It has been an age and a day waiting for Spore to finally be released, and delay after delay has frustrated fans of would be game before it even hit the shelves. But finally, the games creator and designer, Will Wright, announced Tuesday that Spore will be hitting those same shelves September 7, worldwide!
Many of us don’t play games a whole lot. It might be one game, or the console, just because we need to relax. But this is one of those games that most of us will be buying regardless.
Will Wright, if you don’t know, is the man behind SimCity and The Sims, games which you will no doubt have heard of simply as a result of their sheer popularity. The former became popular amongst geeks who liked to build stuff and subsequently blow it up, hit it with a tornado or suffer an attack from aliens. The latter was popular amongst almost everyone else, with the ability to create families of people, see them live and naturally, make them die or whatever took your fancy.
Spore is going to be something along the same lines as these though, but with an MMO feel. Wikipedia describes the game as “a multi-platform god game ... that allows a player to control the evolution of a species from its beginnings as a multicellular organism, through development as a sapient and social land-walking creature, to levels of interstellar exploration as a spacefaring culture.”
And only a day after he made the announcement, Will Wright has provided us all with a bonanza of screenshots from the upcoming game, and a run down over on Wire about just what the game is about.
As the Wikipedia entry describes, it is a god game that allows user control of evolution from beginning to end. However Wright doesn’t want to exclude anyone, so you don’t have to start at the “cell” stage – chowing down on anything smaller than you so you can grow, not be eaten, and eventually crawl out of the ocean yourself. "We want the easy player to turn it on 'easy,' and enjoy just the creativity. It's more like they're making these toys and want to play with these toys in a fun way," said Wright.
Next is the “creature” stage, where you’ll be able to create your own land-based animal. As time goes on, you can add more legs, arms, a giant beak, whatever takes your fancy and helps build the creature that you think will survive.
What’s great about this stage of the game is that you’ll be able to get your hands on the creature creator even before the game hits those shelves. And, when Spore makes itself available, your little creature will be able to jump straight from the program in to the game.
With your creature evolving in to sapient being, the next mode of the game is the “tribe” mode. This is essentially a Real Time Strategy style of game play, but won’t be scary to new gamers with Wright describing it as “…more of a humorous RTS than a hardcore RTS."
Wired – where Wrights quotes are pulled from – points to a banner in the Maxis office (Maxis are developing the game) detailing their mission statement; "Every player should be able to make it all the way to the space-exploration level."
With an RTS style tribe mode, you will naturally need to gain supreme dominance over those around you (or a healthy diplomatic relationship, whatever takes your fancy). Economic trade will help you ensure your own survival, in a game where you can create civilizations based around military, religious or economic laws.
I mentioned earlier the MMO style to this game. Unlike World of Warcraft where it is entirely you playing around on a surface filled with other players, Spore is different. Spore gives you a different planet to start from each time, one that is your own to nurture, or if you want to follow a more human path, destroy.
But there might be subtle differences each time you start a new planet, because of the Pollination System that Electronic Arts (parent company of Maxis) and Maxis have developed. So to ensure that the casual gamer doesn’t have to deal with other players controlling the environment around them, they are always left alone. But sometimes, just to keep it new and fun, the fauna, animals, etc, will be repopulated from other players creations in to your own world.
This links to Sporepedia, a way to share your creations with all the other users. You get to search through everything anybody has ever made, and put it in to your own world. Better still, you can make a Sporecast, a list of all these things for other people to download if they share your fancy for, say, purple trees and pink apples.
Once you’ve finished with your own planet you will be able to gain space travel, reaching in to the last stage of the game, the “space” stage. You’ll be able to fly around, and complete the ultimate goal of Spore: reaching the center of the universe. What’s there no one knows but Wright (and probably a few developers, but that’s just not worth writing), but he wants us to have fun. "We want people to complete it, but we also want it to feel meaningful once they have."
There are now several depictions of what the game play is like, and totally worth checking out here and here. But all in all, Spore – one of the most popularly awaited games of all time – seems like it will actually live up to expectation. Who could ask for more?
Posted by Josh Hill.
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