
osleyee

slapme7times will wright did a good compared because he blexke explain that gold farmers are bad for the video game industry and that fansites are helping the industry think about its gold farmers are breaking the player experience and fansites are promoting the product.

slapme7times
slapme7times

... he compared gold farmers to people who run sims fansites? must not like his fans.... or maybe he just made a really poor comparison... gold farmers destroyed world of warcraft...

-Squirrel-
-Squirrel-

He's just a really ... "neat" guy. I love Sim City, though not a big fan of The Sims, but still respect his vision of what gaming is and should be. I have been kinda jealous of the PC gamers because they were getting Spore, but now that it's coming to the Wii I will definitely pick it up. With how much Will seems to love Nintendo platforms, and his own vision that is Spore, I doubt he will allow a sub par console version of it. My only real question is, "Do I want the DS version as well?"

Bowser05
Bowser05

Depends on what you define as 'true' next-gen. Anyway, why'd you waste your money then? The Wii has wonderful games, problem is that many gamers are too focused on aesthetics rather than gameplay to realize how good the Wii really is. BTW I own 360, Wii, PSP, good PC and DS, so I am in no way bias...and I'm getting a PS3 before the end of the year for sure. I just feel like people tend to forget that being a gamer doesn't mean taking sides, since all sides have good games.

rykh
rykh

Still doest answer why he is a sony and microsoft hater. Maybe his porogrammers are to lazy to program for true next gen platforms. I own a wii, and refuse to buy the game since is unprofessional bashing. I can bash because I admit im not in a position that requires me to be humble about what I want to buy. He on the other hand has single handily turned me away from a game I was excited about.

Axe_336
Axe_336

I really like Will Wright. Some developers would be trying to grab a piece of that fansite's pie, but Will thinks its awesome. I guess that's the thing about guy's who make toolbox games that let you do what you want, they like seeing what you do.

Rahnyc4
Rahnyc4

I want to see some high class graphics for the wii version of spore. If Nintendo can churn out good presentable graphics on the wii, why cant third parties? I mean why do third parties even cry about there games not selling on a Nintendo console, when there putting out either half azz ports or original properties, that looks lame before it comes out. I'm expecting spore to mimic Mario galaxy graphical quality or pass it. galaxy has set a standard, and were expecting more from third parties.

Anysteam
Anysteam

Dude, you are a genius! Will the Wii version of Spore interact or share a sort of connectivity to the DS/PC version of Spore.

CowbellFanatic
CowbellFanatic

Usually these user asked questions are moronic. These were good ones, but it would have been nice to hear something about Spore or other projects. I do love listening to Wright talk about gaming as a whole though.

GlitchRocks
GlitchRocks

Finally good news about Spore and from Wii Wright. I can't wait for the game to ocme out.

darkzerogamer
darkzerogamer

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Daviejones
Daviejones

If you would actually read up a bit, you'd see that nothing is certain yet, but Spore for the PC will hopefully be released somewhere around Q2 2008.

beez1717
beez1717

when will spore come out on the mac?

Gaiusjulius394
Gaiusjulius394

haha nice reply Kaldoran:D Classic... But seriously, Will Wright really knows his stuff. Great Q&A !

Kaldoran
Kaldoran

Right after Duke Nukem Forever. ;-)

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Great........ and spore is being released?.....

Reetesh
Reetesh

Never played sims, but will definitely consider spending LOTs of hours in Spore. and this Q&A Idea was cool!

mrshorty16
mrshorty16

Man, I get such a gameboner for Will Wright.

dorohala
dorohala

When are they going to release game man!!!

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

can't wait to see him in the simpsons game!

123monkey
123monkey

I want spore now!! Come one will release it already! a demo will do!

huriona
huriona

I didn't care for the selected questions except for TsarVan's. Too much speculation about the future :P

Armadous
Armadous

heh Joeyfine, I very much second that.

joeyfine
joeyfine

cool. now release the game!

StarFoxA
StarFoxA

Congratulations to everybody that got their questions answered. :)

PAJ89
PAJ89

Thanks for selecting my question, GameSpot UK, and thanks for answering it, Will Wright :) When thinking of that question, the thought of the user didn't even cross my mind, so it was very interesting reading what he had to say.

gbrading
gbrading moderator

Woah, two of my questions answered! I feel extremely honoured. Very interesting to hear the responses from Will, many thanks. I sincerely hope that Spore will be great, and that Wright will go on to make more games in the future. :)

godofwar0666
godofwar0666

this game look's SO AMAZING I can't wait!!!!!!!

godofwar0666
godofwar0666

It's true this game look's like the best game coming, but i can't deside if it will be better for the 360 or the PC

isblackhawk07
isblackhawk07

This game is going to be amazing! I hope the system reqs arent too bad.

ZJohnnyZ
ZJohnnyZ

The more I wait the better the game looks! 3rd!!!

Etaanaru
Etaanaru

Wake me up when Spore is out, please.

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

Cant wait for spore! Gonna be great!

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]