GDC Report: Will Wright's "The Future of Content" Lecture (15 Mar 2005)
Wright began explaining some of the things he learned in making The Sims 2. "Content and cost do not directly translate into value," he said. As more content is made, value does not go up at a similar rate. "Development efforts need to try to push the [content-value] curve down." At this point, he brought up a graph which mapped Katamari Damacy and Pikmin along the axes of quality and content; he explained that both games have a similarly high level of player value while differing markedly different levels of both quality (in the Wrightian sense of being possibility space) and content (as in quantity of assets). To this graph, he then added a third axis: player ownership. Suddenly the area that described fun was now a volume. Just a little bit of person ownership, Wright insisted, increases the value of the game in a way simply adding more content cannot.
Wright then showed the audience his Grand Theft Auto character, which the audience responded to with peals of laughter. "Cute underwear, Barbie watch… he really doesn't do much. He's kind of a slacker," Wright explained. But it's his character, he explained. "Ownership translates into much more meaningful character stories." And from this, "Player stories will always be more powerful than scripted stories."
At this point, he went back to his original title and changed it; now it read: "What I learned about content from The Sims… and why it's driven me to procedural methods."
Article URL: http://www.gamasutra.com/gdc2005/features/20050315/postcard-diamante.htm
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