William R. Wright (born January 20, 1960) is computer game designer from the US, and is co-founder of the game development company Maxis. He was the original designer of the two groundbreaking computer games SimCity and The Sims. His most recent project is Spore, a simulation that allows the player to influence the development of a life form from a single-cellular stage, through multi-cellular life in the oceans and on land, to the development of sapience and tool-use, and eventually interplanetary and interstellar flight.
Will Wright was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1960, where he lived until the age of nine, when his father died. His mother moved the family to her hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After graduating from high school at 16, he enrolled in Louisiana State University, later transferring to Louisiana Tech and then the New School University. Starting with an architecture degree, followed by mechanical engineering, he became interested in computers and robotics. After five years of college, Wright did not attain a degree.
During a summer break from college, he met his future wife Joell Jones, an artist who was visiting Louisiana from California. In an interview published in February 2003, Will claims that games were absorbing so much of his time, he decided that perhaps making games was the way to go. Wright's first game was the helicopter action game Raid on Bungeling Bay (1984) for the Commodore 64. Wright found that he had more fun creating levels with his level editor for the game than he had while actually playing it. He created a new game that would later evolve into SimCity, but he had trouble finding a publisher. The structuralist dynamics of the game were in part inspired by the work of two architectural and urban theorists, Christopher Alexander and Jay Forrester.
He hopes to inspire others to take risks in game creation. In his spare time, Will Wright collects leftovers from the Soviet space program.
“I'm interested in the process and strategies for design. The architect Christopher Alexander, in his book Pattern Language formalized a lot of spatial relationships into a grammar for design. I'd really like to work toward a grammar for complex systems and present someone with tools for designing complex things.”
~ Will Wright, from an interview with Wired magazine, 1994.