Will Wright is one of the most important faces in the game industry. He was the man that designed SimCity, Spore and Sims (the game with the most copies sold in the history of computer gaming). This is why his departure from Electronic Arts, after 12 years of successful collaboration is a big blow to the company from Redwood City, CA. Some form of collaboration will still be continued though, as EA has taken an equity stake in The Stupid Fan Club, Will Wright’s new company.
Will Wright was the man that contributed to almost all EA innovative games. And it is safe to say that this aided EA a lot both in popularity and income. It is well known that EA is a company that develops sequels year after year. They make some changes (some might say that in a few of the games, almost no change at all is made) and they put the game on the market and make it a success. Some of these series include: the Madden Football, NFL, NBA, FIFA, Need For Speed and others. Will Wright was the man behind titles with great impact over the gaming industry at a conceptual level: SimCity and Sims were highly innovative games that brought lots of income both in dollars and popularity.
Another game that was designed by Wright, Spore, was perhaps the most innovative game in the past decade. But being in production for lots of years, and due to its great complexity, the production cost was huge. EA announced that in last September it sold about 2 million copies, making it a tough call whether Spore was a highly profitable game or not. It is very likely that the add-ons and sequels EA will launch (like they did with almost all other games) will turn Spore into a profitable series without a doubt.
It is questionable if this departure is good for the gaming community. Some can say that the restrictions a big company such as EA may inflict on a game are not quality centered and that this departure will free Wright’s genius. But on the other hand, big companies come with a lot of advantages: great programmers, financial stability, human resources and so on. We can at least hope that Wrights departure will be a good thing.
Wright stated in a press release that he now is trying to explore “new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms.” At least it sounds promising enough…