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News of Spore Delay Miscommunication 114

Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs blog reports that the much-anticipated title Spore has been pushed back yet again from its tentative release in 2008. That's right: it's now delayed until 2009. Just to remind you, Spore was announced at GDC 2005. They have some commentary on the delay: "When you see a live demo, it's pretty much the same demo everyone sees. It may look like the whole thing is off the cuff, but in reality you're seeing a carefully scripted show. It's possible giant chunks of the game are missing, and the illusion of the title being near completion is mostly smoke and mirrors. With a game this open-ended, it's possible the development team is running into a slew of unforeseen problems." Update: 06/21 07:24 GMT by Z : Unfortunately, there's been some miscommunication here. The previous announcement of Spore's delay already included the possibility of the game not shipping until 2009. EA's fiscal year ends in March, with fiscal 2009 running from the end of this next year into the beginning of the year after. Next Generation clarifies the issue.
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News of Spore Delay Miscommunication

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  • Obv. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dragon of the Pants ( 913545 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:12PM (#19585545) Homepage
    [Obligatory comparison to Duke Nukem Forever]
  • Should spend more time on spore and less on chessy sim city and sims ports!
    • The only project Will Wright touches at EA currently is Spore. The Sims team is a completely seperate entity, and the Sim City project was outsourced entirely.

      What is probably going on here is that they are either finding a way to inject actual subjective gameplay into the game, to give it more structure for those who don't "get" sandbox games. Or they're looking find a way for EA to limit it in some way so they can release addons at later dates and turn it into a milkable franchise (which it's current de
      • by timster ( 32400 )
        Nah... my speculation is that what's happening here is that they've developed all this grand vision stuff, and put it together... and it didn't work. Not that the technology wasn't there but that it didn't work as a game. With something that has such a large scope it's easy to end up with an excessively loose experience that feels more like using a spreadsheet than playing God.

        At this point, they've thrown so much money into the project that they're falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy, trying to find
        • Nothing could possible hurt EA, and even Will Wright, more than to abandon one of the most highly anticipated titles ever. It's often considered the sole bastion of innovation at an otherwise super-conservative company. To lose that would be to destroy EAs best and perhaps only chance at redeeming themselves in eyes of gamers.

          Besides, they're literally creating 5-6 games at once. Having it take a long time/lots of money isn't necessarily unexpected or unwarranted. Disappointing perhaps, but understandable.
          • Re:Will Wright... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by timster ( 32400 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:51PM (#19587083)
            I'll tell you what would hurt more than abandoning it -- working on it for another year and then releasing a bad game. Now, I'm a big fan of Will Wright's previous games, and I'm sure hoping that Spore will be great, but lots of great game designers have made really bad games in the past.

            Remember Daikatana? It's possible to delay a bad game again and again, and still end up releasing a bad game. If EA can't make Spore into a good game, it would still be better to cancel it.
            • I'll give you that. Serves me right for making an absolute and exclusive statement like that.
            • Don't forget about Black & White as another game that was delayed, delayed, delayed, and was just not a good game at all when it was released...


              • Don't forget about Black & White as another game that was delayed, delayed, delayed, and was just not a good game at all when it was released...

                And, yet, if you think about what they tried to do with Black & White, you realize that in some ways the model used in it is the precursor to the Wii method of game play - admittedly fatally flawed by the use of a mouse instead of a Nunchuk and Wii-mote.

                I would love to see B&W done right for the Wii, and by done right I mean bug-free and totally reset.

              • Are you being serious, or sarcastic? (Honest question - I never played it, but ISTR for some reason it getting really positive reviews.)

                • Serious... the game starts out great... was really well hyped, and had a lot of potential

                  Then... you realize that you've basically played the whole thing after the tutorial... it's just lots of repetition of the exact same things over and over... The pet training didn't really work too well... the control system got horribly annoying quickly...

                  Not to mention, there was a game stopping bug in one of the games missions at release...


            • by crivens ( 112213 )
              Luckily Will Wright != John Romero.
          • I could be wrong, and I'm too lazy to go look it up, but I'm guessing that plenty of things could hurt them more. Major whammies to the Madden, NBA, or NFS franchise would greatly diminish that huge pile of money they sleep comfortably on. With cash cows like those, they haven't needed to be innovative.

            I guess it depends on whether you call all those console owning, 'I'll buy every Madden that comes down the pike', folks "gamers".

            I do agree with you that EA generally stinks. . .
        • I'm going to agree with you. They had to have found something wrong with the very core of the game.

          Their fiscal year ends in April 09. So something big had to go wrong so that 9 months isn't enough time to fix it.
          • Their fiscal year ends in April 09. So something big had to go wrong so that 9 months isn't enough time to fix it.

            Or maybe they are just trying to manipulate the books or the stock price, trying to push the expected profits into the next fiscal year.

  • Spore (Score:2, Funny)

    We have a new contender for vaporware that may be able to challenge Duke Nuke'em Forever. Spore Forever!
  • didn't see that one coming.
  • This fuels my fear that Spore will be another in a long line of games that sound absolutely fantastic in terms of potential, but end up terribly disappointing. I'm excited as hell about Spore and I'm hoping that the release push-back just represents an intent to release the game only when its potential has been realised. Blizzard tends to have this attitude (although they're smart enough not to talk release dates until they're pretty solid) so hope springs eternal.

