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Will Wright

Developer Biography

Will Wright (born 1960) is a video game designer best known for his simulation games. Despite the tragic death of his father when he was young, he managed to motivate himself to make games. His first work, Raid on Bungeling Bay, published by Brøderbund for the Commodore 64, was a helicopter action game. He also worked on an unreleased game called Probots for the Commodore, which he would like to remake if he could find a copy of it (he lost all of them). Raid on Bungeling Bay gave him the idea for SimCity, when he was having more fun building the levels than flying around in them. This led him and Jeff Braun to found Maxis, one of the most successful development studios in the history of gaming.

At Maxis, a wide range of Sim games were created, and as a designer Wright was responsible for such games as SimEarth (1990), SimAnt (1991) and SimCopter (1996). Most of his games offer an environment as an open-ended toy box to the players, rather than forcing them to pursue linear goals.

He took the success even further with the release of The Sims in 2000, where players could manage everyday life and customize every aspect. With a sequel and many expansion packs and spin-offs, it became the most successful and profitable franchise in the history of gaming. Wright was much less involved in creating the sequel and the third game.

Following the cooperation with Electronic Arts since the release of The Sims in 2000, Maxis was eventually acquired and the franchise was given its own Sims division at the company. The next project where he was responsible for the vision and lead design was Spore, covering evolution from organisms to races that can colonize space. As with his all his games, players have complete freedom to create and customize the experience.

On 8th April 2009 it was announced that Wright has left Electronic Arts. He founded the entertainment think tank Stupid Fun Club and EA made an equity investment of 50% in the company, along with the right to develop game concepts that spring from Stupid Fun Club projects.

Will Wright has been given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2002 and was inducted in the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame. In 2007 he was also the first game designer to be awarded fellowship by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Contributed by Zack Green (1186) on Dec 22, 2002. [revised by : Atomskyu690 (15), Sciere (677110) and Unicorn Lynx (181564)].