EA/Maxis Producing Darkspore

It might sound like a medical condition, but it’s actually an “online, science-fiction action/RPG”. There’s a bunch of information on the Darkspore site, including a teaser trailer. Looks like an attempt to rework the Spore systems and make it a bit more palatable to mainstream gamers. Here’s EA’s blurb:

“Darkspore is inspired in part by the award-winning creature editor tech of Spore, but also in large part from the team’s own passion for gaming and prior experience,” said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis Studio. “The team has combined these inspirations to produce a unique take on the action RPG genre.”

Darkspore will feature dynamic, fast-paced action as players battle across alien worlds to save the galaxy from the mutated forces of Darkspore in a four-player co-operative and full single-player campaign, as well as intense multiplayer battles. In order to defeat the malicious Darkspore, players will need to collect an arsenal of living weapons – genetic heroes with different combat abilities – and upgrade them with tens of thousands of collectible body parts and armor.

Release set for February 2011.


  1. Alec Meer says:

    It’s Spore.. but dark! It’s… Darkspore!

  2. Tei says:

    The subtext on this one is fun.

    Crogenitors = Investors
    E-DNA= EA
    Darkspore = The spore that got released
    Heroes = Game developpers tryiing to make a fun game

    For eons the Crogenitors traversed the galaxy, genetically transforming and sculpting living matter to their will. In their unchecked arrogance they created something they could not control – the Darkspore. Now the galaxy is under siege.

    Using the powers of E-DNA, the Darkspore has transformed planetary populations into mutated hordes. Its sole purpose…to dominate life on all planets.

    You are a fugitive, hidden for a millennium. Your mission…to reconstruct an arsenal of genetic heroes. And lead the battle against the Darkspore.

  3. KillahMate says:

    Huh. Spore of War? Spore-lo… Hal-ore… Spo-lo? Never mind.


    (No, honestly it sounds interesting. Just hope it’ll be better than Evolva.)

    • BooleanBob says:

      I have fun memories of the demo. Well, not fun, exactly. But… memories.

  4. HexagonalBolts says:

    has the potential to be fantastic if they execute it correctly… we shall see!

    One major problem I can foresee is the clash between being powerful and looking good – if you want your creature to be at its strongest then you’re limited to the same selection of parts

  5. Capuchin says:

    American Mcgee’s Spore.

  6. Vadermath says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this sounds incredibly shitty?

    • Razz says:

      Definitely not.

      At first I thought the trailer was parodising the Starcraft 2 one, then I realised it was being deadly serious. Why do games with even the silliest, most stupid concepts have to try so hard to be serious? Worse still, DARK AND GRITTY. This seems like a perfect title to pull of something Pixar-ish, filled with goofy joking around.

      Or did I just totally miss the point and is it actually all a (tightly concealed in PR talk) joke after all?

      I mean surely gritty space marines and dark epic storylines don’t mix with penis monsters and… penis monsters.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I do think it warrants analysis, though. Considering that Spore was a posterchild for the post-Sims generation of games that were designed to have genuine mainstream appeal, what on Earth is Maxis doing swimming back upstream, as it were, to release a game that only the ‘hardcore’ (and even then, I think they’re being optimistic on current evidence) would take two looks at?

    • Zogtee says:

      “…rework the Spore systems and make it a bit more palatable to mainstream gamers.”

      So, they are going to take a painfully watered down game and water it down even more?

    • Veracity says:

      No, it sounds Diablolical.

  7. subedii says:

    In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future there is only Spore?

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      In event of Tyranid spore, please try to remain motionless and calm. If a spore is moving towards you, please calmly move slowly away. The spores are attracted to movement, so running will only ensure they go after you. If the all clear has sounded and a spore is spotted, please notify the nearest Imperial Guardsmen with the location.

      Thought for the day: Obedience builds a stronger Imperium.

  8. robrob says:

    EA’s previous forays into MMOs have been less than splendid.

  9. JohnArr says:

    Is it going to be gritty? I hope it’s gritty.

  10. HYPERPOWERi says:

    Darksims, now with sparklepeen.

  11. Oozo says:

    “Bit more palatable to mainstream gamers”
    Wouldn’t that be the hardcore gamers? I mean, my girlfriend, who was delighted enough by the demo, bought “Spore” back in the day (and grew pretty fast bored), but I can’t see her being interested in darky darky Spore… And I think of her as pretty mainstream gamer, like, in casual games.