    Still, on balance, I'd prefer that a g
    • by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:32PM (#19585941) Homepage
      Spore isn't going to be one more disappointing game. From my grasp of the demo it's going to be 9 more disappointing games and some loose connective tissue.
    • Something that will really be a problem with these extended delays is that Spore could potentially drop off my map. I'm generally really hyped about Spore and I'd almost be willing to give my first born child (if ever that happens...) to play it now.

      So you delay the game and I want the bugs to come out so it's fine. Delay it again and I suppose there's more unforeseen problems. Another delay and I say "it's Maxis so they want to get it right." Eventually, the news gets old and I see it as "oh, big surpri
    • Ok, so we've all watched the demo, and went "ooh, I'd love that game". The problem I see is that Will tipped his hand a bit too early -- the ideas were there in creating a SimEverything to model the development of an entire species.

      Given that, what kind of legal recourse now exists if an independent programming firm were to take some of the ideas of Spore - trading card objects, automatic content sharing, point-based evolution - and code their own Evolution game? Since Spore hasn't been released, what kin
      • Since Spore hasn't been released, what kind of copyrights currently exist given that it's not a salable product?

        Since the principle of evolution is hardly subject to copyright and there's ample prior art in terms of games that involve the progression of species/civilisations, presumably another firm could produce such a game with impunity. I suspect that they'd only run into issues if they produced a product that was unreasonably close (or identical) to assets within the game, such as visual appearance, logos, and so on. Historically, the gaming sphere is so used to "clones" that I think copyright really doesn't s

      • by Kelbear ( 870538 )
        It's pretty open and shut.

        Creative patented a method of shadow rendering.

        John Carmack actually figured out how to DO it, and even implemented it in Doom 3.

        John hasn't got a chance to win so instead he agrees to include Creative and EAX in Doom 3 even though he intended to just leave it out since the engine itself can already do audio environment. He'd already announced as much that the soundcard is unnecessary. He prefers open formats, hence Doom 3 supporting OpenGL, and not needing EAX. Anyway, he had to a
    • by antic ( 29198 )
      Starting to sound a lot like Ginger AKA Segway AKA overpriced nerd transporter.
    • One word: Warcraft Adventures
    • by balthan ( 130165 )
      Seems like another Black & White in the making.
  • Notice the summary only mentions the second of the three guesses in the referenced article. At least try and give some kind of balance.
  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister,sketch&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:18PM (#19585673)
    The fiscal year for EA begins in April, so this is really April 2008.
    • by rm999 ( 775449 )
      Well, it is really "at earliest" April 2008. But, as we all know, deadlines are usually made unreasonably optimistic for political reasons. And, the more a game gets pushed back, the more chances one of the following will happen:
      -it will get pushed back another time
      -it will never even come out
      -it will be disappointing

      This perception is why I think optimistic deadlines are a bad idea. When a game ships earlier than expected, people only love it more.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by C64 ( 130005 )
      So we should expect an April 1st, 2008 release?
  • fiscal year (Score:2, Informative)

    by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 )
    That's a misnomer. EA's fiscal year ends march 31st. So the question is when does the year start? Meaning does fiscal 2008 start April 2007? If that's the case it's still tentative for 2008. The ever-so-fiscally savvy blog doesn't mention anything pertaining to this.

    And when the fuck are we taking news off of blogs and not trade pubs?
    • Because there wasn't a link to the Game Informer with this news?

      Although, that's a surprising twist... Game Informer getting a couple of scoops this issue (new DNF picture being another one).

      2008. The year the Games Industry flipped out.
    • So the question is when does the year start? Meaning does fiscal 2008 start April 2007?

      Yes. This article about EA's financial reports [] refers to "Fiscal Year 2007" and explicitly states that it ended on March 31, 2007.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by mgabrys_sf ( 951552 )
      And before you mod this "redundant" check the times between me and the above post. Same damn time!

      Cool! This happen often?
  • by CaseM ( 746707 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:27PM (#19585857)
    I don't mean just about this game, specifically, but how many times are we shown a pre-rendered video or told a "target" release date for the sole purpose of keeping our interest piqued for a game that hasn't even a remote chance of getting out on time (i.e. Spore) or never looking like that (the PS3 pre-renders a couple of E3's ago)...and we never learn.
    • by Altus ( 1034 )

      What I wonder is what advantage this actually gains the game publisher. I mean I understand vaporware in applications where you might go off and buy someone else's spreadsheet instead of waiting for the new Excel with new crazy cell coloring or something.

      But its not like they would have lost out if they waited to announce this. I mean, its not like I'm going to hear about a game due out 2 years from now and think "well, Id better not buy any new games till that comes out."

      I feel like the games industry co
    • by Chyeld ( 713439 )
      We learn, it's just that certain groups have far more 'leeway' when pulling that then others.

