Sims creator says his heroes are Miyamoto and Molyneux.
Veteran developer Will Wright has dropped the first hints at his next game, suggesting it will be based around the player’s own reality.
Wright was speaking during a question and answer session at the Game Horizon conference in Newcastle. He explained that his new company, Syntertainment, is exploring three areas he has always been interested in: creativity, community and “basing games in reality”, which he said is “a way to capture a wider audience”.
Syntertainment, Wright continued, is looking at “how we build a game around the player’s life – the places they know, the people they hang out with”. Rather than placing players in the role of an army general, or within a fantasy Dungeons & Dragons-style realm, he hopes to produce “games that intersect your reality, but give you a very different perspective on it… [It’s about] understanding the player very deeply and having a game that envelops and involves particular people”.
Wright has been developing games for decades, and is probably best known for creating The Sims and co-founding Maxis. However, he said that today the games industry is “more exciting than it’s ever been”, highlighting the “really weird, cool, experimental stuff” being produced by up-and-coming developers. “Some of the greatest designers out there are just getting their start right now,” he added.
When asked who his own developer heroes were Wright referred to Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, explaining, “What I admire most about him is he always puts the player first.” He also gave props to Peter Molyneux (“He takes a lot of risks”) and Civilization creator Sid Meier (“His games are just playable”).
Asked what he’s playing right now, Wright said his “current guilty pleasure” is World of Tanks. Referring to the game’s slow place, he described it as “a first-person shooter for old people”.
Wright also talked about how game designers have to deal with two platforms – the computer and the mind – and consider that games run on both of these at once: “How do we best exploit the human imagination in interesting ways?”
The issue, according to Wright, is that there is still much to learn about how the brain works. “I can look at the Spectrum and understand all the things it can and can’t do,” he said. “But the human mind, we have no manual for.”