Sims creator Will Wright used his speech on the last day of the Game Developers Conference to unveil his latest project, Spore, which has gamers guide an organism from its beginnings as a single cell right through to an eventual quest for intergalactic domination - in a completely user-defined manner.
The enormously ambitious project splits gameplay into six distinct stages, beginning as players take control of a single-cell organism in a tidal pool, where the idea is to fight and consume other creatures in a Pac-Man-esque freeform environment to help give the organism shape.
The scale then changes as the creature moves through various phases, which draw upon a large number of genres paying homage to Wright's favourite games - so much so that he even likened the project to Nintendo's mini-game collection Wario Ware. As the game moves on, the creature evolves in line with the player's decisions.
The other of the six stages are Evolution (which sees your creature take shape, and you go out from home and battle other creatures to strengthen yourself), Tribal (which takes on an RTS approach as you control a whole tribe), City (where you build up technology and infrastructure, Sim City-style), Civ (where you seek out other cultures around the world and try to conquer the planet) and Invasion.
The latter is the ultimate sandbox stage where players strike out into the solar system, colonise and make contact with other civilisations.
And it's here that one of the more ingenious elements of Wright's creation comes into play - the online community. Although there's no head-to-head multiplayer, Wright says Spore will log itself on and populate your burgeoning game world with other players' creations - and theirs with yours.
Since there are only basic predefined assets, with most of the game world populated by creations that have either been designed by you or come about because of your actions, the overall experience for everyone is almost entirely defined by users.
Given the amount of data flying around, Wright's even taken the step of involving members of the European demo community, which focuses on achieving impressive technical feats using minute amounts of programming.
A full unveiling of the currently PC based title is planned for E3. And, despite growing enormously bored of The Sims over the course of 478 instalments, Will Wright's Spore is starting to sound like one of the most exciting prospects at the show.
Source - 1UP.com