Spore Civilisation Trailer

Via the big K, this latest Spore trailer sees producer Kip Katsarelis and designer Soren Johnson talking about the civilisation stage of Spore, particularly what they themselves enjoy about that planetary-struggle mechanisms of Maxis’ forthcoming evolve ’em up. Lovely stuff.


  1. Fedora.Pirate says:

    Can someone please tell me when “Comic Mischief” became something that was looked for when ratting a game?

    This looks quite cool, but it appears a tad shallow as if there will be really only one type of unit per play style with a few modifiers (Military, flying unit, +3 speed +2 damage).

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Spore: shallow, but wide?

  3. Meat Circus says:

    All sandbox, no game.

    Like all Will Wright toys ever.

  4. Mike says:

    It’s not even that much of a sandbox, that’s the problem. That mode looks a little restrictive. You’ve no choice but to vie for world domination? Is there any way to delay it, or bring peace to several civs at once?

    It does seem like Civ-lite, this bit.

  5. grumpy says:

    It does seem like Civ-lite, this bit.

    Well, it *is* only supposed to be one fifth of the game, isn’t it? ;)

    Anyway, from their interviews it seems the space phase is the *real* sandbox mode, where you pretty much get to play with anything that went before (just find a planet with some species who are at the civ stage, and you can play with them)

  6. Sartoris says:

    Well I certainly didn’t notice anything terribly innovative about this stage. And the highlights for the developers are the parts when you send units across the map, nuke each other out, watch the enemy respond. Huh. Yeah. Highly innovative. I may be expecting too much from Wright, but it’s his own fault.

  7. Stefan says:

    I think I have to agree with Jim Rossignol. Spore seemed like a really deep and addictive game when I saw the first trailers, as if it had no limits. But looking at these gameplay videos now, it seems like it’s trying to fit too much in, so it has a bit of everything, but there’s really no substance to the stages. I think the creativity and creator tools will be the focal point of the game, not the gameplay.

    Hopefully they will release tools which allow users to mod the game later on. Then maybe we’ll see some more substance enter into the different stages (gameplay-wise).

    IMO Spore is currently just a tech demo. It’s cool, but there’s really not much there…

  8. Robert says:

    It’s always seemed to me that Spore was an amazing set of content creation tools in search of a game.
    Wright has pretty clearly given up on innovating actual gameplay mechanics.

    “Let’s make a limitless playground where all content is procedural or player-produced”
    “Fuck yeah! Wait, what will the gameplay mechanic be?”
    “*shrug* It’s all been done. Let’s just start with Pac-Man, then move up to… uh… 3D Pac-Man with sex, and then… a Civ-like RTS so simple that babies and old people can play it.”
    And after Civ-lite then what? Explore My Galactic Sandbox?

    And on a side note, they need to reconsider the ‘developer commentary’ in these videos. “I really enjoy… sending my vehicles over… and maybe attacking their cities…”
    Does Not Inspire.

    You know it’s true. Don’t flame me, I’ll probably be buying Spore anyway.

  9. Bobsy says:

    If you don’t think that the level of creativity allowed in Spore isn’t innovative you’ve got problems. I rather suspected that the amount of available units would be limited, and it’s a shame, but I guess we can expect mods and/or expansions to look into that, maybe?

  10. Ian says:

    I’m in an odd place with Spore. My desire to play it hasn’t diminished, but my belief that it’ll be awesome game has.

    I think it’s one of those games I just really want to play and try out for myself and form my own opinions because I suspect it’ll get an incredibly mixed reception.

  11. Jeremy says:

    They said that you can go through the civ phase with another species by your side, so maybe it’s not just military domination.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed, though my expectations of it have gone down since it was announced. But doesn’t that always happen?

  12. Ian says:

    What’s on the front of the PCG issue with the Spore review?

    If it’s the Wolfenstein one I can only imagine I planned to come back to the reviews because I’m sure I’d remember reading an 8 page review for Spore.

