March 17, 2005

Wil Wright's Next Game

Wil Wright is the creator of The Sims, possibly the most lucrative franchise of games to date. So everybody is clamoring to know what he'll do next. THe title: "SPORE". Not exactly the most intriguing title, but here's the concept: "...nothing less than a game about the past and the future, the evolution of life, the development of intergalactic civilization." (Screenshots of "SPORE")

Basically, you start of as a micro organism, fighting for dominance in the primordial soup of evolution. Then you grow a spine and battle for survival with other phyla. Then you manage a tribe of nomadic huinter/gatherers, a village, a city, a country, and eventually a planet and a galaxy. Wil has experience with each level of complexity, having created SimAnt, SimEarth, SimTower, and dozens of others. The hook is that it's not linear, and your species and civilization are not preset. Whatever traits that your species has becomes dominant, and your evolution is fairly open. A cool concept, but it remains to be seen that the gameplay is as addicting as The Sims. (Likewise, Ascendancy was a huge hit, but Logic Factory's follow-up, The Tone Rebellion dropped off the radar faster than David Caruso leaving NYPD Blue because you just couldn't control it.)

But after hearing the plot, I can't help being reminded of a character in Orson Scott Card's book "Lost Boys, who creates a similar game under the unfortunate title "Hacker Snack". I'm not saying he stole it, just hearkened me back to this. Let's face it, Wil Wright doesn't have to steal any ideas, he probably gets 200 or so a day.

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