Will Wright on Spore: We'd Rather Have the Metacritic and Sales of Sims 2 than Those of Half-Life

While the release of Spore this weekend has been widely celebrated, many hardcore gamers have been disappointed with what they perceive as a lack of complexity in Maxis' long-awaited title.

MTV caught up with Spore creator Will Wright, and asked him whether the game was designed primarily with the casual player in mind.

Said Wright in response:

I'd say that's quite accurate. We were very focused, if anything, on making a game for more casual players. Spore has more depth than, let's say, The Sims did. But we looked at the Metacritic scores for Sims 2, which was around 90, and something like Half-Life, which was 97, and we decided--quite a while back--that we would rather have the Metacritic and sales of Sims 2 than the Metacritic and sales of Half-Life.

..Part of this, in some sense was: can we teach a Sims player to play an RTS? ..I think the complexity we ended up with was toward that group.

Wright went on to explain that even though Maxis had the casual group in mind, he still enjoys finding complex ways of playing the game, providing the example of starting a war between two saved species in the Space stage--one Klingon, one Romulan--as a sign that the game's depth is partially determined by the player's creativity.
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    September 8, 2008 4:09 PM

    Hm, I'm not sure how I feel about that comment. There is (imo) nothing wrong with targeting the casual market. But if he had the same costs as Half-Life whether that be capital, time, and manpower, than aiming for a lower metacritic score is pretty stupid. You should always take what you have and make the most out of it, no matter what target market.

    To me, to say that he's aiming for a lower metacritic score than he could achieve is just an insult to the casual market.

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      September 8, 2008 4:13 PM

      i think he means he doesn't put that much stock in metacritic since they are scores for more hardcore gamers

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        September 8, 2008 4:22 PM

        Correct, I don't think he's intentionally aiming for a low metacritic score...

    • reply
      September 8, 2008 4:22 PM

      He's saying more sales > more quality. If he can get Sims 2 sales "but" have a metacritic score of only 90, that's fine by him.

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        September 8, 2008 4:46 PM

        but quality for who? Sales > hardcore quality. Gears of wars is high quality, but not to casuals

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      September 8, 2008 5:50 PM

      He's not "aiming" for a lower score, he's saying that the greater reach they could get with a game that isn't going to please the hardcore like Half-Life 2 did is worth the tradeoff.

      And why is that an insult to the casual market? Game reviewers aren't reviewing for the casual market. Game reviewers are the hardcore, so their criteria aren't the same as the criteria a casual player would use. There's no such thing as a genuinely objective score.

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