Will Wright MasterClass Review: Worth it?

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Do you have a serious gaming addiction and spend every waking minute meticulously planning a city’s layout in SimCity, or do you create fun characters, orchestrate their lives, and make up their virtual families in The Sims?

The captivating world of simulation games has always been my weak spot, and I often find myself lost in the digital universe. Lately, I have been wondering how these gaming worlds are created. What is the secret behind such an immersive and lifelike experience? 

My need to get answers led me to Will Wright’s MasterClass. If you are a gaming nerd like me, Will Wright would require no introduction. But if you are not, he is the brain behind simulation games like SimCity and TheSims. He is in no way a household name, but for simulation game fans like me, he is a legend. His games revolutionized how we play games and captivated millions of gamers’ hearts.

For those curious to learn about the inner workings of these alluring digital worlds, Will Wright’s MasterClass teaches game design and theory, is a unique opportunity. But is it just a random crash course on coding or something more profound? 

In this review, I will answer that question, summarize the lessons, and discuss what I liked about this class (and more). So, (without much adieu), let’s get started.

Will Wright MasterClass Review: Worth it? Quick Summary:

If you are short on time, here is a quick summary you’ll know.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Explore advanced gaming techniques
  • Build a game world and genre writing 
  • Paint, design, and create your game (art)
  • Understand player psychology 
  • Use behavioral science to read others

Time Duration 

This class is 4 hours and 16 minutes long.


  • Chance to learn from Will Wright
  • Well-structured course content 
  • Actionable advice that you can use
  • Exceptional cinematic quality 
  • Fun, engaging, and easy-to-follow


  • Lack of information on coding
  • Some sections are slow


Will Wright’s MasterClass is a delight to watch and gives a keen understanding of how simulation games work. If you enjoy playing simulation games (like SimCity) and want to know how they work, this class is perfect for you. Any budding game designer will also learn much from this course. Will’s advice is valuable and practical and can help you sketch an outline for your game. 

Will Wright MasterClass Review

If you’ve ever played a simulation game, I am sure you understand that fascination and obsession can be all-consuming. You spend so much time planning the cityscape and guiding virtual families through their problems in the game (sometimes forgetting your real-world issues in the process). The world of Sims is a unique blend of strategy and creativity and will keep you hooked for hours at end. But for some of us (the curious minds), these questions arise: How are these games created? What goes into crafting these engaging simulations?

The answer to these questions comes in the name of Will Wright. He is a legend in the world. of simulation games and is recognized for his innovation and creativity. He’s a visionary who single-handedly redefined the genre of simulation gaming with his inventive work. His game SimCity makes you think like a city planner, and The Sims lets you play God over virtual families you’ve created. These games are iconic, but that’s not all he has accomplished. Wright has also developed games like SimEarth and Spore, giving him fame and glory. He has been inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards, and has even earned a fellowship from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (he is the only game designer to be awarded this).

But if you think that is all Wright has done, you are mistaken. His impact goes beyond awards and accolades. He is appreciated worldwide for his unrivaled approach to game design. Wright prioritizes player agency and open-ended gameplay with an ability to experiment. His games do not follow the principle of winning and losing but are more about fostering creativity and imagination.

Wright’s vision and understanding of human behavior make him the perfect person to host a MasterClass of game design and theory. His class lets you learn from the ingenious mind that created some of the most beloved simulation games. It is not just about technical mumbo jumbo but also about the possibility of gaining insights into the creative process of such a celebrated game designer.

Who should get Will Wright MasterClass?

Will Wright’s MasterClass on game design and theory would be ideal for a few different audiences:

  • Aspiring game designers: This is obviously the most perfect fit. Wright is a critically acclaimed game designer, and his class will offer you a wealth of knowledge of the core principles of game design and help you outline your creative process.
  • People interested in learning more about games (in general): Even if you don’t have an aptitude for game designing yourself, Wright’s class will help you understand how simulation games are built and what makes them work.
  • Fans of Will Wright’s work: If you spend most of your time playing SimCity, The Sims, or Spore, this is your chance to learn from the mind behind these iconic games.

But if you are still confused about whether this MasterClass is perfect for you or not, here’s a breakdown of skills you will learn:

  • Understand player psychology: This class will explain what motivates players and how to create engaging experiences.
  • Generating and pitching game ideas: You will learn about Wright’s approach to brainstorming and convincing others of your vision.
  • Prototyping and playtesting: You will discover how to create playable prototypes to test your ideas and iterate on your designs.
  • Building a game development community: You will learn how to connect with other developers and get feedback on your work.

