William Ralph Wright, commonly known as Will Wright, is making a video game inspired by the short story Maneki Neko, written by science fiction author Bruce Sterling. Wright hopes to have the game up and running in a year, likely on tablets, smartphones, and social networks. He's also work on one or two games which are intended for home consoles, but most of his company's work is going to focus on the PC, tablet, mobile, and Facebook.
"He describes a karmic computer that's keeping a balance of payments between different people, and causing them to interact with each other in interesting ways to improve their lives even though they're strangers," Wright told Eurogamer at E3 in Los Angeles. "They earn karmic points that are redeemed by having somebody else help them. The rate of change is increasing almost exponentially right now, which means I don't think it makes sense to go through even a three or four year development cycle any more. Unless you can get something to market within a year, at least an initial version within a year, you're hosed. So that's the new model for development, which has totally changed my thinking. Almost any project I want to work on is going to be something I can at least get some version out there in about a year and then iterate from there."
Wright has always focused on the PC, so it's a little sad to see him broaden his scope to tablets, smartphones, and social networks. That being said, we're happy that he's not dropping everything consoles, like many game developers tend to do.
Wright was born January 20, 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a well-known American video game designer who co-founded (with Jeff Braun) the game development company Maxis, now part of Electronic Arts. The first computer game Wright designed was Raid on Bungeling Bay in 1984, but he's famous for the SimCity franchise. The first game was released by Maxis, and he built upon the game's theme of computer simulation with numerous other titles including SimEarth and SimAnt.
Wright's greatest success to date came as the original designer for The Sims games series which, as of 2009, was the best-selling PC game in history. The game spawned multiple sequels and expansions and Wright earned many awards for his work. His latest game, Spore, was released in September 2008 and features gameplay based upon the model of evolution. In April 2009, Wright left EA to run Stupid Fun Club, an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders. It won't be long now before we see what he has come up with, and whether he can surpass his own success.