Will Wright talks about a Spore MMO, the iPhone, and Cloning.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a long time idol and childhood hero Will Wright for a candid conversation. Armed with 20 questions provided by the Spore and Sims communities on Wikia, I set out to discover what the future holds for Spore, why he loves the iPhone and Rock Band, and, more importantly, should the inevitable demon-robot-communist-zombie apocalypse occur in his lifetime, where he would side.

With a great library of franchises including SimCity, The Sims (which happens to be the best selling PC franchise in history) and now Spore, Will Wright has become a dominant figure in gaming, and in the way we interact with and learn from technology. More importantly though, he is one cool cat; don’t take my word for it--read some highlights from the interview and click the link for the full interview below.

What types of social expansions do you have planned for Spore?

We have actually looked at taking Spore and the entire galaxy and making it an MMO…[b]ut we are also looking in the form of personal experiences, more peer-to-peer, face to face; a simple civil network with buddy lists players can subscribe to forecasts and stuff like. People love to share what they’ve made and it has more meaning if it is from somebody you know. So we are looking at some things where people can kind of in real time share their creatures and have them interact with each other in interesting and social ways.

We have a long list of things that we want to put in Spore that are either a) part of the original vision or b) things that we developed along the way for our own purposes, and now we have a shelf full of parts. When we look at what people are doing with spore, we can say “what can we pull off the shelf to give people new experiences in the directions they want to go.” So its partially informed by what the players are doing now with the game and where we see them hitting brick walls or barriers and partially informed by what we have, that we can realize very quickly, as well as things that we are experimenting with using the data we got.

Are there any games, besides Spore, that you thought were innovative in 2008?

I love Rock Band… I was also looking at some of the indy games like Braid, very nicely done, a fine jewel of a game. The scope of these games is what is important, they feel retro, because it’s not a huge gigantic feat with hours of game play, you can get into them in a couple of minutes. I have always liked the Wii stuff; it feels so out of the box. I have also been spending a lot of time playing games on my iPhone. The amount of power in the iPhone is more than what was in my first computer. X-Plane is a great game, and Cartoon physics is also a favorite and the iPhone is a very intriguing gaming platform and people are using the accelerometer in creative ways.

If you were caught up in the middle of a Zombie-Robot-Demon-Communist apocalypse, what would you do and what would be your method of choice for eliminating evil?

For eliminating evil, I probably would align myself with the robots right off the bat. Because I think they would be more, in some sense, predictable and I think the communists stand no chance against robots, so they are write offs. Demons, I don’t know I tend to think that if you don’t believe in their powers they become powerless. Zombies are a bit problematic just in the numbers game that they represent. But yet all you have to do is take their heads off and that is a fairly simple (and robots are very good at doing that). So I think the Robots really have more diverse possibilities of strategy then the other ones. The other ones are more singular with what they are doing and what their purposes are, you know the communists want people to become communists and Zombies want people to become Zombies. So I would definitely align myself with the robots right off the bat. Where it gets a little tricky in how do you usurp once the robots are winning how do you prevent them from totally taking you out with them?

Will you clone yourself for the insurance of future great games?

No. No, I think it is important that the generation eventually dies off and the next generation takes over. That is pretty much the lesson of Jurassic Park – if you bring dinosaurs back to life bad things will happen. They had their shot, they did what they did and they set the stage for us mammals, and in bringing them back, nothing good will happen.

Is your life not quite Wright? Find out what advice Will has for breaking into the industry, his thoughts on game design or what inspires him to create, check out the full interview here.

--Interview by Douglas Kennedy