  13. Nick says:

    I’d suggest that dampened expectations for this game are a good thing. We’ll all enjoy it more if we realise it’s not the Second Coming.

  14. Calabi says:

    Well as long as its fun I dont care how shallow it is. Most civ type games only give the illusion of depth anyway.

  15. Turin Turambar says:

    Jim Rossignol said:
    “Spore: shallow, but wide?”

    Mmm yep, it seems the case. Very wide, with all the phases and customizability and stuff, but inevitably shallow, for the same reasons.

  16. Mark says:

    Argh. Stop making me want this! I can’t put SecuROM on my computer! It’ll probably explode!

  17. ADamnFox says:

    Yes! This two minute trailer lacks depth!

  18. Hypocee says:

    That “…maybe attacking their cities…” thing is part of a list of times when he likes watching the little people’s reactions to what’s going on. Boring quote mine, troll fail.

    I have the same reservations as a lot of guys here, but that alliance victory mechanic is underused and the way he phrases it sounds like it’s not exclusive to a specific Civ type. That surprised and excited me a little – not so much for the specific mechanic, but because making an effort to avoid the tiresome “inevitable backstab” model in the game implies that there may actually be a game there.

  19. Noc says:

    I don’t think I agree with the shallowness, necessarily. At least, judging by this trailer. What I think I’m seeing is less of a military sim and more of a inter-civilization management sim. It’s like in the Civ games; the act of going to war with a country, and the affect that has on your own, is more relevant to the game than the military battles themselves.

    I’m interested in the things they haven’t talked about. Resource management, and such. I suspect this stage will be pretty good; I suspect that we’re just being given a shallow trailer. I could be wrong, but it’s hard to judge from the information we’ve been given.

    And @ Robert: If you listen, it’s not “Oh, attacking their cities is fun.” It’s “I like watching how the little Spore creatures on the ground behave and react to things. Sometimes I’ll go and attack a city, and watch how their creatures react.”

    Which is, you know, interesting. And suggesting of depth.

    And, beaten to it.

  20. Tom says:

    I’ll take height over width every time.
    For me Spore looks interesting in a “hu, that’s interesting” kinda way. Not in a “my word, that’s cool!” kinda way.
    Too early to judge though. The vids might just not be doing it justice. They’re only snippets. And we don’t know how long you spend at each stage. There-in may lie the depth. Could be a case of the more complex an organism you are, the more complex the requirements for progression. There are after all an awful lot of very clever simulations going on in this game.
    I like the idea that you can form meaningful partnerships. The idea of going to the next stage with a companion species.
    Maybe even inter-species breeding?! LOL. You may end up with a hydrid species.

  21. FreezerBag says:

    Blimey, you lot are miserable.

    That looked lovely.

    And bare in mind, this phase of the game is suppose to be played through relatively quickly. It’s not suppose to be Civilization IV or something…

  22. Bobsy says:

    Speaking of “shallow but wide”, this is similar to the way in which Deus Ex: Invisible War was described prior to release. It turned out to be utterly untrue. It was shallow and narrow.

    I don’t see Spore being anything like this though. Anything that lets me design an entire species’ history from protozoa to space-gods, is deep.

  23. Kieron Gillen says:

    Bobsy: You got a reference for that? I don’t remember that at all. And if it is, it’s as true for Deus Ex 1.


  24. eh says:

    Space stage trailer is a lot better imo.

  25. SanguineLobster says:

    I think the problem with Spore is that its been around too long. People have accepted the idea Spore’s various levels and now the smooth wind of ‘ooh new stuff’ can’t propel them any further.

    People remember thinking it was incredible, so in response, they use the tempting power of nostalgia to decide what incredible is, in relation to now, not to what it was. This creates new expectations that might never have been even vaguely in the scope of the project. Then when it fails to meet these expectations, they say it’s much worse than it promised to be. Whether or not this is true.

    This seems to happen fairly often.