Overall, if you are interested in games and want to learn from a master, Will Wright’s MasterClass is a fantastic course.

What does Will Wright MasterClass cover?

Will Wright’s MasterClass is 4 hours and 16 minutes long and is divided into 21 bite-sized video lessons. This class is an ideal length to cover such a massive content structure. The videos are easy to watch, and Will Wright is charming and fun. The lessons engage with his anecdotes, making them even more appealing. 

The class comes with a 64-page guidebook summarizing all the chapters, and you get a Game Design Document to outline your designs. It also provides guidelines on how to flesh out your game characters to make your game stand out. You also get a list of additional reference resources containing case studies that you can go through.

MasterClass provides a dynamic community that connects you with people with similar interests. This platform empowers you to highlight your achievements and participate in discussions about your educational progress with fellow enthusiasts.

The lesson plan is as follows:

  1. The Fundamentals of Game Design
  2. Generating Game Concepts
  3. Early Prototyping
  4. The Relationship Between Story and Games
  5. Exploring Player Psychology
  6. Design Player-Centered Experiences
  7. Develop a Game Language
  8. Designing a Visual Aesthetic
  9. Game Mechanics
  10. Game Demo: Morey
  11. Iteration and Scoping
  12. Prototyping Case Study: Proxi
  13. Playtesting
  14. Designing a Sound Aesthetic
  15. Pitching Ideas
  16. Game Demo: Flooded Market
  17. Choosing and Understanding Your Platform
  18. System Design
  19. Leadership and Collaboration
  20. The Future of Game Design
  21. Final Thoughts

Summarizing the Lessons from Will Wright MasterClass

Will Wright is not your average instructor; he does not waste time giving elaborate introductions and immediately starts explaining his core principles of the multidisciplinary game design process. 

Wright then teaches the importance of research before starting to work on your game. He suggests taking inspiration from the natural and social worlds around you. He explains this by dissecting the research process he followed when creating Spore.

He discusses why rapid prototyping is a central component of any game design process. He urges you to explore various types of prototyping and learn how to “find the fun” in the early stages of the design process.

In the following few chapters, Wright discusses player psychology and understanding the relationship between a game and a story. He explains how games can produce emotions that other media (he gives movies as an example) cannot. When watching a movie, you can empathize with the character. With a simulation game, you can be the character and use tools to express yourself. This experience also lets you create your own stories and teaches responsibility to players. Will believes game development is as much about programming a player’s brain as programming the game itself. He says that when you are designing a game, there are two computers you must be careful of: the one you are using and the other is the player’s brain. He teaches his strategies for creating immersive games that take player psychology into account. Will also believes that failure is the key to helping the players learn. He suggests making failure feel less like a loss and more like a fun experience to create an enjoyable gaming experience.

Will then talk about the technical aspects of game designing. He teaches how to develop and use your “game language” to explain the rules of your game world to the players. This part includes things like visual and sound aesthetics and game mechanics. The visual aesthetic will help you define your game language. He shares his surefire tips for discovering your unique aesthetic when collaborating with art directors and illustrators. Game mechanics help run the interaction within the gaming system. Wright discusses how you can isolate the mechanisms from other games and use them to enhance your player experience.

Wright calls an amateur game designer to demonstrate what he has taught so far. He shares his insights with her, reviews her latest prototype, and gives her pointers on where to make changes and what works well. This was a unique experience, and in this lesson, you learned what not to do when designing a game.

Will then reveals and breaks down prototypes of his new game, “Proxi.” In this case study, he explains the significance of playtesting and using feedback from the players to provide them with a well-rounded gaming experience. 

When it comes to pitching ideas, one size does not fit all. Will shares tips for structuring your initial pitch and modifying your message to connect with diverse audiences. He explains this point by bringing a game demo. He invites a designer to the last stage of his game design process and gives him feedback on what he can do to improve player engagement.

Wright discusses the correlation between choosing a platform for your game and the players. He teaches you what to consider when selecting a gaming platform (things like independence, monetization, and hardware).

Understanding the foundation of system design will help you create a game with fun interactions. Will shares his strategies for designing an interactive system for your players. While planning, it is also important to note that the lead designer sets the tone for the whole team. Creating a collaborative environment is necessary to ensure smooth production.

In the final two chapters, Will muses about the future of gaming and gives tips on staying relevant in such a competitive industry. The key is to stay open-minded and learn to progress with the advancing technology. He ends his class by encouraging you to use your new toolset, outlook, and approach to create something innovative and surprising.

