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Will Wright: "Sequels and clones are bad"


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From http://www.360-gamer.com/news.asp?id=1166

Full Interview (German): http://stern.de/computer-technik/computer/:Spieleentwickler-Ikone-Will-Wright-Geld/591930.html

Will Wright: 'Sequels and clones are bad' [News]

Uploaded By: Mark Podd | Published at 16:59 (GMT) on Friday, June 29, 2007

Sims father speaking out against sequels? Surely not?

Spore developer, Sims creator and all-round industry icon Will Wright has criticised the steady flow of clones and sequels in gaming and has warned that games developers must start innovating now if they’re to avoid trouble down the line.

Speaking in an interview with Stern.de, Wright, when asked of his feelings on the number of sequels and copycat games found in the games industry, said: “Yes, this is indeed a bad development. It seems that it’s preferable to play it safe rather than be creative. At the moment, this seems to work. But for how much longer? Besides, there are simply too many games on the market. As a result of this, many great games go straight under.”

Although Spore is currently still in development, Wright was still quizzed on whether there’d be a point to developing a sequel to such an open-ended game: “Well, I’m not sure about that yet. You could be right, though.” Going on to mention that the money a sequel would earn “isn’t so important” any more.

Wright also stated that he was no longer playing, or working on, The Sims: “I usually accompany my games for about five, six years. Further developments or sequels are then handled by our producers. I must then simply approach a new project.”

Spore, the life simulator Wright is currently working on, has thus far only been confirmed for the PC, although it has been the subject of frequent rumours linking it with next-gen console such as the PS3 and 360.

While I agree that many sequels and remakes turn out pretty crappy, there are a few great gems out there that really out-do their predecessors. We could use a bit more innovation in the industry than we currently have.

Its also kind of funny how ironic it is to have this statement coming from the man behind the dozen or so Sims expansion packs and the 4+ Sim City games...


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He seems more concerned about copycat games :) Sequels are needed to improve game concepts, however there is also the other sequel, just to make money.

He is right in the economical point of view IMO, that also happens in other industries when some idea is copied to death. It's like spaghetti westerns, they were economically successful at the beginning, then lot of people started to imitate plots and such, and all those movie companies went to bankruptcy.

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The translation isn't 100% accurate in one very crucial point:

“Well, I’m not sure about that yet. You could be right, though.” Going on to mention that the money a sequel would earn “isn’t so important” any more.

It should say "the money a sequel would earn isn't so important TO HIM anymore", at least if you go by Stern.de's written interview.

Why I think this is important is the fact that you have to clearly distinguish between Will Wright, the iconic Game Designer, who wants to keep on pushing the boundaries by developing innovative but also risky game models and EA as a publisher who spends a lot of money so he and other developers can do their thing.

I got no clue how much Will Wright earns, but I am sure he has done well the past years and isn't in the business just for the money anymore (who is anyway? :v ).

So after Will finishes the core product, EA makes sure that they get their money back in and more. If the game does well, they spit out new content until people don't buy it anymore and if you own a franchise like "The Sims" that seems to sell forever - why should they?

Of course I would also like to see more innovative and fresh games, but these kind of games simply appeal mostly to hardcore gamers and are risky business - still many publishers finance them, but the money to do that needs to come from somewhere...or if a game tanks - you need to compensate and that money usually comes from "Madden 2046", "Pocahontas the Game" and "The Sims - College Frat Parties".

Interesting article on similar subjects with Bing Gordon, EA CCO, on Gamasutra:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1 ... e_that.php

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It’s true though; the mainstream is really stagnant. Nobody seems prepared to make risks because publishers like cash-money, and the majority of the paying public doesn’t really seem to care they’re playing the same FPS again only pumped through a more spangly engine.

There are plenty of innovative games out there, though they're lost by the wayside for being cult or hardcore. But you can't expect them to come from production-line behemoths who know a roster update of a sports game will get a hundred times the profit.

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