Sporeler Warning EP 2: These Things Should Not Live

By Shamus
on Aug 20, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I don’t have a lot to say here that we don’t say three times in the video. It really is a shame this game never got another shot.

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20201353 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Thomas says:

    I guess it’s possible no-one at the original studio wanted to redo Spore. I think I remember reading an article about how the development became messy and painful because people were working at cross-purposes with each other (and I think there might have been a studio folding or moving people onto other projects?).

    And EA probably just wants more Sims games to be made. With a little faith I think Spore could have been a big franchise though

  2. Bruno M. Torres says:

    Wow, I tought Spoiler Warning would resist the urge of making porn monsters. I was wrong.

  3. Hal says:

    Is the oppressive DRM still there? I avoided the game in the first place because of that.

  4. Bropocalypse says:

    I’ve heard Spore was the most-pirated game in history(at least at the time), so that would probably be a big deterrent from sequel development. Though I bet some schmuck at EA thinks that means “It could have been worse if not for the DRM!”

  5. Cuthalion says:

    Wow. I can’t decide if I want to play this game.

    • Jokerman says:

      I pirated it (I know, im bad.) just because i needed to play this through just once, but really did not want to pay for it. I feel it’s a game that warrants a playthrough, just to put away that curiosity… but you will probably never want to play it again.

      • Cybron says:

        I played the leaked version that was available a week before it came out – which, if you think about it, is probably why the piracy numbers were so high, since the game was hyped to hell and back. I played just long enough to determine that every phase beyond cellular was as mind-numbingly tedious as the last. I don’t feel guilty about it at all, because if I had spent money on this game I would have been angry.

  6. Quent says:

    I was quite young when I played this and, from what I can remember, I enjoyed the first two stages the most. I just enjoyed playing genetic dress up and as the game goes on you slowly move further and further away from that thing took ages trying to get to look good.

    As an evolution game, this sucks. But as a creature creator in which you can also do a few things with your creation (with your heart singing with joy along with your cute little creature at a species that will soon be food) it was wonderful.

    Ahh, nostalgia.

    Does anyone remember any creatures that they made? I remember making a trilobyte thing with moth wings.

    • Florian the Mediocre says:

      I think I made winged, purple driders with poison spitting glands on their rear ends.

    • Nidokoenig says:

      I remember making flying, blind war slugs over and over, with projectile attacks so I could kite enemies. When you sell everything and spend the proceeds on artillery, you can be pretty deadly.

      I also remember making a ball with eyes turned inward so you could only see flesh tone nubs, legs so short it’s feet were basically attached to its body, and the herbivore mouths from cell stage that I’d kept to use as frills. I liked making things that required some kind of trickery to work or showed that my designs were efficient enough to carry some stupid deadweight through the game. Also blind things or things with hidden eyes because why would you display the eyes that are available by default.

  7. Decius says:

    What was the second chance that Mirror’s Edge got?

  8. Phil says:

    So, how soon before Pyrodactyl makes a newer, better Spore?

    • There you go! They can’t trademark game mechanics, so there’s nothing stopping you from making a Spore or SimEarth type of game.

      I’d love to see one where each evolutionary step allows you to choose to either modify your creature (which changes the world) or the world (which changes your creature). Making their planet part of the endgame would add another strategic dimension. F’rinstance, if you didn’t have the equivalent of a carboniferous period because you chose to not have X alteration to your planet, you wouldn’t have a readily available source of fossil fuel when you started building cities,

    • Decius says:

      Put it on Fig, and I’ll invest in that.

  9. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    What… the hell… was THAT?

    I’m going to have nightmares now, aren’t I?

    Oh, and yeah, the gameplay does look really tedious.

    I remember when I was super excited about this game…

    • Jokerman says:

      tbh that creature marks one of the few things this game did really well… the creator is top notch, and the fact they can animate what ever you come up with is really impressive.

  10. FuzzyWasHe? says:

    What hath science wrought?

    Or more accurately what hath Chris wrought?

  11. James Porter says:

    So, I have been thinking about it, and I think I would have preferred Spore as a Dwarf Fortress level randomly generated game, with like Caves of Qud style leveling mechanics. Basically the appeal of an evolution game is the slow progression of your character, so giving tons of incomperable options that they dont need to worry about graphically sounds the most ideal, and then your imagination can do the work

    • Nidokoenig says:

      I’m imagining an ASCII game where all the variety is in text descriptions, your letter and colour denotes some of your abilities, and the point where you progress from creature to tribe is when you decide or discover what your creature likes getting trashed on.

  12. SlothfulCobra says:

    Shamus keeps on saying that there;s a good game concept, but I’m not sure that’s really true. There’s really nothing that holds this game together. It seems like the creature creator was the initial idea that everything was built out from, and the most development went into it.

    But then there’s nothing worthwhile to really do with your creature throughout the developmental process. There’s no real pretense towards really testing the effectiveness of creature designs. The creature phase seems like the developers had no idea what to do with these things once they’re made. The most you can do is equip a bunch of higher-tier bodyparts to out-numbers rival creatures in combat/courtship.

    And throughout it all, the creature phase is just one bit of the game. Evolutionary design barely mattered in the single-celled phase, and I can’t see how it’ll matter once your creature maintains sapience and its design is finalized and unchanging for the next few phases. The game’s biggest draw is easily dropped.

