Q&A: EA on launching Spore Creature Creator

Maxis executive producer Lucy Bradshaw discusses working with Will Wright and today's release of the evolution-civilization-space-exploration sim's monster maker.

As the developers of one of the most highly anticipated games on this year's release calendar, the team at Maxis is currently feeling the crunch when it comes to finishing Spore. Due for release in September on the PC, Mac, and Nintendo DS, the game will let you control various life-forms from the cellular to the galactic level, and then share these creations with other people around the world. Wii and mobile versions are also planned for a later, undisclosed date.

The first part of this grand idea was realised today when Maxis launched the Spore Creature Creator worldwide. Costing £4.99 in the UK and $10 in the US, the toolset lets players begin creating their own creatures before sharing them. A free trial version is also available.

Lucy Bradshaw

To mark the occasion, GameSpot cornered Maxis executive producer Lucy Bradshaw to find out more about the Creature Creator, as well as the latest developments on the game itself.

GameSpot UK: Why was the decision made to sell the Spore Creature Creator separately?

Lucy Bradshaw: The Spore Creature Creator is an introduction to the world of Spore--your own little universe in a box. By starting with this fun little bite, we are getting a head start at building the Spore community as players share their creations and interact with each other at Spore.com. The Spore Creature Creator is quite literally the beginning of the launch of Spore and introduces the brand in a really fun and easily accessible way. We can't wait to see what people will create starting this week.

GS UK: Most of the ideas in Spore are very ambitious. How are you planning to make the experience accessible for players?

LB: I think once players get their hands on the Spore Creature Creator, they're going to be surprised at how creative they are. I've seen a five-year-old create a creature just as easily as I have my 70-year-old mother. Granted, teaching mom that she had to use the mouse wheel to scale the body took a minute or two, but soon she was off and running, creating creatures with the greatest of ease. This intuitiveness is found throughout the game. While the concept behind Spore may be big and vast in nature, it's actually quite accessible when you give it a shot.

GS UK: You've personally described Spore as "a couple million stars in any one galaxy, and any star can have four or five planets." How can a development team create a game that huge, while also allowing players a sense of ownership over their personal galaxy?

LB: The team has done a tremendous job creating the procedural-animation technology behind Spore. Procedural animation gives players the limitless ability to seamlessly create and customise nearly every aspect of the game. That should definitely give players a sense of ownership over their personal galaxy.

GS UK: Does the issue of user-generated content in Spore present any challenges postrelease? How can we expect to see EA supporting the game once it's out there?

LB: As you know from our work on The Sims franchise, Maxis has always been very supportive of our community. You can expect many updates and support from the team postlaunch. In fact, it is usually by watching the players and what they do with our games that we find new features and areas to enhance.

GS UK: Describe the process of working with Will Wright. Is he quite hands-on with the title?

LB: Most definitely--Will is just as excited as the rest of the team to see this project come to life in September. I think right now he's really into the Civilization stage. And Space of course, that's always been his passion. He's not only actively playing the game every day but working with the team on tuning and with me on how we approach the community features as well.

GS UK: How does the anticipation of Spore affect its development? Are you feeling the pressure?

LB: We definitely feel it. It's exciting to be [working on] one of the most anticipated games--we can't wait to see what players create and see how much they enjoy playing Spore.

GS UK: Have you been influenced by any other games or media during the creation of Spore?

LB: We've taken notice of the social-networking movement, as evidenced by our Web team's hard work in creating the Sporepedia. The Sporepedia is a vast online destination where people worldwide can search for and share Spore creations, comment on other players' designs, check out celebrity creature creations, create their own MySporePage, and much more. The Sporepedia really creates a sense of community around playing Spore.

GS UK: How will the Wii version of the game differ from the PC version?

LB: Right now we're focused on getting the Spore PC, Mac, DS, and Mobile versions out the door.

GS UK: Do you think that Spore will have the popularity and wide audience that The Sims series has?

LB: We sure hope so!

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Discussion

58 comments
guynamedbilly
guynamedbilly

If they plan to support it as well as they did The Sims, I guess that means we have about 20 or so expansion packs coming...

migduvednok
migduvednok

adjusting the sporepedia to delete duplets/doubles/copies would be very helpful - lower the amount by a full half percent.

cdo1536
cdo1536

The Creature Creator (nontrial) to me is sorta worth it. I mean, you get an early start on populating your world with creatures you want. I just hope that the full game's creature creator will have all of the parts unlocked, to me that is what buying the nontrial was for. I don't see any purpose to buying the creature creator if you still have to unlock the parts in the full game. But yeah, I have made my cool creatures even cooler with the nontrial, and gave me some ideas for some others. By the way guys, the wings DO get better (looks and effectivness). Thats one thing I was worried about. I wouldn't be surprised to see an expansion or two in this game's future. Seems to me the hard part was getting the programming down, so I don't see why the only made 4 varients of each type of thing (4 wings, 4 horns, etc.). I am guessing the next expansion will add 2-4 more varients to each type, or just new ones completely.

zhevox
zhevox

love u Maxis! Hate u EA...!

littlejj
littlejj

Who's bright idea was it to make a demo or just simply a part of a game cost ten bucks when the game itself is going to come out in September I'm not trying to be mean but wow thats just stupid, wouldn't it of been a better Idea to let us have the full CC if we pre-ordered it, I mean that way we dodge all the fuss about who bought the CC and who didn't and blah blah blah....

sdozer
sdozer

You get 25% withe trial creature creator, 50% with this "HP trial version," and it's a fifth of the cost of the game to get a full fifth of the game. If you want a demo, use the trial. It's right there. Oh, and I guess there's a discount of that $10 for most cases?

celtic_flav
celtic_flav

This is the only PC game I'd like to play this year and it's been years since I have actually considered buying one. Ps3 civilization evolution is something that could tide me over until it ends up coming out on my console, but I love the immagination, depth and space aspect of the game. It makes me think of the Drake equation...I wonder WHEN we will find life elsewhere in the universe?

BigSmitts07
BigSmitts07

i looked up the requirements of this game..i got a new xp pc and not even a year old mac and neithr can run this damn game....you need leopard for the mac? i mean cmon...at least let the last tiger run it!!....whatever...guess i wont be getting this afterall

GoldenRamoth
GoldenRamoth

Man, i want more info about the wii version. looks so good

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Played it - it rocks. But how can they make expansions for it like they can The Sims?

DamageIncM
DamageIncM

They should just have released the CC in it's full for free, it would have made a great demo. Even if they'd have released it for free partially, and I don't mean just 25%, more like 50+%. I'm on the verge of buying the the full version, since the price is on the edge for me. But then, won't the whole CC come with the full game? Well of course, but then won't I have to pay for it AGAIN? Or might EA make note of it and make me able to pay less for the full game when it comes out? Because the full version of the CC is called a pre-order. So what's the deal, maybe you won't have to pay extra in the end after-all... I think there is just lack of information on this.

nikh158
nikh158

You can claim back the $10 when you buy the full game.

zoe256
zoe256

I really like the look of Spore, but I wonder how it will work on a laptop, they brought out the Sims Stories for laptops, because the Sims was a bit difficult to play on a laptop. I agree with _guenter_26's fairly unpopular oppinion that I'd like to see a 360, and a PS3 version for those of us without proper PCs who still want an expanded experience than on the DS or the Wii.

ScionofEntropy
ScionofEntropy

With Nintendo in talks of fixing the lack of a hard drive for the Wii, I don't think it'd be unreasonable to expect online functionality and downloadable content for the Wii release. Nothing is certain, I suppose, so I'll have to keep my fingers crossed. Otherwise, I'll probably get the PC or Mac release.

bon-domingo
bon-domingo

I'm really getting excited!! Can't wait 'till September!!

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

I'm a diehard Wii fan, but I can't imagine playing a game like this on anything but the PC (or Mac). Maybe playing the Wii version would change my mind.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

@ColdfireTrilogy: I disagree. Coding is still laborious and slow for the cell processor. I have spoke to half a dozen developers first hand who had a long list of gripes about PS3 dev. -Just look at Haze, which compares to Lair.

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

Downloaded. I will probably just pre-order next cause this game is going to be must have.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

This game will either be really fun, or extremely tedious.

fraz1776
fraz1776

GS UK: How will the Wii version of the game differ from the PC version? LB: Right now we're focused on getting the Spore PC, Mac, DS, and Mobile versions out the door. She totally brushed over my question! :(

jknight5422
jknight5422

This game is going to take over the world. Who will have time to play anything else? I've tried the demo & I think I will go ahead & buy the Creature Creator in advance. Might as well start enjoying it now.

Tandem_Toad
Tandem_Toad

This is the only PC game I am looking forward to this year. PC games have gotten a little stale. This is the only one that looks like it might be new and original.

vertigopm
vertigopm

i found the demo three days before it was released for free XD, the creature creator is absolutely insane, the only part that concerns me is how combat is going to work

elvato87
elvato87

That thing is great, and i'm surprised that my pc can run it. But it makes some annoying noises when i'm testing my creature, anyone having this problem as well?.

mysterylobster
mysterylobster

"lol WHAT 10$ for a demo?" No, the demo is free. It's $10 for a full component of the game so that you can make creatures for the full release of Spore.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

hmmm its been "released" but I cant download it....hmmm....hmmm....hmmmmmmm

AlienSim
AlienSim

On the main page in the Creature Creator you can hold the right mouse button and spin it around. Then the galaxy starts to spin and Will Wright's head comes up :-P! It cracked me!

