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Friday, September 12, 2008

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Spore: Article Roundup, Prototypes
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The release of Spore, Will Wright's latest god sim creation, has spawned a host of new interviews, reviews, and other content related to the game. Shacknews, MTV Multiplayer, Joystiq and MSNBC recently offered interviews with Wright and others about the game. IGN joined the fray with an article on Spore's scientific roots. Finally, the official Spore website offered a list of usable prototypes to show how the game itself evolved into its current form.

From Shacknews:

Shack: So I've been playing the game a lot. And while I enjoy the Space stage very much, I wonder if some people will find the early stages too simplistic, while others will find the latter stage too difficult. Was there a concern when it comes to meeting the demands of both casual and traditional gamers?
Morgan Roarty: I think one of the interesting things in the development is that we actually added easy, medium and hard later in the process. We sort of tuned all the games--and we have a wide range of people on the team--we tuned all the games, got a lot of feedback. And then sort of went, we need to go back to the classic easy, medium, and hard.
And I think that's a place where we started to put people--not in buckets, but like--we think easy is more of that casual gamer, let's make sure it's easy. The medium player is that sort of upper-end casual, and then make hard hard.
From MTV Multiplayer:
When I talked to Wright, I had played deep into the Space Stage, which I was enjoying. But I had seen complaints from hardcore game reviewers and message board posters that all of the stages have less complex gameplay than many gamers had hoped. As wonderful as the content creation and sharing options are, the one consistent complaint I’ve seen is that the gameplay seems to have been “dumbed down” for the sake of appealing to a more casual audience. Was it?
“I’d say that’s quite accurate,” Wright told me. “We were very focused, if anything, on making a game for more casual players. “Spore” has more depth than, let’s say, “The Sims” did. But we looked at the Metacritic scores for “Sims 2?, which was around 90, and something like “Half-Life“, which was 97, and we decided — quite a while back — that we would rather have the Metacritic and sales of “Sims 2? than the Metacritic and sales of “Half-Life.”
From Joystiq:
Shaw's of the opinion that the varied review scores come as a result of several factors, not the least of which is its mish-mash of genres. "It's not really like a traditional game," she said. " Spore is just this magical creativity experiment." (She also hopes that it helps pave the way for more "magical creativity experiments.")
"If you try and play it like Grand Theft Auto and you use something like that as your template, Spore 's not going to fit it," Shaw told us, adding, "I hope people will review it for what it is, which is this collection of interesting things to play with."
Shaw admits that she "didn't really start enjoying the game until other people's stuff started showing up in it," and acknowledges reviewers' complaints that "there isn't enough depth."
Do you think the technical accomplishments of this game are being overlooked? And is that by design?
At the end of the day, what you really want to deliver is an emotional entertainment experience to the player. And if the technology helps you accomplish that, great. But if it doesn’t, no amount of technology in the world is going to necessarily provide that. I think the technology is definitely in service of this other goal state. And whether or not the players know about that or appreciate it is really kind of irrelevant as long as we achieve that goal state.
From IGN:
Electronic Arts' eagerly awaited video game, Spore is based on serious scientific research that is out of this world. Literally. The game, which incubated for five years in the studios of the world's leading developer of video games, takes much of its inspiration from the real-world research of the SETI Institute, an organization dedicated to the deep scientific understanding of life in all its forms on Earth and to exploration of the cosmos for evidence of life, especially intelligent life.

In partnership with EA, the SETI Institute is giving gamers a special opportunity to join its membership organization, TeamSETI, at reduced cost. The Institute also plans to augment its web site ( so members will be able to access interactive activities, get special updates on the Institute's research (as it applies to the scenarios found in Spore), and read game-related blogs by scientists Frank Drake, director of the SETI Institute's Carl Sagan Center for the study of life in the Universe, Jill Tarter, Center director for SETI research, and many of the Institute's other scientists.
To read the rest of the articles and check out the prototypes follow the links provided below.

Shacknews: Morgan Roarty Interview
MTV Multiplayer: Will Wright Responds To Critics
Joystiq: Spore Producer Interview
MSNBC: Will Wright's Game Changer
IGN: Art Imitates Life
EA's Spore Prototypes Page
Electronic Arts
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