Amongst the casualties of the recently-confirmed Maxis layoffs
is Chris Hecker, a six-year veteran of the Spore
developer and prominent member of the game development community.
In the immediate future, Hecker will be devoting more time to SpyParty
, a multiplayer espionage-themed game "dealing with the subtlety of human behavior, character, personality, and social mores, instead of the usual spy game explosions and car chases" that he is currently prototyping himself.
Hecker is known as a significant contributor to Maxis' Spore
, having been involved with many of the game's procedural techniques that allow its vast breadth of player customization. He continued to expand those features after the game's launch.
He has also been an active advocate for independent game development, helping found the Indie Game Jam in 2002. That event has spawned numerous similar events worldwide. Hecker continues to serve on the Game Developers Conference Advisory Board.
"I think it's an incredible time for indie games, with 'AAA indie games' like Braid, Castle Crashers, World of Goo
, and many others lighting the way towards complete creative control and artistic independence for small, innovative, and highly polished games," said Hecker in a series of remarks
on his personal blog.
He added: "It's exciting and scary and it's a very long road, but it seems like it might be the way for me!" The now-indie developer noted he is also planning "some wacky ideas about how the player community can contribute to the game's development as well."