Will Wright, the luminary game designer and founder of Maxis sounded off on his opinions of the 2013 reboot of SimCity. Although he designed the original SimCity back in 1989, he left Maxis in 2009 to form his own company Stupid Fun Club. Since then, Maxis developed the latest in the SimCity franchise which was disastrously released this year. A disaster thanks to it’s requirement of an always-on internet connection and a slew of server side issues which prevented the game from being playable.
In a recent interview Will Wright said, “I feel bad for the team. I could have predicted – I kind of did predict there’d be a big backlash about the DRM stuff. It’s a good game; I enjoy playing it a lot.” He continues, “That was basically inexcusable, that you charge somebody $60 for a game and they can’t play it. I can understand the outrage. If I was a consumer buying the game and that happened to me, I’d feel the same.”
The 53 year old game designer also agrees with gamers about the concerns of DRM and games requiring an always-on connection. He said, “I think people care if it doesn’t work,” he said. “If you can’t play it on planes, stuff like that… I think there are some very valid concerns about it. Also there’s a perception; I don’t expect to play World of Warcraft on the airplane, because my perception is it has to be on the ‘Net. Sim City was in this very uncomfortable space, like the uncanny valley, almost; [it was caught] between was it a single player game or was it a multiplayer game?”
He also doesn’t agree with the general hatred of EA as a whole as he explains, “It was kind of like, ‘EA is the evil empire, there was a lot of ‘Let’s bash EA over it.'” he added, “It’s hard to talk about EA as this monolithic thing with one agenda. If you move back it’s like all these different studios going in slightly different directions; it’s almost more like a loose federation. It is going through a lot of restructuring right now, but I don’t even have the time to tune into it.”
As whole, Wright is happy about the growth of the indie game market, celebrating the amount of new titles coming out. “I remember ten years ago at every E3 you’d walk around asking your friends ‘What’s new?…’ ‘nothing,nothing,nothing,'” Wright noted. “Now, every week somebody tells me about some weird little app that came out. Not big budget, but they’re interesting and fun out of the box. It’s a much more level playing field, I think. They are putting marketing dollars behind these things, but still it’s not five big publishers controlling ten titles a year.”
Wright also expresses that he feels the game industry is becoming increasingly important, especially to the younger generation. He feels that video games are as important to young people as movies, and probably more important than books.
This article includes resources gathered from our in-house investigative reporter, George Eleftheriou.