How will you create the universe?
franchise is, at its broadest, an "evolutionary simulator" in which you guide the development of a species from its humble beginnings as a single-celled organism in a tidepool to its ultimate destiny as a spacefaring empire capable of conquering (or destroying
) other planets.
The idea was first conceived by Will Wright
not long after The Sims
was finished; he had made a game about people, so he wanted to make a game about "everything else" next — and the game's development schedule took eight years to finish.
Almost all content seen in Spore
was developed by its userbase, thanks to the game's ability to automatically upload creations (from cells and creatures to vehicles and spacecraft) to the main Spore
website ("Sporepedia"), and subsequently download those creations to other games. For example, while about 1,700 entities are bundled with the core game disc, Sporepedia hosts over 180 million
. Sturgeon's Law
very much applies, but that still leaves over 18 million
creations that aren't bad.
The game begins by naming your homeworld, picking a difficulty, and deciding whether your cell will be herbivorous or carnivorous (though this can change through gameplay). After that, the game proceeds in five distinct Evolutionary Levels
- The Cell stage is the simplest of the five; you swim around the tidepool in two dimensions eating fragments of vegetation or meat depending on your cell's diet, avoiding larger cells, and collecting new parts for your cell.
- In the Creature stage, you collect new parts from skeletons, eat food, and either kill or befriend other creatures, using abilities that are defined by which body parts you use.
- In the Tribal stage, you now control an entire tribe of your creature, rather than just one. You must eradicate or ally with the other tribes that spring up, by use of weapons or music respectively.
- In the Civilization stage, economic, military, and religious nations take over others by respectively buying them out, storming their cities and playing music at their enemies while a giant hologram preaches at them.
- The Space stage is by far the largest, longest and most complex of them all. It starts off with the colonization of a new system. After that, it's Wide Open Sandbox time, culminating in an encounter with the galaxy's most powerful and evil race.
The game has had a few spinoff games: Spore Creatures
for the Nintendo DS
, which uses a 2D creature designer rather than 3D, Spore Origins
for mobile phones, which is basically a port of the Cell stage, and Spore Hero
, for the Nintendo Wii
and (as Spore Hero Arena
) DS, which is more of an adventure game than the original, and focuses more on story and the evolution aspects. Another spinoff, Darkspore,
was released in April 2011, combining an updated Creature Creator with an action-RPG.
This game provides examples of: