Considering Spore's universal success, it's no surprise that the evolution didn't end there. A range of new Spore offspring have been revealed by EA, including Spore: Hero for the Wii, Spore: Hero Arena for the Nintendo DS, Spore: Creature Keeper, and Spore Galactic Adventures. All of these games will be arriving this year, with Galactic Adventures expected to arrive first in March.
Galactic Adventures is an expansion pack that lets Spore owners create their own adventures, in the same vein as creatures, which they can play and share with their friends and the online community via the Sporepedia--providing that they've reached the space stage of the game. In the same way that the creation tools were the highlight in Spore, it looks as if the same will be true of Galactic Adventures, which will give you greater control of not just the creatures but also the universe around them. You can build and edit new planets from scratch and pollinate them with life. Flora, water colour, day length, climate, and sea levels can all be customised, and this ability has evolved from the team's in-house development tools. You'll also be able to tinker with land masses to create mountains and hills, continents, islands, oceans, lakes, valleys, rivers, and roads to give your planet an individual touch.
Once you're happy with your planet, you can populate it with creatures, which effectively become cast members in your production. You can create teams of creatures, stances (for example, two opposing groups), and set awareness ratings for each character (how close you can get before it will notice you). You can easily add objectives to complete, such as talking to a specific creature, collecting an object, and so forth. Once you've added enough goals, you can move on to a second act, up to a total of five that will support branching storylines. You don't have to do an epic adventure alone, either, and with 64 million creatures on Sporepedia, you should be able to find a few extra party members if you don't want to create your own. There's also a bunch of items that Maxis has created to make quest creation easier, including bombs, keys, exploding barrels, jump pads, and other typical items that you'd expect in quest-based games.
In addition to actors, you'll naturally need to build a story for them to work within, and you'll be able to add text for each character and basic cutscenes. When you're creating adventures, an onscreen meter will tell you how complex your adventure is, and this will fill up as you add more items until it eventually reaches its limit. To create and play in the new adventures, you'll need to purchase a copy of Galactic Adventures and get to Master Badge level 2. Maxis has bundled in 20 "really good" missions to get you started, although we didn't get to see them at the event, and if you'd prefer to create an adventure for fun, you can remove goals altogether and roam at leisure. The game is currently still in alpha, and the team is looking to include yet more features before launch, such as the ability to edit other creators' adventures, a classification system in Sporepedia for adventures (difficulty, age rating, type of adventure, that sort of thing), and possibly the ability to drive vehicles in the game.
Spore: Galactic Adventures will be let loose in March on the PC. For more on Spore, read our full review and stay tuned to GameSpot for more on Galactic Adventures as the game approaches.