Eurogamer: Given the complexity and density of thought behind it, and the volumes of text written about it, Spore can come across as a bit pretentious and complicated. Is that the reality, or am I just alienating myself by reading too many interviews? What's the core experience for a simple gamer from a sunny corner of England?
Lucy Bradshaw: The great thing about Spore is that while the concept sounds complex it is actually pretty easy to play. With the Spore Creature Creator in particular people who try it for the first time find that within a few minutes they can design something pretty cool. We have spent a lot of time with focus groups to make sure that the implementation of these concepts throughout the entire game is really straight forward. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised once you get your hands on it!
Eurogamer: For the purposes of this question, let's say I'm not just a simple gamer from a sunny corner of England any more; I'm a big successful game developer competing with EA, competing with you. What am I going to look at when I buy Spore and envy? What am I going to want to change and adapt for my own work?
Lucy Bradshaw: Caryl Shaw and her community web team have done an amazing job implementing the social networking tools into the game. Their work is definitely different than anything the industry has seen. Sort of like Flickr, sort of like Facebook, they've managed to create a sense of community around playing Spore. The Spore Creature Creator really highlights this - allowing players create their own creatures, take them on a test drive, snap pictures, and make movies of them. Sharing pictures or videos with friends is as easy as the click of a button. Players can also share their creations with others by uploading to the Sporepedia at www.Spore.com. The Sporepedia is an extraordinarily vast online destination where people worldwide can search for and share Spore creations, comment on other player's designs, check out celebrity creature creations and much more.
Eurogamer: When you first began work on Spore, many years ago, the games market looked very different. If you'd had these conditions then, would you have done anything differently?
Lucy Bradshaw: Will's vision for Spore was, in large part, based on some of the conditions you speak of. The gaming audience today is incredibly active on the Internet; they are controlling their entertainment experience more than ever before. They are creating content on sites like YouTube and others. Our experience with SimCity and The Sims had picked up on this trend even when Will first started thinking about Spore. His goal was to push further into the territory of player-created content and player-enabled storytelling. The emphasis that the team has had on procedural content, in order to unlock even greater player creativity stems from this vision.
I'd say that one area that we definitely dug into further during development was building the Sporepedia right into the game. Making the sharing of content a much more visible and player involved feature. We were definitely influenced by the social networks that became so popular during the development of Spore on that front.
Eurogamer: Do you expect Spore to achieve the same kind of success as The Sims? Does EA?
Lucy Bradshaw: We hope so!
Eurogamer: Whether through marketing or naked truth, John Riccitiello's come across as a bit of a modern-day hero at EA since he joined, giving developers what they want and avoiding cynicism. How much of what happens in Corporate EA country penetrates the Spore team and how much is relevant to you?
Lucy Bradshaw: Giving developers the freedom to execute their artistic beliefs and take risks in game development is something that is definitely on the top of John's list. It's quality first. We're thrilled to have the opportunity to take the time needed to perfect our vision. We can't wait to ship this September!
Spore will be released for PC and Mac on 5th September. The Creature Creator is out now on the official Spore website.