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Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced 86

Posted by Soulskill
from the say-what-now dept.
Today Electronic Arts announced Darkspore, an action RPG in development from Maxis that is inspired by Spore's creature creator technology. The game is due to launch in February 2011, and a teaser is available on the official website. A more descriptive video is available from EA's live demo (start at 8:25). Quoting Joystiq: "...Darkspore will let up to three players traverse 'several' planets cooperatively, and while there will be PvP in the finished product, Maxis isn't providing details just yet. The basics will be the same whether going in solo or as a team: You'll be able to choose from a number (again, no specifics yet) of pre-created melee, ranged and support creatures that can have their stats and abilities augmented by equipment. ... When choosing to beam down from your starship to a planet, you will see a lineup of enemy types that you'll encounter. This gives you and your friends enough information to decide which three characters from your collection you'll want to deploy. The trio can then be switched between on the fly, albeit with a brief cool-down period afterward. The idea is to use the characters' various abilities strategically against what the Left 4 Dead-inspired 'AI director' decides to toss your way."
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Spore-Inspired Action RPG Darkspore Announced

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  • by RenHoek (101570) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @03:27AM (#32974770) Homepage

    If it really takes after Spore, galaxy upon galaxy, planets filled with walking cockmonsters..

    I got yer PvP right here buddy...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @03:31AM (#32974790)

    Maxis please for the love of everything good in gaming make Simcity 5.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      With the craptasticy SC4 I'm not sure I'd want to see it come to the light of day.

      • What didn't you like about SC4? The transportation systems, and that you could click on a building and see all the commuter routes, were awesome. It seemed like a worthy successor to SC2000 to me.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          The city area was far too small, even with the neigbouring cities, and laying highways was horrible.

          Apart from that, I wish they'd make a more detailed economical simulation. For example, if the industrial zone has a car factory, it needs to import steel, right? And that should prompt someone to make a steel mill to manufacture it in the city, undercutting imports by price, helping the factory make more profits, and generating tax revenue. Similarly, a burger place needs to get raw materials from somewhere,

          • I agree that the area was too small -- I'd really like to have several cities with full transportation/economy simulation on a single map. Your ideas on a more detailed economy sound a bit like Transport Tycoon (and related games) -- I guess SimCity could work with a similar model, even though the player influence is only indirect.

            Modern machines are fast, but SC4s simulation engine -- the transportation engine in particular -- can still slow down a fast computer down to a crawl. Too bad SimCity 4 isn't mul

        • by Abstrackt (609015)
          What I didn't like about SC4 was the level of micromanagement it required. In SC2K you could actually walk away for an hour and you'd still have a decent city when you came back. In SC4 however, the whole economy would tank if you forgot to pause it while you were out taking a leak. Of course, making a custom building that provides enough power for every town on the grid and has a ridiculously negative pollution level certainly makes things easier!
          • I liked that! SC2000 just stopped feeling like a challenge. If I can walk away from a game for an hour and it be fine when I get back, what would have been the point of me sitting in front of it?

          • It really wasn't that bad. The only thing that really required micromanagement was the funding of individual schools and hospitals. That really was handled poorly; both should have defaulted to auto-adjusted funding according to the number of pupils/patients, with some kind of manual setting in cases where you do want to override. The economy was pretty stable if you build the city in a sustainable way... Of course if e.g. pollution is continually rising, you can't expect things to go smoothly while running

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Really I couldn't figure it out. I enjoy sc, sc2, sc3, but sc4 for lack of a better word always rubbed me the wrong way and I've tried several times to replay it over the last few years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by moonbender (547943)

        Not sure what you don't like about SC4, but its reception was quite positive. It certainly improved on SC3k in many ways. Of course it's difficult to repeat the jump from the original SimCity to SimCity 2000. SimCity 2000 was just stunning at the time (for a 12 year old, at least).
        Anyway, I really want to see a SimCity 5 with an improved transportation model (the heart of a city sim), a better representation of regions; ideally with modding capabilties up there with Civ4. As far as I understand it, SC4 wasn

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zedrick (764028)
      What for? Sim City 2000 is perfect, they should come up with new ideas instead of trying to remake games that can't be improved anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nyctopterus (717502)

        SC2000 was a great game, probably the best (that or Civ2) , but of course it can be improved!