    • Jsor says:

      One of the big problems with the game is that it’s an entire point-buy system. It’s less of an evolutionary game than Dungeons and fucking Dragons. Like, any time you mate you can scrap your entire design and make something new. You can see Josh effectively do this.

      Literally the only effect playing the game has is getting new parts and more DNA points, but selling parts doesn’t use points, you get a full refund. So you have this dumb system where choices don’t mean anything, nothing is tested. And the game is far, far too easy to warrant any of it; either you’ll win handily by being intelligent at all or you’ll get one-shot. You may as well just play with the Spore Creature Creator they gave out at pre-release and skip the gameplay bullshit.

      The lack of effort into a lot of parts of this game really start to show once you hit the Tribal and Civ stages of the game. No matter whether you’re an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore (now warlike, peaceful, or economic) it’s the exact same game with different buttons. Still no challenge.

      I really want to make some sort of evolution game, but it’s a daunting task.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The problem isnt that you can make a new creature with every generation,but that there really isnt a need to do so.You can improve your parts,sure,but whether you focus on dancing,or fighting,or running,or flying,or whatever is just your preference,and not a need to overcome a challenge that arose.

    • Thomas says:

      I think a ‘fixed’ version of Spore would probably ditch every stage except the single-celled stage and this one. Maybe an ending text scrawl or something explaining what your creature did when it achieved sapience? But honestly, I think maybe the idea works better if you don’t _have_ to achieve sapience.

      It’s also impossible to design five good games at once.

    • Cybron says:

      The ‘good game concept’ isn’t the one you see before you, it’s the one that the game was marketed as. Maybe Shamus, like me, remembers that game way more fondly than the game we actually got.

      Frankly this is just a crapshoot, you could leave out everything but the creature creator and lose very little.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Was that Rutskarn quoting jeff murdock?

  14. squiddlefits says:

    This game system seems like the perfect place to recreate The Thing from … The Thing. I’m talking stuff like this monstrosity.

  15. Grudgeal says:

    I swear, I have no idea what’s even going on in-game any more. Is this supposed to be all that the gameplay is about, or are you lot taking a lot of shortcuts just to get through it as fast as possible?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nope,thats it.You either fight them,or sing to them.You can also jump and get wings for flight,but its not satisfying at all.

      In the next stage,you get to develop your tribe instead of a single creature,and you get the option to fight the other tribes,or try making peace with them.

      Then in the next stage,you get to develop a whole civilization,where you either kill everyone and conquer the globe,buy out everyone and conquer the globe,or convert everyone and conquer the globe.

      But the space phase is at least somewhat interesting.

    • Cybron says:

      This is all there is. The systems are just ridiculously shallow.

  16. Ravens Cry says:

    As Richard Courant said when shown ‘Project Orion’, ‘Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!’

  17. Vorpal Kitten says:

    Watching this is really getting me excited for No Man’s Sky – it takes the procedurally generated planets and aliens ideas from Spore but cuts 100% of the Spore gameplay to just make you a space explorer. So you get to fly from the starting planet to the moon like they mention in this video, and get to see weird creatures and beautiful strange planets.

    Hopefully after No Man’s Sky does amazing someone will make a spiritual successor to the GDC Spore.

  18. Blastinburn says:

    There was another continuation of Spore besides Darkspore. The creature mode of Spore actually got a spin-off in Spore Creatures for the original DS.

    I don’t really remember whether it was good or not, but I did complete the game so it probably wasn’t awful at least.

    • Zagzag says:

      It was basically the creature stage but with a lot more going on mechanically and an overarching story, if I rememer correctly. I had a lot more fun with it than I expected back in the day, so I’d guess it was a better game than the main Spore (which admittedly I’ve not played.)

  19. Corpital says:

    So…has anyone here ever played Spore enough to make the mind numbingly awful travel to the center of the galaxy?

  20. 4th Dimension says:

    About Mirrors Edge and the “neccessity of gun combat”. No you really don’t need to use the guns. In fact I’m generally crap at platforming and even I only used guns in the first gunfight where the game practically tricks you to do it. In the later fights, in my opinion it’s determental to actually fight the police with guns, since you waste so much time, when you could be simply running away.

    • Retsam says:

      You really do have to use a gun in that first fight. Or at least despite an hour or so of trying, I was unable to get past that fight without using a gun. Which was annoying, since I was trying to go for a “pacifist” (assuming the occasional drop-kick of a mook off a building fits in your philosophy of “pacifism”) run of the game.

      It was also really really difficult to get past a later encounter where they lock you in a parking garage put a guy with armor and a large gun in the middle of the room with no cover near by; but I think I did eventually get past that without shooting. Maybe. (But that also took at least an hour)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There still are places where combat is mandatory,and while you can fist fight through those,its much easier to just steal a gun and paint the town red.

  21. Zalzabar says:

    Basically I think it needed to be Roguelike a la Rogue Legacy’s family tree but instead of a family tree do the evolutionary tree and every “life” you get a different mutation that you can expand or drop in the next life assuming you accomplished something, and then add in something like Oblivion’s skill system where if you spend lots of running or flying those skills level up and you get better legs or wings or something. I’d play that.
    (but then it doesn’t really leave much room for the Civ/Space stages…)

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