E3 2008: Spore Updated Look

Will Wright takes the stage at the EA press conference to show off his creature-riffic creation game.

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We could listen to Spore creator (and founder of EA's Maxis Software studio) Will Wright talk about anything--even science--for hours on end. And, in fact, he did just that during today's Spore presentation at EA's E3 press conference. Of course, Wright's talk wasn't hours long--it lasted only 15 minutes or so--but during the talk, he touched on the scientific ideas behind Spore's creation and managed to present some amusing anecdotes about the popularity of the game, despite its release still being several months away.

During the presentation, Wright explained that, much like his younger days experimenting with chemistry sets, Spore represents a fusion of the scientific and the creative--a game that seemingly looks to challenge your intellect as much as it stokes your imagination. Wright pointed to the recently released creature creator as proof. Released just a few weeks ago as a free download or a paid retail version, the Spore creature creator can be used to create the many different types of creatures that will inhabit the Spore universe.

And we mean many different creature types. As Wright explained, he hoped to have about 100,000 user-created creatures available by the game's launch, with 1 million created by year's end. Instead, users created 100,000 creatures in the first 22 hours of the creature creator's release. As Wright said, it only took them another six days to have passed the 1 million mark. As of the last count, Wright said there were 1,756,869 user-created creatures in the Spore database; about 100,000 more than there are known species in the actual world.

And it isn't just quantity that has been created so far, Wright said. During the presentation, he showed a number of examples of user-created creatures in a slideshow--everything from the sort of fantastical creatures you've likely seen in the game's screens and videos to more realistic and recognizable versions of common animals (even a few humans as well). Some of the more creative types have even gone on to develop creatures that don't look anything like living beings--but rather like helicopters, jet planes, and sailboats.

Wright also mentioned that the game will feature a partnership of sorts with the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), which will somehow use the game to help further the collaborative goals of that collective group--more details will surely be revealed in the future. After his presentation, Wright showed off a brief trailer for the game that gave a good overall sense of the ever-changing feel of the game--as you evolve your single-cell creation to more complex organism, emerge from the sea, develop societies, weaponry, and, eventually, space travel, then set off for the stars to explore new worlds.

With the game set to debut on the PC on September 7 this year (and DS, mobile, and iPhone versions of the game in the works), it's clear that Wright, Maxis, and EA hope Spore becomes as prevalent a brand as another Maxis creation: The Sims. While it's impossible to say if that will happen, we do know that we can't wait to get our hands on the final version of the game. Stay tuned for more Spore coverage in the coming weeks.

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