Sims creator Will Wright has announced that he's working on a game for Facebook, smart phones and tablets, based on Bruce Sterling's short story Maneki Neko.
Wright left publisher EA in 2009, one year after the release of his evolution-based action strategy title Spore hit PC. Since then, Wright has been at the Stupid Fun Club, a creative collective named after a Berkeley-based robotics club which Wright used to participate in.
Work at the Stupid Fun Club has included a user-generated TV show and a planned range of toys but it's unlikely to be directly involved in game development. However, Wright's announcements do give a clue to the direction of his future activities.
"He [Sterling] describes a karmic computer that's keeping a balance of payments between different people, and causing them to interact with each other in interesting ways to improve their lives even though they're strangers," Wright said of his new title in an interview with Eurogamer.
"They earn karmic points that are redeemed by having somebody else help them."
The platform targets for the game are likely to be representative of the studio's future plans, which Wright says are a response to a changing market environment.
"The rate of change is increasing almost exponentially right now, which means I don't think it makes sense to go through even a three or four year development cycle any more. Unless you can get something to market within a year, at least an initial version within a year, you're hosed.
"So that's the new model for development, which has totally changed my thinking. Almost any project I want to work on is going to be something I can at least get some version out there in about a year and then iterate from there."
Wright is also working on a number of other titles, "one or two" of which are aimed at console. However, new platforms remain Wright's main focus.
"Most of our work is going to be everything else: PC, tablet, Facebook and mobile."