EA CEO John Ricitiello commented in a keynote at DICE today that Spore is “probably the greatest creative risk maybe going on in the industry right now,” going on to assert that he believes ” it’s going to be one of the greatest franchises in our industry and will rival World of Warcraft or The Sims or Rock Band. It’s going to be right up there.”
This is all well and fine for the CEO of the game’s publisher to push, but is it believable? The biggest thing about Spore that I find risky is that the game has been in development for a full eight years now, a figure rivalling Duke Nukem Forever. Can Wright ever really get this game out the door? If so, we’ll find out whether it’s really a creative risk; from what I’ve seen demoed of the game, the lifecycle of each game is broken into several extremely disparate segments, such that it’s really simply three or four games in one rather than the grandiose game-to-end-all-games that it has been hailed as. I think there are many games out there whose progressions are far more natural, and therefore much worthier of the praise currently being heaped upon Spore. Sim City is a great example: as your city grows, the problems you need to deal with change slightly and subtly until you’re dealing with things on an entirely different scale, without breaking the essential core mechanic of the game.
If Spore ever comes out, we shall finally see whether it is truly worth a franchise. If it is, even, it’s going to be an insanely sporadic franchise indeed.