My feature on Spore ran in the Rocky Mountain News today.
The Maxis folks were very helpful, talking to me about the underpinnings of the game, the philosophy, the importance. They even shot me a copy early so I'd have time to play it before writing up the feature.
Of course all of those interviews and time spent with the game had to be boiled down to the relatively thin 25-inch mainbar and three sidebars for the newspaper. It might be worth checking out if you're interested in a mini-primer on the game and a bit of a peek behind the curtain.
The most interesting, and to me most surprising, thing I learned about the game are the plans Electronic Arts has for its future.
When you dig into Spore (and I've been doing a lot of digging lately) you come to realise that operating beneath the surface of an interesting game is a lot of amazing technology, stuff that hasn't really been applied to gaming before. Things like aesthetic algorithms and the like.
And Electronic Arts knows that it has something much more than an interesting IP with Spore. They also have a new sort of gaming engine. Not something like Unreal, but something that allows you to create a different type of game. So it's no surprise that they're not going to let that go to waste.
(Frank Gibeau, president of Electronic Arts' Games Label,) says he can imagine EA using the underlying technology and concepts to create a robust action title, a deeper real-time strategy experience and a role- playing game, all built around Spore's central player-creation concepts.
"What's so beautiful about Spore is that it's extremely malleable", he said. "You could add RPG or action, you could take it to different platforms, like (Web-page) flash games, the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360, Nintendo's Wii.
"It really travels well to other platforms".
But even beyond that, EA is actually considering licensing out their new tech to other developers. In essence, allow game makers to use Spore Tech to create games of their own.
The idea of Spore as a virtual gaming platform has tons of potential I think.
Spore is the New Video Game of Life [Rocky Mountain News]