Simulator of everything
The success story of Maxis studio began back in 1989 with the release of the first version of SimCity. The idea of the game of endless construction was born by the founder of the company, Will Wright, while working on one of the previous projects. It seemed to him to create levels much more interesting than the games themselves. So why not make a separate game out of this process? The audience appreciated the idea, and the boxes with SimCity were sold out more than successfully – to the delight of Broderbound, who had barely decided to publish such an extraordinary game.
The successful idea inspired Maxis so much that for almost ten years the company made exclusively variations on the same topic: SimEarth, SimCopter, SimAnt and so on. By 1997, the gold mine was completely exhausted, and Wright had to make a strong-willed decision – to sell his business Electronic Arts. But after that, things went uphill. Having received funding and securing EA’s consent, the game designer already famous by then was able to fulfill his long-held dream: to make a simulator of everyday life – The Sims.
The main idea of the Sims is to limit the player’s sphere of influence by building a house and buying things, while the inhabitants of this house act independently and live their own lives. It was this computer life that turned out to be so interesting to watch that The Sims and its endless sequels took first place in sales ratings for a record long time, and were pushed to second only with the release of World of Warcraft.
Already after completing work on The Sims, the authors of the game noticed that each person plays their creation in their own way: someone is most occupied with a house plan, someone likes to watch career growth and improvement of well-being, someone (however, quite it’s clear who) is trying to play the Sims like puppets, forcing the characters to take one action or another. By the way, it is the last opportunity that is fundamentally new and does not allow us to say that The Sims is another variation on the theme of SimCity.
An interesting idea was the creation of a multiplayer online game based on Sims and even an attempt to integrate with SimCity 4, but neither idea was a revelation. However, Will Wright is not too disappointing. He already had another idea – a “simulator of everything”, which would give each player the opportunity to do exactly what he most likes. At first, the grandiose plan was in great doubt, but after watching the first Spore presentations (this name replaced the original SimEverything), most of the grumblers began to applaud.
The game in Spore is divided into six parts, each of which has a unique gameplay. All of them are united by what the player creates himself – a form of life. She has to develop from one cell to a galactic civilization. The game will in order resemble Pac-Man, Diablo, Populus, SimCity and Civilization. However, none of the parts will become an obvious clone: on the one hand, each of these genres (perhaps, with the exception of Pac-man) will appear in a much simplified form, on the other – the editors of creatures, buildings and vehicles will not let you forget about the uniqueness games. And this is far from the only surprise that Will Wright and his team of 80 developers are preparing for us (in which, programmers are said to dominate).
The apotheosis of the whole game should be the last part, where the player, controlling the interplanetary spaceship, will be able to study other worlds (among which there are inhabited) and, if desired, to colonize them. Any of the first parts of Spore can be repeated and create another civilization.
The ideas of The Sims Online were not in vain, and if you have an Internet connection, you can get information about creatures created by other players from the server, adding to the game world. How exactly this will be issued is not very clear yet, but it is likely that civilizations can be chosen in much the same way as goods in an online store.
At the moment, work on Spore is nearing completion. Initially, however, the game was scheduled for release in the fall of 2006, but debugging seems to be delayed. Rumor has it that until next spring. In any case, even after the final release, developers will have something to do. It has already been decided to port Spore to a wide variety of platforms – from mobile to next-gen. And if the next batch of revolutionary ideas from Will Wright seems to the players as interesting as before, then it is quite possible to hope for a series of extensions.