  26. Hypocee says:

    Tom: Sorry, it’s not a companion species. At the Civ stage, your species is assumed to be the dominant species on the planet; all the other Civs are from your same species.

  27. Nimic says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game discussed in the comments sections of RPS without half the people complaining how they were “so much more exited before” and that “it just looks shallow now”. Seriously. Every game.

    Maybe not Portal.

    Edit: I Just watched the trailer, and. Well, I’m still as excited as before. I mean, really, this was a couple of minute trailer, briefly describing systems that are inevitably much too complex (in any modern game) to be explained properly in a couple of minutes.

  28. cyrenic says:

    On the fairly deep diplomacy system: “So they’ll remember what you’ve done, whether you’ve fought with them, attacked them…”

    Other quotes: “I really enjoy sending my vehicles over…maybe attacking them.”

    “My favorite part of civ is probably using the super weapons”

    Anyone detecting a pattern here? (Yeah probably over analyzing the trailer, sue me).

    Also did anyone else get a Pixar vibe from the interviews in that video, or was it just me?

  29. Ian says:

    I don’t think everybody’s complaining necessarily about getting less excited for games as time goes on. I suspect I’m not the only one who realises I allow myself to get too hyped for games I know little about, and it’s as much a comment on that.

  30. Zonderic says:

    More excited for the mods that come from this game than the actual game.

  31. RichPowers says:

    Spore has always been an RTS/4X-lite game. EA has deliberately avoided promoting this fact until now because the game seem far more restrictive with that in mind.

    For a game as hyped as Spore, people really know very little of what you actually do in the game.

  32. what says:

    Heh, that’s a fairly deep diplomacy model they got there, enemies keep track whether you fought or attacked them, I’m blown away by the complexity of this game.

    ps. a whole series of minigames doesn’t make for a deep game, especially not if the minigames are bland as hell, then again after the hype I’ll probably play Spore either way.

  33. PJ says:

    hello guys. since i already finished and reviewed spore (giving it 9 out of 10, review was published in poland aug 20th) i would like to shed some light on your debate ^^

    first of all, after completing it i still feel the need to play more. i finished it with warlike civilization, and there still are 2 other types – religious and merchant, whose both have their own bonuses. so just out of curiosity i want to do it. u finish the game by getting to the centre of the galaxy, and thats not an easy task. it took me a good week just to pimp my ride enough, so it could get past enenmy civ that surrounds the core. and there is lot to do in space phase anyway, coz u get to deal with LOTS of other civilisations. for example – i had a quarrel with agresive civ on a higher tech level, and i had tu use diplomacy to push one of my allys to attack enemies. otherwise enemy would wipe us all out. so as far as diplomacy is simple, its also an useful tool to help you develop your empire.

    second of all – its true that game is kinda shallow, comparing to expectations we all had. actually shallow is not a good word – simplified would be way better.

    each element is like a diffrent minigame be it creature factory (kind of a puzzle game) city building (another lil puzzle :) ) or acting as a creature (simplified sims social game or hack’n’slash depending on what u prefer to do with others). they are all ingeniously designed and really fun. even terraforming (one of the most visually stunning elements of the game) is in fact a simple minigame – u have to balance temperature and pressure on the planet, and then stabilize it with plants and animals.

    whole spore is constructed of small brilliant ideas like that. ofcourse some will hate it and call it a game for kiddies, but i assure you that there is enough hardcore – when you set off with couple of nukes to wipe enemy cities, and the planet buster just to punish them for not being polite enough when they surrendered, you will know what im talking about.

    one last thing – in my oppinion civilization phase is the most boring, and weakest of all, but still its not all that bad – tad tedious, but i was on the rush to get the spaceship so i kinda treated it like a nececery evil :D so dont get upset just yet – that trailer is not the best representation of game’s content

    ps. it takes one day to get to space phase if u hurry, and it took me more than a week to get to the centre (i sneaked past ’em, at the end). that kinda shows how the balancing is set. and im sure most casuals will never get past creature phase).

    ps2. sorry for my english, i know sometimes its quirky- u know “itsnothinglikestarcraft” obliges.

    ps3. if u have any precise questions shoot away

  34. Nimic says:

    Thanks for that post PJ, I was in the danger of letting my hopes for Spore go down slightly. I still think it’s going to be a fantastic game.