        - Not being able to build on hills always seemed silly, and ruined the looks of many cities.
        - Commercial buildings were too short, you never got the feeling of skyscrapers popping up, that was a shame.
        - The rail network would have been more fun if you could put different sized stations in, and trains couldn't turn at right angles
        - The maps were too small, limiting gameplay (one you go

      • There are so many ways to improve SC2k (and SC4), it's not even funny. And I'm talking about raw gameplay here, not graphics. Whether it's a good business idea -- Maxis feels that SC4 is already too complex -- is another matter.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      The problem with the SimCity games (haven't played to latest versions, so maybe this has changed) was always that a city completely lacked a sense of *history*. It took me right out of the game. A building would be a skyscraper one minute, a small shop the next minute, and the same skyscraper again a minute after that. In the real world, buildings decay and are sometimes torn down, but a given neighborhood maintains *much* more consistency and history than any "city" in SimCity (where a lot can house severa
      • by mobets (101759)

        This was improved upon. In SC4 if a building became too big for the current demand, it would be replaced with a half broken version of itself. If there was a large surge in demand in that area, it might upgrade itself, but you usually had to bulldoze it yourself.

  • As good as Spore? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gravos (912628) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @03:52AM (#32974852) Homepage
    Wow, I hope this will be as good as Spore!

    Oops, just kidding.
    • by lxs (131946) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:54AM (#32975076)

      Now you can do more than make penis-creatures. You can attack them too.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        Or make a walking vagina, attack it with a penis-creature, and post an animated gif to various imageboards.

        Coming to think of it, I suspect that at least some tabloids will do just this: "Maxis releases rape simulator!"

    • Spore was pretty amazing in what it attempted and to a degree what it accomplished. For a very creatively restrictive company like EA (who much rather churn out formulaic sequels from existing franchises) it was in some ways pretty ground breaking. What amazed me most about the game is it had my girlfriend and probably countless other casual gamers playing a real time strategy and later a basic space trader. Proving that if the marketing and presentation are done right, you might be able to break casual
      • They are still creatively restrictive. Unless you happen to be Will Wright. Who else would try to hype up a game by putting Todd McFarlane, R.A. Salvatore, and Ken Rolston on the team? My first thought was "seriously? Todd McFarlane?"
  • Not an RPG (Score:4, Informative)

    by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @03:59AM (#32974870) Homepage
    While the PC-xbox-what have you market may have hijacked the term "role playing game" for its own profit, it doesn't represent any actual role playing, which is where you sit around a table with your friends and pretend to be a someone or something else to whatever depth you feel comfortable. And until you have near reality physics engines and near human AI, as well as full facial/vocal/auditory interaction, you won't get that (really really fun) experience either.
    • Re:Not an RPG (Score:4, Insightful)

      by azaris (699901) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:06AM (#32974896) Journal
      RPG nowadays means: Follow pre-scripted whiny one-dimensional stereotypes run around cliched worlds fulfilling repetitive fetch quests while having a tenuous chance at actually changing the course of events at one or two specific points in the plot.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Japher (887294)
        So basically D&D, but in your own basement instead of your friends?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GigaplexNZ (1233886)
        RPG erroneously seems to be defined as "upgradeable stats" whether it is by leveling up or equipping better items. I'm also curious how modelling this game after the space era of Spore with precreated uneditable creatures is inspired from the creature creator...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          RPG erroneously seems to be defined as "upgradeable stats" whether it is by leveling up or equipping better items.

          Thats not a bad description of the original D&D actually, which was itself an offshoot of tabletop wargaming. Now you can get that sort of experience from a computer game, since its mostly mechanics, what you are capable of doing is quite limited within the confines of the game. More recent tabletop RPGs however are a completely different level of enjoyment, not even for the amateur theatrics but for the endless possibilities they offer. Like a particular book or movie? Spend a few hours setting up a wo

          • by Rogerborg (306625)
            Good call. The "role playing" element of D&D (basic!) was virtually non-existent. We're talking about a game with so little choice that it had "elf" and "dwarf" as character classes.
            • Those were races. D&D Basic had the four basic classes. The role playing aspect was up to the DM and the players. If the DM wanted it to be super basic, then there would be few options, and the only real workable combat would be using the weapon in hand. A more creative group can use coercion, negotiation, bluffing,and if in combat, their surroundings to complete any encounter.

              The scope of what can be done in the game goes way beyond that, but I will stop there.

            • Yes, and that was almost 35 years ago. The game's changed a bit since then.

        • by Eudial (590661)

          The problem is that while most RPGs have "upgradeable stats", and they're indeed almost required to have an RPG, it does not go the other way around. Just because something has "upgradeable stats" doesn't make it a RPG. The same way having wheels doesn't make something a car, even though all cars have wheels.

        • by slyrat (1143997)

          RPG erroneously seems to be defined as "upgradeable stats" whether it is by leveling up or equipping better items. I'm also curious how modelling this game after the space era of Spore with precreated uneditable creatures is inspired from the creature creator...

          Yeah, no kidding! I thought the actual creature phase with the running around and combat was really neat. I was hoping for something bigger with similar ideas. A 3d Evo [wikipedia.org] was really what I had hoped for, and this new one doesn't seem to do that either...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by popo (107611)

        For the most part, I agree. Although property ownership, economics models, in-game reputation, character types, race, etc. play increasing roles. Freeform exploration is also a major plus.