Key Points from Will Wright MasterClass:

Will Wright’s MasterClass on game design and theory was a wealth of new information for a game enthusiast (read nerd)  like me. It was not just about learning cool tricks that would help create a game right away but also about talking in person with a friend and sharing secrets about creating a digital space that resonates with all players. All the lessons were fantastic, but there are a few things that I will never forget. 

Learning about player psychology was an eye-opener for me. I always thought of a game as being about winning and losing and giving players tasks to keep them engaged. Wright made me realize my mistake. He focuses on understanding players’ desires and motivations to provide them with a result that will feel relatable to them. That is why certain mechanics in simulation feel so satisfying that you never want to stop playing. His advice felt like a missing piece of the puzzle, and after knowing this, I am confident I can build a game that can connect on a deeper level with the gamers.

Wright taught me the significance of early prototyping. He emphasized the need to get something playable in front of you and others early on. It made me realize that game design is not just about ideas or coding. Designing a game is a constant and gradual process, where you have to allow yourself to make mistakes and see what works and what does not. And I know it sounds a little tedious, but it is not about the destination but the journey to get there. Your experience and failures will allow you to transform your idea into a full-fledged game.

Lastly, the highlight for me throughout this class was Will Wright himself. His passion for game design is truly inspiring. He was genuinely very excited to share his tricks and techniques with the audience (without gatekeeping). His love for game design will make you want to rack your brain and develop new ideas. His personality is charming and empathetic, and his class reminded me why I love game design so much and what I can do to learn and grow more as a game lover.

All in all, Will Wright’s MasterClass was as informative as inspiring. It felt like I was conversing with my kindred soul. Finding someone who truly understands the magic behind crafting a compelling gaming experience is rare. This course is a Godsend for any game enthusiast like me.

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What did I Like about Will Wright’s MasterClass?

As a simulation game enthusiast, I absolutely enjoyed Will Wright’s MasterClass on game design and theory. Here is the list of things I liked the most:

Learning from the Master of Simulation Games: Will Wright invented the genre of simulation games with SimCity and The Sims. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for anyone who loves playing and creating simulation games. 

Peeking Behind the Curtain: I have always been curious about the design decisions that go into developing simulation games. This class gave me a glimpse into Will Wright’s thought process. It also helped me understand the various aspects of the game-designing process and how you can change your idea into a living and breathing game (literally).

Understanding the Player Psyche: One of the things I love most about simulation games is how they appreciate my desire to control things while also experimenting. This course helped me understand the psychology behind my behavior. Learning how Wright keeps players engaged in his games for hours on end was fascinating. Now I know better why I need to build new (virtual) cities and create the perfect Sims family.

MasterClass Magic: MasterClass is known for its top-notch production quality. The lessons were clearly explained, and the visuals were engaging. Wright’s new game’s unveiling was a pleasant (and welcomed) surprise, and his feedback on the games at varying stages of the development process was insightful. 

Overall, this MasterClass was an ultimate deep dive into the world of simulation game design. It allowed me to learn from the best and understand the core mechanics that make these games so addictive.


This is the end of the road for my review of Will Wright’s MasterClass on game design and theory. This class feels like stepping out of a digital paradise I helped create (even though I didn’t lift a finger except to take notes). As a simulation game enthusiast, I found this not just a random course but an immersive experience. Sure, countless free tutorials are available across the web, but Wright’s MasterClass offered something far more valuable – a window into the mind of a legend.

The production value was impressive. MasterClass consistently delivers high-quality lessons, and this one was no exception. Polished visuals, clear explanations, and even glimpses behind the curtain of SimCity and The Sims development had me glued to the screen. But the true magic came from Wright himself.

His passion for game design is palpable, and his approach to crafting player-centric experiences resonated deeply with me. I enjoyed learning about his thought process behind core mechanics in simulation games in every other lesson. Thanks to his clear explanation, the intricate systems that govern virtual cities and digital lives started making more sense to me.

However, it wasn’t just about mechanics. Wright delved into the fascinating world of player psychology,  teaching me how to tap into that inherent desire for control and experimentation that fuels our love for simulation games. 

Now, is this MasterClass worth it?

The answer is a resounding YES for aspiring game designers, especially those who love simulation. This course is more than just a collection of lessons; it is a mentorship from the legend of simulation games himself. The insights into player psychology and the unique design philosophies are something you will not find anywhere else. These reasons alone are worth their weight in gold. This MasterClass is not just about learning the nuts and bolts of game design – it is about learning to think like Will Wright, a true visionary in the world of simulation gaming. So, if you are serious about taking your game design skills to the next level, especially in the simulation genre, don’t hesitate. This MasterClass is an investment in your creative future and one you will not regret (I guarantee).

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