  35. Fashigady says:

    @PJ Why don’t you use capital letters?

  36. PJ says:

    no idea – laziness maybe? ye. it must be laziness

  37. Max Cairnduff says:


    First off, great review, I found it very helpful.

    One bit that really concerned me was your experience when you hit space. IIRC you encountered a neighbouring supercivilisation spanning around 40,000 light years or somesuch who promptly went to war with you and ground you into the dust.

    That sounds a bit, well, not fun. It’s all very realistic I suppose, very gritty in a Thomas M Disch The Trees sort of way. But having fought my way up, I’d be a tad dismayed to hit space and then just have no realistic shot at expanding and surviving.

    It made me think it might be worth waiting until a patch adjusts the aggression levels of the AI or the odds of encountering such a hostile supercivilisation so early.

    Any thoughts your end?

  38. PJ says:

    No worries – since, as I (see Fashigady? this one is for you) was playing warciv i think that quantities of agressive civs around your starting point depends on it. I have to be true – generally I did kinda start fighting around with several of my neighbours :D so I wasnt surprised when “big brother” showed up.

    dont worry about being flooded with agressive enemies – first of all – it seems that you actually have to work to be hated (in.ex. when i used planet buster everybody in the vicinity started to hate me – it felt like being Russia doin the Georgia dance :D ). second of all – generally neighbours are usually either friendly or neutral, and even if they do feel a lil hate towards our race they dont set off to a war just after we meet, and greet.

    on the other hand – I WAS attacked, and I HAD to defend my colonies and even my homeworld.

    and yes – that takes serious ammounts of micromanagement since you only have one UFO. tho i must admit that fighting, as simplified ( :D:D) as it is, still IS fun.


    ps. one more thing – supercivilization (called the Groks in polish ver – I think it will be same in eng) lives around the core, and generally does not appear until later in the game (space pahse that is). civ that attacked me was actually my OLDER civ from another savegame, that crashed when i achieved space stage. i remind you howevrer that amounts of DL content after creature phase is still very limited – after all not many copies were distributed amogst reviewers up to this date.

  39. Max Cairnduff says:

    Cool, in that case I’ll add it to my to be bought pile, though skinflint that I am I usually wait until most stuff hits the They’re Back column.

  40. mrrobsa says:

    Its the customisation in this game that gets me excited. I’ve browsed the Sporepedia and genuinely laughed out loud at some of the batshit crazy designs people have made. Seeing my race of hand-monsters invade the neighbouring nation of giant cock-creatures is gonna have me chuckling I’m sure.
    I can’t wait to find a planet inhabited solely by companion cubes.

  41. what says:

    So basically, once you get bored with the game, you’ll go hardcore and start nuking things, what else is there to do?
    It’s great that there’s hundreds or thousands of other civs, which look different and all, but I’m also fairly sure after blowing the 3rd civ i encounter to pieces that even that won’t be fun anymore, so basically, for PJ the reviewer, do the various civs actually add *anything* extra to the gameplay or is this a visual thing only? because yeah, it doesn’t *really* matter if there’s 100s of civs which look different if they’re all basically doing the same thing.
    Does spore have a trading model? what about resources? how about a tech tree? what do you gain by colonising other planets?
    Somehow it really doesn’t sound like it’s worth a 9, perhaps a 7 at most.

  42. PJ says:

    ye, there is trading. and resources. and u get resources by terraforming and adjusting the planets. colonizing (like trading and fighting) is one of the ways to develop your empire.

    so far after spending some 30 hours with the game I still want to play it. remember mate- im not reviewing the game here – RPS can do it by themselves. im just telling you that i had a blast playing Spore. but, as we all know, de gustibus….