        Morrowind imho did a great job re: character types and freeform exploration. (Oblivion less so, imho because the world was more homogenous/uniform -- but that's just me, and many would disagree).

        To date, no game has come close to Baldur's Gate II in my opinion. Where choice of party-members radically altered in-game c

      • by Aceticon (140883)

        Modern RPGs are still Role Play Games:
        - You play the role of a Courier
        - You play the role of a Pest Control Man (Dwarf/Elf/Whatever)
        and if you're lucky you can even play the role of a junior hero in training tasked with dealing with all the pesky details real heroes don't worry about.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        As opposed to the more real environs of Jimmy's basement, eating the pizzeria rolls his mom made, while he reads from a piece of cardboard and several losers pretend that a glorified series of dice roles represents something meaningful in their lives? Yes, I can see where a mere videogame would pale in comparison to that awesome experience.
        • Meh, tabletop wargaming goes back centuries, you can find debates on things like initiative rolls from the 19th century, and it was traditionally an upper class pastime as well. Roleplaying is one offshoot of that, beginning with D&D, which in turn spawned games like WoW, which are fine as far as they go, but it also created a new emergent phenomenon, combining ad libbing with organised game mechanics. Its a very different experience to computer gaming, not neccessarily better or worse, but different an
    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      RPG has always been a term that covered a multitude of sins, though. My own experience of pen & paper or tabletop gaming is relatively limited (though by no means non-existant), but I can't help but feel that you are romanticising things here (and being a bit hard on CRPGs). I have certainly participated in pen & paper games that have been nowhere near the depth or sophistication of something like Dragon Age (or even of the average Final Fantasy game in some cases). Epic free-roaming campaigns do ex

    • Re:Not an RPG (Score:4, Interesting)

      by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @05:04AM (#32975120) Homepage

      While the PC-xbox-what have you market may have hijacked the term "role playing game" for its own profit, it doesn't represent any actual role playing, which is where you sit around a table with your friends and pretend to be a someone or something else to whatever depth you feel comfortable. And until you have near reality physics engines and near human AI, as well as full facial/vocal/auditory interaction, you won't get that (really really fun) experience either.

      Um, wow. Welcome to 20 years ago.

      Seriously guys, we're limited by the technology. There's a reason CRPGs and JRPGs are what they are -- it's just not feasible to make the kind of experiences you are asking for. Consider Mass Effect or Dragon Age, games that have hundreds of thousands of pages of text. Even they feel "railroady" at times. You can't join the villain, after all, because they didn't have an extra 5 years to write, script, draw, program, etc that scenario and the 500 sub-scenarios involved.

      Ask again in 20 years when the idea of having a true AI (or 100) in a computer RPG will be possible, and we're seeing "The Elder Scrolls 8" with actual open ended, emergent gameplay. When you don't have to have a human writing each line of text, then the ability to "role play" becomes a lot more feasable.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Seriously guys, we're limited by the technology.

        The only technology I need to enjoy a better RPG experience is a pencil, paper, and some dice. Don't get me wrong, computer games are great, MMO games even better, but its a very different sort of experience.

      • by azaris (699901)

        Seriously guys, we're limited by the technology. There's a reason CRPGs and JRPGs are what they are -- it's just not feasible to make the kind of experiences you are asking for. Consider Mass Effect or Dragon Age, games that have hundreds of thousands of pages of text. Even they feel "railroady" at times. You can't join the villain, after all, because they didn't have an extra 5 years to write, script, draw, program, etc that scenario and the 500 sub-scenarios involved.

        That's the problem with modern games. They assume the player needs to be inundated with pages upon pages of mediocre fantasy guff to keep them engrossed in what is otherwise a plastic and unconvincing game world that has an economy entirely run on monster loot.

        Make the game world logical if not realistic, fill it with NPCs that act like you would expect them to, and allow the PCs to act in meaningful ways with them. The players imagination can fill in the gaps and come up with a great story. Darklands mig

      • by Zarhan (415465)

        Seriously guys, we're limited by the technology. There's a reason CRPGs and JRPGs are what they are -- it's just not feasible to make the kind of experiences you are asking for. Consider Mass Effect or Dragon Age, games that have hundreds of thousands of pages of text. Even they feel "railroady" at times. You can't join the villain, after all, because they didn't have an extra 5 years to write, script, draw, program, etc that scenario and the 500 sub-scenarios involved.

