Wow…oh wow…wow…wow. Out of words. Need to snap out of it. It’s a sad day in the Sims/Spore world. A press release (this isn’t a joke, I’m afraid) was just issued that Will Wright is leaving EA/Maxis to work full-time with his ‘Stupid Fun Club’.
Not only that, but EA has made an equal investment in the club in which EA will own the IP’s for video games. Lucy Bradshaw is now the head of Maxis. I suppose I should wish her a congratulations…but I’m still shook up over the news 🙁
Will has also written a note at the Sporums in which I’ll also add to this post:
There’s a little press release going out today as we speak (well actually I’m not speaking, I’m typing… (and I guess you’re not even listening, you’re reading (unless you’re having your new Kindle read this to you in which case you are listening) but you’re definitely not reading this “as” the press release is going out, and I’m certainly typing this hours before the fact….) anyway. (I suck at writing)
The gist of the story is that I’m leaving EA (well, not really, I’ll explain) to start (well, not quite start, it’s actually been around for quite a while in a rather different form) … let’s say dive into a new venture, The Stupid Fun Club. The Stupid Fun was actually started many years ago by myself and my friend Mike Winter, we met while 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.
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. But at The Stupid Club we’ll be working on new games (along with EA) as well as other kinds of projects with different partners.
I can’t talk about specific projects coming out of SFC just yet (alas, the robots won’t let me), but as things develop I’ll find a way to keep those of you who are interested informed about what we’re doing (but not with a blog…I’ll never have a blog). A major aspect of the projects I’ve worked on has always been the player community, that won’t change.
The Press Release:
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – (Business Wire) Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that EA is making an equity investment in Stupid Fun Club, Will Wright’s new adventure. Stupid Fun Club is an entertainment think tank developing new Intellectual Properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the internet, and toys. Will Wright is leaving EA to run Stupid Fun Club.
EA and Will each own equal percentages of Stupid Fun Club and are the principal shareholders. In addition, EA has the right to develop game concepts that spring from Stupid Fun Club projects. Will Wright is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
“The entertainment industry is moving rapidly into an era of revolutionary change,” said Will Wright. “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.”
“We believe in Will’s vision for Stupid Fun Club and we’re looking forward to partnering with Will and his team long into the future,” said John Riccitiello, EA’s Chief Executive Officer. “Will is a great designer and he’s been part of a great legacy of globally recognized game franchises like The Sims, SimCity and Spore. The teams that have been leading those franchises in recent years have a lot of exciting content coming.”
“Will has been an inspiration to our teams, and it’s been rewarding for us to bring his ideas to life,” said Lucy Bradshaw, VP and General Manager at Maxis. “In addition to legendary games, Will’s legacy at EA will be the many talented people who worked with him and will now continue to contribute their own vision to the art of game development.”
Will Wright created Maxis with Jeff Braun in 1989, which was acquired by EA in 1997. Will is the visionary designer of blockbuster game concepts like Spore™, The Sims™ and SimCity™. Lucy Bradshaw, VP and General Manager at Maxis™, will continue to run Maxis and the Spore franchise. Lucy’s team is working on the upcoming expansion pack, Spore Galactic Adventures, as well as other game concepts including Spore Hero, Spore Hero Arena and Spore Creature Keeper. Rod Humble is head of the EA™ Play Label and his team will launch The Sims 3 in June of this year.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA™, EA SPORTS™, EA SPORTS Freestyle™ and POGO™. In fiscal 2008, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.67 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA’s homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.
Electronic Arts, EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Freestyle, POGO, The Sims, SimCity, Spore and Maxis are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.