No Man's Sky and Spore have a lot in common. Both were ambitious to a fault. They aimed for the stars, but fell well short of expectations. They also both had plenty of dick aliens.
Evolution: The Ultimate Creative Sandbox recently got voted number one on Steam Greenlight, the service's user-driven selection system for lesser-known games. Here's how the small team behind the game describes it:
We loved the original idea from Spore and after all these years we thought it would be a good time to play god again and create our own creatures! From cell stage to space, but with even more stuff: we're planning on doing this 100% multiplayer. Not massive multiplayer, but definitely online, so you'll be able to play with your friends in every step of the process.
They also tout that you'll be able to travel between thousands of planets — with a wide variety of biomes — and land on any of them. Sound familiar?
Here's a video that the developers stress is very early, more concept than realisation:
Those are some Spore-arse graphics, that's for sure. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but they might want to consider dialling it back a little before, you know, lawyers.
Development is being headed up by DalasReview, a Spanish-language video game YouTube channel with over three million subscribers. They say they're going to launch a Kickstarter in the coming months. Still, it's tough to have much faith in this project given that, again, it takes two games that have been canonised as cautionary tales against pie-in-the-stars ambition and Frankenstein-stitches them together. The fact that promo materials are plastered with language like "Coming soon (hopefully)" doesn't do much to inspire confidence.
Steam users seem to remember Spore pretty fondly these days, and I'm sure that's contributed to Evolution's early support. No Man's Sky, however, remains on a lot of people's shit lists, despite also being a pretty alright experience when taken on its own terms.
What I find surprising about Evolution — and a large part of the reason I decided to write about it at all — is that the No Man's Sky backlash wave doesn't appear to have affected it. I expected Core Gamer (TM) types to remain wary of games that boast vast procedural universes and creatures beyond our wildest dreams (nightmares?) for a while. And yet, despite No Man's Sky's recent "overwhelmingly negative" aggregate review score on Steam, people still want to believe in Evolution with all their hearts. Or at least all their votes.
It will be interesting to see what happens when the game's Kickstarter launches and Steam users have to put their money where their big ol' voting fingers are. It will take a monstrous sum of cash to bring a game of this scope to life, that's for damn sure. And even then, if recent history's any indication, that still might not be enough.