Will Wright has said that Maxis wanted to emulate the critical and commercial success of The Sims 2 with new game Spore, rather than making something to rival the highest-ranked games ever released in the eyes of reviewers.
"We were very focused, if anything, on making a game for more casual players," Wright, who is Maxis' chief engineer and one of its co-founders, 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."
Spore's current Metacritic average is 87 based on 20 reviews, the lowest of which is Wired's 7/10, which concluded that "Spore tries to be all things to all people - a strategy that never quite works out the way it's supposed to", arguing that behind the "occasionally mind-boggling tricks that Spore pulls", "you're left with very simplistic gameplay".
For our part, we gave Spore 9/10 in our review, pointing out that the relentlessly comic, surprisingly deep space-exploration game at its heart overwhelmed our early disappointment with the first four stages, and that the interaction with other players' online worlds enlivens the game in a way that not much else can match.
As for Wright, he also said that he currently plays the space stage as several different species using different saved games, and enjoys the way they interact.
However, he did not comment on whether he's got a Flapyak in Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise yet, or whether he renames his Sprinkling woman or just hits her with a spade for being totally useless all the time like we do.