When Shigeru Miyamoto and Will Wright speak, the gaming world listens. Richard "Lord British" Garriot doesn't have the same level of fame he did in the '90's, but he did found the modern MMORPG genre, so his projects tend to draw attention as well. All three of these gaming luminaries showed up in gaming news this week, so let's find out what they're up to.
Sorry, But Your Retirement Is in Another Castle
After a recent interview with Zelda and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Wired Magazine reported that Miyamoto would soon be stepping down from his position as head of Nintendo's Entertainment Analysis and Development department in order to concentrate on mentorship and smaller projects. Nintendo's stock dropped two percent overnight, and the next day the company was quick to announce that Mr. Miyamoto was not actually changing positions. As Miyamoto speaks very little English and uses an interpreter, Wired's announcement may have been a misunderstanding. Either way, the Big N. wants to be very clear that its star developer isn't going anywhere, but was simply expressing the fact that he's been spending time working with up-and-coming Nintendo staff.
Personally, I think one of Miyamoto's biggest assets is the childlike joy and wonder with which he approaches game design. I'm not sure if that can be bottled like an errant fairy and given to his successors, but if it can, Nintendo has nothing to worry about for the future.
Will Wright Becomes Harriet the Spy
We haven't heard much from Sims creator Will Wright since the release of Spore, his last brainchild that launched significantly short of the ambitious concept he'd had for it. Having left EA, Wright has founded a new startup called HiveMind, which intends to create a game of the same name. Instead of creating the usual type of simulation game he's known for, Wright wants to create a game that uses information about player's real lives to entertain them. He hopes for his game to learn about its players and then direct them towards fun experiences based on their personal data, interests, and perhaps even their dreams.
Obviously, HiveMind is still in an early conceptual stage, so we have yet to see any actual "game" component to these ideas. I'm highly suspicious of this data-collection element of social gaming, since harvesting personal information tends to be directly tied to marketing, not actual entertainment. Still, it should be interesting to see what Wright comes up with, even if it involves staying far away and peering at the game through my binoculars while yelling for the Facebook generation to get off my lawn.
Lord British Likes Garage Sales
Poor Lord British just can't catch a break since leaving behind his beloved Ultima series. Well, not "poor" Lord British, per se. He has been to space and back on his own dime, after all. He just hasn't been able to recapture the magic that he once possessed: the magic that created one of the most-beloved RPG series in history and pioneered the MMORPG genre with Ultima Online.
Having spent several years failing to launch further MMORPGs, Mr. British, otherwise known as Richard Garriot, has decided to move on to the realm of social gaming. His company Portalarium has announced its latest project, a Facebook game called Ultimate Collector: Garage Sale. That's right, instead of going outside and handling other people's dirty castoff items, you can pretend to do so from the safety of your sterile people-pod—I mean, home. The sad part is that Garriot has been running his mouth off lately about how social gaming is the future. If the future of gaming involves descending from the heights of the Avatar and his Virtues to a virtual re-enactment of Hoarders, I'll stay in the past, thanks.
South Park Becomes an RPG
This one just tickles my fancy. South Park creators Parker and Stone have enlisted Obsidian Entertainment, the development studio behind Fallout: New Vegas and Dungeon Siege III, to develop a South Park RPG. The two men will be writing and voice acting the game, while Obsidian is concentrating on developing systems that will bring the world of South Park to life.
Earlier South Park games have been licensed cash-ins, but this one shows promise with the full participation of Parker and Stone, who are both gamers (as evidenced by the famous "Make Love, Not Warcraft" South Park episode). It will be in the cartoon's trademark 2D cardboard cutout style, and the player will portray a new kid who moves to South Park and wants to make friends. It's always nice to see a humorous yet high-quality RPG, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*