Will Wright, celebrated creator of games properties such as The Sims
, has left Electronic Arts.
Wright will be devoting his time to a project that was previously a side project for the famed developer - Stupid Fun Club. This is not, it should be noted, a new development studio. Not quite, anyway. It's described on its still rather bare website as "an entertainment development studio".
"The ideas here can be manifested in video games, online environments, storytelling media and fine home care products", the site continues.
Despite his departure, Wright has not strayed too far from EA. The publisher has made an equity investment in Stupid Fun Club and, along with Wright, is a principal shareholder - they each have equal percentages of the company's shares. Whether any other entities have shares in the company was not made clear by the announcement. The deal will mean EA has first dibs on any game concepts that emerge from Stupid Fun Club.
Asked whether the relationship leaves it possible for Wright to work for other games companies, Maxis's VP and General Manager, Lucy Bradshaw (who will retain her position) was unclear on the exact details, but said, ?Essentially it is a partnership with Stupid Fun Club that would dissolve if he was not the primary owner there?, she said elusively. That does not really answer the question of whether Wright could freelance outside of Stupid Fun Club, seemingly indicating that EA's relationship is with Wright's company, not him personally.
Wright's corporo-quote further emphasized his remaining ties to EA, however. ?The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change?, he said. ?Stupid Fun Club will explore new possibilities that are emerging from this sublime chaos and create new forms of entertainment on a variety of platforms. In my twelve years at EA, I?ve had the pleasure to work alongside some of the brightest and most talented game developers in the industry and I look forward to working with them again in the near future.?
In a note on the Sporum (the forum for Spore
) Wright further explained the genesis of Stupid Fun Club, which has existed in some form for a number of years. It started with him and his friend, Mike Winter, who he met competing in Robot Wars and Battlebots. "It was apparent to us that one day the robots would take over the world and we decided we wanted to be on the winning side, so our initial charter was to do whatever we could to usher in our new mechanical overlords", he wrote.
"Along the way we ending up building and prototyping a lot of... odd stuff. People would come by our shop and get interested in this stuff for various reasons. Some of this stuff sparked new creative ideas, even (*gasp*) ideas that may have "commercial, entertainment value" (this is how you talk when you've been around lawyers and MBA's too long).
"At some point we started showing some of this stuff to the people at EA. They got excited by the prospect of us pursuing these projects commercially (or that's what they said anyway, I think they just want to be on the winning side of the coming robotic revolution as well). So we started talking to them (EA, not the robots, though we do talk to them as well, but the robot responses are cryptic at best) about getting involved and investing in The Stupid Fun Club (we asked the robots first but they're all broke).
"So as things worked out I decided to jump into my work at the club more or less full time."
Wright noted that he can't say anything about upcoming Stupid Fun Club projects yet, but that, "A major aspect of the projects I've worked on has always been the player community, that won't change."Sources:
Stupid Fun Club