He's referred to his latest project as a 'massively single-player online game' - but despite the failure of The Sims Online, Will Wright has hinted that Spore could evolve into an MMO experience.
Speaking to Eurogamer at Maxis HQ in San Francisco, Wright explained that Spore was designed to fill the "interesting space of hybrids" between existing offline single-player and online multiplayer games.
"There was nothing between the two," he said, adding that Spore will cater to this space "where you have a lot of players connected through content, but it's not synchronous: it's asynchronous interactions."
In Spore users, can create and share content with other players online, and the game universe will be populated by creatures made by other gamers, which Wright sees as one of the big draws of the MMO genre:
"The biggest benefit I saw from that was the possibility of having a collaboratively built world, that's huge and always surprising," he explained. "So for Spore we tried to figure out, how do we get the best aspects of a massively-multiplayer game without all these huge design limitations?"
The Sims Online, Wright's first attempt at the MMO genre, launched in 2002 but was eventually shut down after it failed to achieve sufficient success. Wright added: "When you design a massively-multiplayer online game you have to bite off a lot of major design limitations, like nobody can pause the game, nobody can cheat, you usually have to pay a subscription.
"I think a lot of these limitations were what sank The Sims Online: we didn't have enough user-created content; to a lot of the people that were playing The Sims, the idea of paying a subscription was a really big filter - a lot didn't even have credit cards."
However, with the advances in technology featured in Spore, as well as the lesson learned from The Sims Online, Wright believes that turning his new IP into an MMO is certainly one option on the table, stating: "That's not to say that one day we might not do a massively-multiplayer online version of it, but it's just not the most interesting initial unveiling of it for me."
Spore releases on PC and DS in Europe on 5th September. The full, exclusive interview with Wright is available on Eurogamer today.