When it comes to sandbox-style gaming, it would be both easy (and fair) to argue that Maxis is responsible for one of the earliest examples of the genre. Their SimCity franchise (and later, The Sims) has been giving players the tools to experiment and experience in whatever ways they see fit for nearly three decades.
Just because they were once kings, though, doesn’t mean they’re currently wearing the sandbox crown. That belongs to Mojang, creators of the biggest little indie game you know: Minecraft.
In a very “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” twist, it looks as though Maxis wants to beat Mojang at their own game.
First discovered by Polygon, a recent job listing for a Senior Designer at their Redwood studio is seeking a candidate familiar with “games in the creativity space, including Little Big Planet, Minecraft and its popular mods, Roblox, Disney Infinity, Project Spark, and other upcoming efforts.”
The candidate also needs to understand “deeply social multiplayer games such as MMOs,” have 5+ years experience working in AAA, and be able to “weave Free-to-Play game mechanics with monetization in simple, natural, respectful ways.”
Working closely with the Game Director, Executive Producer, Artists, Engineers and Producers, the Senior Designer will define and flesh out the game’s core systems, including mechanics, player goals and drivers, creativity editors, gameplay progression, extensive multiplayer gameplay mechanics, in-game economies, technology trees, HD, PC, and mobile and tablet companion application integration, and essentially all other systems in the game.
This being a job posting, there are no hard details to go on — but if you read between the lines, it sounds like this might just be a AAA effort in the free-to-play space. While these have been really hit or miss over the years, it seems like a perfect garden for Maxis to play in.
Could you imagine if The Sims was free, only monetized with in-app purchases? That’s practically the case now with the series’ endless tiny expansions. Now take that philosophy and use it on a socially-focused crafting game.
Congratulations Maxis. You’ve officially piqued my curiosity.