    Is casual the new mainstream?
    Wasn’t it always?
    Is hardcore the new niche?
    And will Popcap follow the lead with angstier versions of Bookworm Adventures? (Then again, there already was Evilex in there, and there was Peggle Extreme, so I can see where EA is coming from with this…)

    • Jerricho says:

      Indeed. Making it “a bit more palatable to mainstream gamers” is what was wrong with Spore in the first place. It seemed such a victim of the marketing department that we ended up with a game entirely lacking in any substance.

      I wonder if there’ll be any actual consequences for creature design in this one.

  12. Inigo says:

    Extreme Spore.


  13. CLD says:

    Judging from the gameplay and premise, this may be a great game.

  14. terry says:

    The only way I could be less interested in this is if it was a co-op MMOG.

  15. negativedge says:

    this is what happens when Will Wright moves on

  16. negativedge says:

    this is what happens when Will Wright moves on.

  17. Rei Onryou says:

    A horde of penis monsters shall descend upon the galaxy once again.

  18. g33kz0rd says:

    sounds like a non competitive version of dota… [ watch the heros in the site as “LIVING WEAPONS”! ]

    and more.. customizable?

    sounds intresting either way

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      This is precisely what I was thinking.

      If it was the case, bitchin’.

      But it will not be the case.

  19. ColdSpiral says:

    I’m happily remaining skeptical on this one. Something that I’ve noticed is that they continue to use the words editing and collecting rather than creating. My guess is that their “award-winning creature editor tech of Spore” is the tribe/civ/space/captain outfitter, not the creature creator at all. In other words, you’ll be able to customise an arsenal (read: paltry handful) of predefined creatures, not make them yourself as the connection to Spore obviously implies.

  20. myros says:

    To be honest it just sounds like a certain recent free offering from Valve, with a bit more chrome thrown in.

    • klumhru says:

      I was also instantly reminded of Alien swarm. This seems to promise some more customization options though.

      Not that I’m putting down AS, mind. It’s free after all.

  21. klumhru says:

    I for one am willing to give EA another shot on this. Spore promised too much and delivered too little. In particular I’m excited about the coop section. In my opinion all games with SP campaigns should offer a Coop version of same. With all the easy-to-integrate network middleware out there, there is really no excuse to deny people the possibility to enjoy games together. “The story is too hard to implement” is no excuse.

    The dearth of coop offerings up until recently has seen me and my wife playing Vegas 2, again.

    Happily this seems to be improving of late, with Fable III implementing true coop, and Alien Swarm like games.

  22. cw8 says:

    Simcity 5 please, waited for 7 years now.

  23. Hulk Hogan says:

    Sounds like they’ve finally decided to attach a game to that awesome creature editor I bought.

  24. Tei says:

    If you have a liquid with chemocarcinogenesis substances, and retrovirus that shape the DNA, I kind of think is a good idea to add a luminiscent green substance, so any leak of such liquid will be bloody obvious. Still… wen you use glowing green liquids, It look like cheap sci-fi.

    My only problem with this, is the eyes of the monsters. Are more bovine than tiger-ske or shark-ske. These are not predators, these are cows with shoulderpads. How can I take cows seriusly? cow tools? cow weapons? Imagine cow weapons.. grown from meatmaterials using dna altering virus.

    I think we all have think “Are you kidding me? Darkspore?, can you think on something less of a cheap juveniles idea. Come-on!”.

    Also, I predict one-eye-monster-jokes on penny-arcade. Meh.

  25. UsF says:

    I still want my fix for realistic ecology simulation and terraforming, not some kind of rpg.

  26. Tony M says:

    “Collectible Body Parts” sounds awesome to me! Getting a giant claw is much better than a skill that gives +10% damage.

  27. rocketman71 says:

    This one probably deserves the biggest MEH ever.

  28. bill says:

    palatable to mainstream gamers = dark. space.
    me = depressed.

  29. Flimgoblin says:

    After the awful winter we had the gritting industry wasn’t keen to go back to “business as usual” after its bonanza season, so some bright spark sold twenty tonnes of the stuff to an EA studio executive, now they’ve got to put grit in EVERYTHING.

    That or it’s just rhyming slang, after all the last one was a bit grit too…

  30. Yargh says:

    soo… anyone for a quick game of ‘Revenge of the Penis Monsters’?

    • Tei says:

      I am sure some modder can replace the camel in “revenge of the mutant camels” for what you suggest. Anyway, the obsesion with penis is weird. On all games with lots of players customization, I still have to see 1 penis. It seems the penis related jokes only live on the threads, youtube videos, and penny-arcade jokes. I never see then in-game. But I don’t play consoles. Maybe the penis-obsesed people play consoles.

