An interview with Will Wright

Gamespot has published an interview with Will Wright. It is chock-full of good insights, as is to be expected from someone who summed up 70 years of science in one hour at this year’s GDC. Among the many gems:

GS: What do read into the people choosing to be bad? How do the two–good and bad– relate?

WW: I think by exploring the bad side you’re really just mapping the envelope of the system…you’re getting a sense of how far off you can go. The good side is more of your creative palette. For example: Now I’m going to sit down and I’m going to do my favorite family, or I’m going to tell a story, or I’m going to re-create my favorite sitcom or whatever. I think that side feels like it’s a bit broader creatively. Everybody has a different definition of the good side. So that’s probably a more expansive landscape that people will explore. And that’s where people get more imaginative, in a sense, and it also reflects more on their personality. The bad side just a kind of exploration.

GS: Is game design a naturally subversive activity–or is it just you? Or is that a bit too psychoanalytic…

WW: Well, when you say subversive, it’s just another form of a player taking control. I think for most people, their kind of general aesthetic with games is that the more I control this experience, the better the game is. And I don’t mean control in terms of I can always win by pressing a button, but control in terms of I can choose to go off into an interesting path, and the game will support that path.

This animal we’re calling subversion is really just empowering the players to not hit walls as often. A lot of these bugs we could prevent just by reining in the scope of the game design You know, it’s the fact that that territory, that that landscape is so large that we cannot possibly test it that gives rise to these things. At a fundamental level it’s kind of convergent with what I would call “good game aesthetics.”