Speaking at EA's E3 press conference, Spore creator Will Wright announced that thanks to the release of Creature Creator, the number of player-created species in the game already exceeds the number of species on Earth.
Wright - proudly wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, "Save SETI at Arecibo" - announced that in the 18 days since it was released, Spore: Creature Creator players have crafted 1,756,869 species of creature. By contrast, our planet has less than 1.6 million species.
Wright allowed himself a joke at the expense of Creationism: allowing that God had created that many species in 7 days, he compared the figures with Spore players' achievement, and calculated that Spore fans were currently worth 38 per cent of God. He went on to estimate that players would be equivalent to 1 God by launch, and 3 Gods by the end of the year.
Wright said that player creativity had far exceeded developer Maxis' expectations. They hoped to have 100,000 species by the launch of the full game, and a million by 2009. In fact, they had 100,000 in 22 hours, and a million in a week.
He showed off players' most impressive creations to date, many of which Maxis' artists thought would not be possible, including fairly realistic animals and humans, robots, aeroplanes, and a Weighted Companion Cube.
Wright also promoted Spore's focus on science. He mentioned a National Geographic TV documentary that will be aired at the same time as the game's release, and an as-yet unannounced partnership with SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence - something the legendary creator said he was personally excited about.
"Science is a really powerful brand that no other entertainment property is trying to grab," said Wright, after complaining that modern chemistry sets "are so nerfed that you could probably eat all the stuff and it wouldn't make you feel sick".
Amazing scenes. We love Will Wright, and we love Spore. If you don't believe us, check out Kieron's Creature Creator review.