    • Yargh says:

      I’ll let Youtube tell you different Tei (at least where Spore is concerned):
      link to youtube.com

    • Tei says:

      Yea, I have see a billion penis videos on youtube. Is like people hate creativity, so must make a point “people will use the new tool to make penis”, then create a penis, and publish that penis on youtube “see? people will use the tools to make penis, lots of penis. I have fullfill my own prediction”.
      But I have played these games, and people is focused on other things.

      Have you played APB? you can create anything, I have more than 140 hours in-game, and I have never see people with a pennis tatoo. Maybe all these people is on the USA servers?

    • Clovis says:

      I can’t help giggling every time Tei says, “penis”! I think it’s that new avatar …

      Anyway, I’ve definitely seen penises in the wild in Minecraft and Second Life. But yeah, there is hardly an epidemic of phalluses whenever users can create anything they want.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      @Tei Careful what you wish for.

  31. Cooper says:

    No. Please. Just. No.

    This is some strange, knowing parody form the EA PR office, right?

    It’s like they completely did away with the “sequels must be darker and grittier” pretenion and just lampshaded it. Makes me a little sick inside. Spore was a really lovely game.

    “Spore was too cute for the core teenage boy demographic!”

    “But, er, game players are an ageing demographic, many are women…”

    “I’m not listening I’m chainsawing a grey man in a brown corridor with neon lighting. Look this is amazing.”

    “I guess we could, you know, adapt the game…”

    “Yes: Make it darker, grittier.”

    EA Announces “Darkspore”

  32. Anthony Damiani says:

    Actually… the title sucks, but this could kinda work.

  33. Orange Required says:


    Maxis, I am giving you a very stern look right now.

  34. Dr_Ham says:

    So it’s Gene Wars 2 then?

  35. Landeyda says:

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

  36. neofit says:

    Totally interested. I’ve never played a game that did “feature dynamic, fast-paced action as players battle across alien worlds to save the galaxy from the mutated forces” of something or someone. I swear. I only “Manic Miner” and “Hobbit” for my ZX Spectrum, but now you are telling me that I can experience some dynamic, fast-paced whatever, and across alien worlds to boot, all on this computer contraption? Sold!

  37. oceanclub says:

    Gears of Spore.


    Men of Spore.

    The possibilities are endless.


    • wyrmsine says:

      Grand Theft Spore.

      Spore Effect 2.

      Spore of Brothers.

      Dwarf Sporetress.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      Just Spores 2
      Left Spore Dead
      Napoleon: Total Spore
      The Elder Scrolls: Spore-o-wind.

      OK I’ll stop.

  38. pakoito says:

    Darkspore Patchnotes:

    Spore 2.0.16.a
    * Changed shader to “realistic brown”.
    * Added more spikes and claws to the shop.
    * Creatures now have 5 more stats.
    * Added FUN to the game.

  39. disperse says:

    I’m afraid this game is being developed for the Pokemon demographic.

  40. jonfitt says:

    I’m guessing there’s no word on the DRM yet? :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Hodge says:

      DarkSECUR. You get the same number of activations, but they’re grittier and more authentic.

  41. pilouuuu says:

    What? Even more mainstream than Spore? If anything I hope it has a deeper (and funnier) gameplay than its former dumbed down version.

  42. Jeff says:

    The Darkspore website looks very similar to how Blizzard craft’s their websites. Am I not correct!?!

  43. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    I’ll give this a shot… because there’s a big Gauntlet-shaped hole in the current gaming landscape, and as long as this remains a four player co-op shooter with RPG overtones there’s a slight chance they’ll trip over and fill it.

  44. Arathain says:

    This is one of the more smile inducing comments threads I’ve seen on RPS in a while. Keep it up, you’re doing great.

  45. TeeJay says:

    I’m a bit confused by the ‘more mainstream’ comment after recalling that…

    …Will Wright has said that the Spore team decided long ago that it was more important to achieve stellar game sales than fantastic review scores. “We were very focused, if anything, on making a game for more casual players,” Wright told MTV Multiplayer. “Spore has more depth than, let’s say, The Sims did. But we looked at the Metacritic scores for Sims 2, which was around 90, and something like Half-Life, which was 97, and we decided – quite a while back – that we would rather have the Metacritic and sales of Sims 2 than the Metacritic and sales of Half-Life.” Wright also said that he was unsurprised by the inconsistent review scores the game had received, citing the variety of different experiences Spore offers and suggesting it was almost impossible to satisfy all types of gamers. “A lot of the reviews I’ve read have said that the Space Stage was far and away the best and they were disappointed by the earlier stages because they were too simple. Other people have said the Creature Stage is their favorite and that the Space Stage seems too complicated… There hasn’t been any consistent feedback.”

    link to computerandvideogames.com