Will Wright's games have moved from Sim City's large-scale macro-management, down to The Sims' micro-managed, domestic intimacy. But the developer's next venture, HiveMind, may reimagine gameplay even further. “We had our eras in console gaming and social gaming,” explains Wright, calling HiveMind's genre “personal gaming.” Implementing ideas from engineering and sci-fi, he wants to enable users to “become the game.” Does that make your friends the DLC?
“Rather than craft a game like FarmVille for players to learn and play,” says Wright in an interview with Games Beat (opens in new tab), “we learn about you and your routines and incorporate that into a form of gameplay.” He gives the example of visiting Burbank and chancing upon a group who gathered to show off their vintage cars, a passion of Wright's. Taking the chance out of meetings like this, he says, could make his life a lot more interesting: “How do we expose you to these events, these things? It could take into account what time of day it is, where you are, how much money is in your pocket. Imagine if you could open Google Maps and it shows you things that are interesting to you on the map.”
Above: The Sims Social bridged Wright's signature series with Facebook gaming. HiveMind aims to go beyond both
Wright says HiveMind, which will serve as a startup as well as a game, is about “how we make reality more interesting to you... How do we get you more engaged in reality rather than distract you from it?” He says he wants HiveMind to mine deep data about users to create a far more personal experience than existing augmented-reality titles or apps like FourSquare.
Of course, none of this explains exactly what form HiveMind will take, much less the gameplay experience – if such a term's even appropriate. “A lot of this personal gaming will happen on mobile devices,” says Wright. “The question here is how can we learn enough about the player to create games about his or her real life.” The game might contain elements of Facebook gaming as well as other platforms: Wright says his ambition is to build HiveMind, as a game and online presence, “in a very big way.” If ever a title required players to keep a lookout for future announcements, this is it.