Speaking at the Game Horizon conference in the UK via a video stream, Wright said he regards a great number of designers highly, including many up-and-comers. However, the Sims creator reserved special praise for three luminaries from his generation: Shigeru Miyamoto, Peter Molyneux, and Sid Meier.
Nintendo veteran Miyamoto was "obviously" Wright's first choice.
"He always takes the player first," Wright said. "Right off the bat he works with the controller, what does it feel like, how tactile and kinesthetic is what he's working on. He works from the inside out: 'what is the first five second player experience?' So his games have this craftsmanship behind them that's amazing and unique."
The feeling is mutual; a few years back, Miyamoto said he was particularly impressed by Wright as "a very unique person and someone very special." Aw.
"I think Peter Molyneux takes a lot of risks," Wright continued, moving on to the former Lionhead and Bullfrog head, who now has his hands full with 22 cans. "He's got this vicarious thing about dealing with little worlds full of little people which very much matches my sensibilities in a way."
Of Civilization creator Meier, Wright enthused, "I've always enjoyed his games. His games are just playable, they're just like a comfortable chair you sit in. I grew up playing board games, and Sid did as well. Sid in some ways is recapitulating our youth, the kind of games we would play back then."
When asked WRUP, Wright gave nods to Civilization Revolution as well as Advance Wars on the DS, both from series he name-checked in a personal top 5 some years ago. However, there's one game he's presently playing and enjoying that isn't so predictable.
"My current guilty pleasure is World of Tanks," he admitted.
The veteran designer described Wargaming.net's online sensation as like a "first-person shooter for old people," since it emphasizes strategy over reflexes; "When I play [other] first-person shooters I just get my butt kicked by these 14-year-old kids."
We hear you, Will, we hear you.