        Try Fallout 1&2 sometime. You can

    • by smcn (87571)

      Imagination is a good thing, but it doesn't replace a complete audio/visual experience. No one would ever leave their house if it did.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Yeah, well in *my* day, we had *real* swordfights. Until there is the real threat of death, you won't get that (really really *really* fun) experience either.
  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @04:09AM (#32974902)
    ... Had me saying "I'm not buying it," that is. Sorry, but I'm not gonna put up with restrictive DRM and I'm not paying out extra for DLC. Even if this game doesn't have any of that, I'll still not buy it until EA starts making that the standard for their games. I generally avoid their games, since nothing has come out from them even remotely recently that interests me in the least bit, and while this does look cool (as did Spore) I'm playing two really good and well made online CCG's that are truly free, as in beer, and tons of fun. Give me a small company, making a small game that's just fun and nothing else and I'm satisfied.
    • Hey calm down, if you pay attention to what EA's been doing lately, they're not as restrictive and all that as they were pegged out to be. An example is their Bad Company 2 game, which launched with SecuROM that they intended to (and did) remove two weeks after the game released. Even further than that, they're even coming out with a fully fledged expansion to that game in Vietnam. No pay for extra maps here, this is actualyl original content that wasn't stripped from the game. If you wanna bitch at a compa
      • by Svartalf (2997)

        The only reason they backed down from things is the uproar [theregister.co.uk] and being pilloried [penny-arcade.com] over what they did with Spore.

        Don't kid yourself. They'd like to be that restrictive- because they went there and would've stayed there if consumers hadn't have so thoroughly rejected what they pulled.

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        So, it's not rape if you pull out once you've had your fun?
    • FYI, on the video, they say that you can install it on as many PCs as you want. I don't know what other DRM provisions there are though. It may be just as simple as a CD check.

      • by Sarius64 (880298)

        FYI, on the video, they say that you can install it on as many PCs as you want. I don't know what other DRM provisions there are though. It may be just as simple as a CD check.

        I never purchased or played Spore because of the DRM. I'd rather not play a PC game than install DRM, especially one that requires network connectivity.

    • Its a real shame that these small studios were gobbled up by the corporate monsters. Back in the day we had Sierra, Maxis, Blizzard, Origin, and loads of other awesomeness. Now we have....EA, Activision, Ubisoft? Here's to hoping smaller successful startup companies like S2 continue to prosper, saving us from our corporate overlords.

    • by xenapan (1012909)
      I know its off topic but I'm dying to get links to these CCGs you mentioned. I'm a long time MTG player that quit after spending too much. Havent found a decent CCG since I stopped.
      • I linked them to another poster further down, but as an ex-MTG player, you'll want to look up Elements [elementsthegame.com] card game. Urban Rivals [urban-rivals.com] takes some getting used to, but once you get down to the nitty gritty there's a lot going on there, strategy-wise.
  • Like a rather desperate attempt to repurpose the rather nice technology they developed for a rather poor game and make it saleable.

  • "...Darkspore will let up to three players (With the multiplayer DLC plugin) traverse 'several' planets cooperatively. More planets will be available as DLC over the life of the game..." "..You'll be able to choose from a number of pre-created melee, ranged and support creaturesthat can have their stats and abilities augmented by equipment you can buy in the EA store for 'Sporecredits' (paypal, Visa, American Express accepted)..." "...The idea is to use the characters' various abilities strategically aga
    • by Issarlk (1429361)
      That was a FTFY of the summary. I believe the actual game won't be too far from that depiction.
  • My first thought (since its based on spore) was you'd build completely custom creatures from the creature creator and then fight in a co-op game. Sounded like it had potential as players would race to create inventive designed and show them off to each other. That could be quite fun and different.

    Then I read the summary and saw you would just be choosing from a handful of canned classes and some upgradable stats. While this isn't a horrible idea, its hardly a new one or really that interesting and I was imm

  • by twoallbeefpatties (615632) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @10:46AM (#32977826)
    Oh my god, I've just had a disturbing philosophical question - what if we're already in an RTS? What if the gods each spawn their own planets, raise their own creatures from cellular organisms all the way up, have them spawn and research technologies, and then lead them out to attack each other? The only reason we haven't seen any aliens yet is because the gods are playing, "15 millenia no rush gl hf!"
  • by Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) on Wednesday July 21, 2010 @11:52AM (#32978730) Journal

    Based on what EA did to C&C 4 - basically destroying the original concept of the C&C franchise - i.e. no tiberium harvesting and base building, I can only imagine that this will also be worse than the original Spore.

    EA - frankly you are the worst software company in the world because you buy great software companies and take great games written by them - and slowly destroy the games.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      I can only imagine that this will also be worse than the original Spore.

      Is that even possible?
    • by Anpheus (908711)

      You forgot about Activision. I think at this point it's a race to the bottom, and Bobby Kotick is winning.

  • Evolva? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I remember a game called "Evolva" sort of like this... 3 guys you controlled with different skills.

  • Somehow, "dark" and "PvP" doesn't quite mesh with "let's dumb everything down because I'd rather your mom play it for 10 minutes than you play it for 100 hours." I'll believe it when I see it. And when I see it, I'll scoff at the $30 "part packs."

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