Maxis began with Will Wright, a brilliant designer that wanted to bring an unorthodox concept to the world of gaming -- city planning. On paper it sounded dreary. Plan out where your commerce, residential, and industrial areas were going to be built, lay down some pipes, and sleep away a few hours in dulltown. Instead, Wright shocked the world by giving gamers a realistic, entertaining, and educational look at just how fun, frustrating and cool it could be to plan out a city from scratch.
A myriad of sequels were made, covering everything from evolution and ants to building the perfect island, but nothing captured the hearts of gamers as brilliantly as The Sims, a "people simulator" that had users controlling a complicated set of AI people in a suburban environment.
Will Wright and his company continue to pursue the world of real life simulation, and AI.