Eurogamer: What did you learn from Spore?
Will Wright: Since the emphasis was on creativity, to put a little less emphasis on the progression through the game.
Spore had these very definite gates. You're in cell stage, and now you go to... So basically it was five different games connected together. I would have chosen one or two of those games and made it a seamless experience, delivered very well on that. Probably the evolution part of the game.
Then, if it warranted, design another game and connect it to that end of the game, and so build it incrementally and release it incrementally, rather than spend so many years building the entire experience from top to bottom and releasing it all as one.
This gets into the idea that the new model is to release a game very soon and learn from the players where they want to expand from there.
Eurogamer: If EA decided to make Spore 2 and asked you to be involved, would you say yes?
Will Wright: No. I have too many projects. Way too many projects. I have a consulting agreement with EA. Occasionally they'll pull me in and ask me to look at things. I'm fine with that level. But I'm juggling way too many projects right now.
Eurogamer: You created the most popular PC game series of all time. How does that make you feel?
Will Wright: Well, that's the press story. In fact the original Sims team was 25 people. I was one of those 25 people.
"The Sims for me was such an uphill battle. At every step of the way everyone was saying it sucked and it was a bad idea."
Eurogamer: It was your idea, though.
Will Wright: Yeah. At the same time it was the players that took the game and did amazing, cool things and built these communities and websites. The players had a lot to do with it as well.
But I do feel proud. I feel proud mainly because The Sims for me was such an uphill battle. At every step of the way everyone was saying it sucked and it was a bad idea. Even within Maxis a lot of the other people tried to cancel it. It's a long story, but it was an uphill battle the whole way.
So I feel proud mostly with the fact that I persevered through that to get it out the door.
Eurogamer: Were there too many The Sims expansion packs? Are there too many The Sims games?
Will Wright: We finished the very first version of The Sims, then it was suggested, 'Why don't we do an expansion pack for the game?'
I was like, 'Let's not bother with that. That's wasted effort. Let's do The Sims 2. Actually, I want to go off and do Spore.'
'No, let's just try it. Let's try an expansion pack...'
I was actually one of the people saying I didn't think expansion packs were a great idea. Boy, did I turn out to be wrong. The players loved it. It was good for the development team. They were able to get these things out without spending half their life working on them. We were able to explore what players liked and didn't like very cheaply.
"I was actually one of the people saying I didn't think expansion packs were a great idea. Boy, did I turn out to be wrong."
So when The Sims 2 came out we had a really good sense of which expansion packs they liked, which ones they didn't. So it turned out the expansion packs were a great idea.
Eurogamer: Now you've left EA, what do you think they've done with your baby?
Will Wright: I don't even keep track of it. Half of the expansion packs they showed on the montage I never played. Not once.
It's funny. I'm like that. I make a lot of art at home, paintings and sculpture. I'm the same way with my artwork. When I'm working on it I'm obsessed with it every minute of the day. As soon as it's done it's like, hang it on the wall or throw it away. I don't care. If somebody comes in and says they like it, I just give it to them.
I'm always involved in what I'm working on. But once I've finished it... It's interesting to learn from and observe what the community does with it. But I don't feel any deep attachment that I have to be driving it from that point on. I want to go off and do the new thing.
Eurogamer: So you don't care what EA does with The Sims?
Will Wright: It would be kinda nice if they didn't totally screw it up. I'm not controlling in terms of, call me before you do that! Oh, I can't believe you did that! Because they've done The Sims things I didn't think were the greatest ideas in the world, but it didn't really upset me. It's more like, OK.