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Hey now... Lucy looks like she might've been a looker in a her prime 50+ years ago... but a $10 demo? lolwut!? Free trial, thanks.

ColdfireTrilogy
ColdfireTrilogy

09231991 the problems with coding for the PS3 are pretty much over, stop using 2 year old data on primary release candidate developer kits to try and downplay the PS3. The coding is not bad anymore for the PS3. In relativity it really isn't that much more work than working an open-circuit system like Spore into xbxlives close circuit crap system of internet that doesn't allow player created content on their Live system. So if anything you guys would get a botched boring version of the game on the 360. That is why UT3 is going to bomb big on the 360, custom content is not allowed at all on the Xbox Live system. While Playstation network is considered an "open network" like the PC where anything is fair game. Nothing against either way of doing it but to say the 360 would be easy to make Spore on when the big draw to this game is sharing all your unique content online is a bit of a one sided argument. Both have their problems but it really comes down to the fact that its a PC game and Maxis is primarily a PC developer not a console dev. Get over it, maybe some day it will come out, and maybe it won't.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

I love the Creature Creator. I've just finished creating my first creature, and it was fast, easy, and fun. I'm surprised that my computer can run it, since it's really slow and old. I'm definitely buying the full version of the Creature Creator when I see it in a store, and I'm looking forward to buying the full game when it comes out in September. By the way, if you're interested, my EA account is Tsuchikage (same as here), and my first creature's name is The Jungle Stalker. Go check it out and leave some comments. I look forward to seeing what everybody else creates.

DontEatCream
DontEatCream

YES! Time for my army of killer teddy bears to reign supreme!

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

at this time i hate my laptop that is awesome for everything....but always causes error in games ¬.¬

deathc4
deathc4

Keep your consolitius away from my PC games. SEPARATE BUT EQUAL!

09231991
09231991

Ok, they are making a PC, Mac, DS, Wii and Mobile version but no 360 or PS3 version? I understand if they don't want to for the PS3 at least because these types of games are very hard to make for it but the PC and 360 have very, very similar coding so porting it shouldn't be an issue. I just don't understand this at all. I really want to play this badly but it seems the company is going to leave a huge market chunk out that could make them some serious money.

kalkhaja
kalkhaja

its games like spore and littlebig planet that keep me young :D

Nharia12
Nharia12

Sneaky. You can download a trial version and upgrade for 10 bucks or by the entire thing for 50 bucks. I think I'll take the cheaper route.

CornishRocker
CornishRocker

Does anyone know the specs for the full creator? I might try the free version aswell, but I'd like to know.

prdroog
prdroog

Although...My Mac doesn't meet the minimum system requirements. So that's lame.

prdroog
prdroog

Excellent!!! Maxis has always been the best at these games! SimAnt was one of my all time favorites and SimCity's great! This games will hopefully be everything it has the potential to be and more. Personally, I think this game is gonna be a phenomenon, but that's just me.

McSpazzotron
McSpazzotron

Ok, I may have read things wrong earlier, but I was sure that you didn't have to pay for it. I thought it was purely promotional. I will pick up the free trial, but I will not pay for a DEMO.

ag1002
ag1002

You think the cartoony style is offputting? It's an art style, what's your problem with it? Embarrassed it won't look so cool next to your gory M rated games? ... if you don't like a cartoony creature than don't make it cartoony, you can make whatever you want.

WarPrime
WarPrime

The creatures you make will go into the big database of monsters that will be used to populate your universe. So in essence, they are getting players to pay money (i.e. $10) to help them populate their universe with enough creatures. You pay them and you do their work for them... brilliant!

DamageIncM
DamageIncM

LOL WTF!?! The cartoon-style offputting? That's the whole thing about it. The cute and funny creatures, kind of the same humor as The Sims. What do you want then, this realistic monster-creator? Maxis can't do that, they create games for all ages.

phalluman
phalluman

Adj209, yeah i hear you man, but i'm keeping the faith that the modding community will change this game like mad "My only complaint; personally i find the cartoony style a bit offputtingn"

kos1085
kos1085

Spore looks like a good game but I probably won't pick it up.

FuBi2k
FuBi2k

She just put an optimistic spin on her answer to the first question. It's obvious EA wanted to see a return on their investment as soon as possible after seven years. Again as I've said before, find someplace that offers a discount on the full game! Hopefully the boxed version will come with some sort of discount certificate that can be validated at stores or some kind of promo code for ordering online.