      If Peter Molyneux had announced Spore back in 2005, it'd alreay be out now. The only problem is, it'd be a crappy PacMan clone as all he'd ever actually get into the game would be the first "cellular evolution" portion. Or if it hadn't been released yet, I'd expect a 10 hour game on rails where each 'mini-game' could be beat in less than an hour by a five year old. The sandbox end game would only let you access plan
  • It's a huge game from a huge name, and if EA is hoping to piggy-back a big announcement using the buzz of the game's release, it could be a good business decision to let the game sit for a while.

    Someone should let EA know that buzz isn't a fixed quantity. You think you have it one day, and then in 2 years buzz depreciates into "just another game."

    • It's worse actually. If you actually try to keep the buzz up for several years straight, pretty much by making an even more over-the-top claim periodically, you end up with one (or both of):

      1. guaranteed disappointment, as the game can't possibly match the increasingly outrageous claims. See, B&W.

      2. backlash, as people get fed up with the hype and pretty much start developping an allergy to it. See, Daikatana.
      • I definitely fall into category 2 right now. I so sick of hearing about spore that can pretty much guarantee that I will not purchase the game if it is ever released. I guess it's one of those shit or get off the pot moments.
  • by wooden pickle ( 1006975 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:31PM (#19585923)
    My guess is that Spore will just end up being a mini-game in Duke Nukem Forever.
  • The problem is the game was too ambitious to start off with. I bet they got to the point in development when they realized all this freedom is really hard to develop and implement. Now were going to see a game where it seems like they cut off our leg and we just walk in circles.
  • I don't care if they keep pushing it out as long as it's worth the wait. There have been too many examples of games that were totally destroyed because the publisher/developer demanded holding firm to an unrealistic release date. One of the most well known was that abomination called Ultima: Ascension that still was unplayeable even after several patches. EA demanded that it be released about 1 year before it should have been in order to meet the Christmas market for that year, and what a piece of sh!t t
    • Agreed. To counter the Duke-Nukem effect, I'm hoping that Team Fortress 2 ends up as good as it's looking right now. That game has been in the works forever, and what we're seeing about it today is way different much of what they've shown of it in the past, but it looks very cool now.

      And that's a sequel to a game that at its core has a very simple and well-developed core (FPS). Spore is looking to be something rather different than anything before it in scope, so I'd imagine (hope) that they're having to th
  • by CockroachMan ( 1104387 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:49PM (#19586205)
    "A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever."
  • I remember promises of what Fable was going to be and even looking back at screens that were taken nearly two years before its release. The game looked complete then, but what I played (while still awesome) wasn't what i had originally expected. It was extremely ambitious for its time. Most of what was promised or speculated to be in there was included in the final product, but the way it panned out in-game didn't feel as much of a free-will type of deal. This isn't my gripe about Fable, but merely my predi
    • I just hope+pray that it doesn't ever become Outpost incomplete. Talk about a boxed prealpha.
    • Peter Monileux (Fable) is notorious for over-promising with every game.

      Will Wright (Spore) generally delivers, but it could take a very long time--from all I've heard through industry connections, the technology for Spore just isn't there yet.
      • but it could take a very long time--from all I've heard through industry connections, the technology for Spore just isn't there yet.

        Maybe they should just port it to the PS3, I mean, hey, if there is one thing Cells should be good at, its making Spores work.
    • Same thing for Oblivion. The trailers were awesome, the AI was touted to be super smart. I mean people.. burning their own dogs.. WOOT!. Hundreds of archers with flaming arrows defending a city! cool! And yet... it was such a disappointment :(
  • Sweet! Now the computer that I just built to handle the latest generation of games has plenty of time to become obsolete before Spore comes out.

    Now... where'd I leave that noose?
    • by robaal ( 1019298 )
      You do know that other PC games besides Spore will be released in the mean time?

      It's also not like you won't be able to upgrade your video card and likely the CPU when it does come out, if you find your current hardware inadequate.
  • Good.

    Again, I repeat that I would rather a game like this be delayed until it's a good game, than rushed and buggy. Rushed and buggy seems pretty common these days, and if delaying until 2009 is what it takes to finish the game, then more power to them - I've got plenty of stuff to look forward to playing in the meantime.
  • As if anybody needed permission for that. Spore the next Sims? Self-delusion to the max! My guess is they playtested the thing and found nobody could make heads or tails of it. Spore is essentially a tech demo for procedural content generation algorithms.
  • ... to a game like this since I read the pre-release hype about Halo. Now I'm just waiting for MS to buy EA Games and make Spore Xbox360 only or Vista only (meaning I'll probably never buy it).
  • I vaguely recall that Spore was suppose to be some kind of big change in the way games are developed. Something about focus on letting users create the content, decrease the art assets needed, etc. Doesn't it use like procedural textures and whatnot? I guess maybe it hasn't turned out to be such a revolution on the development side after all. (For some reason I was always under the impression that Spore was suppose to have more of an impact on how games are made rather than on how games are played... maybe
    • I guess maybe it hasn't turned out to be such a revolution on the development side after all.

      The point of the procedural and user-driven content generation is that it allows them to create a really friggin' huge universe without having to create all of the assets for it. It still takes a lot of work to come up with methods that scale up without becoming repetitive and boring, but it can drastically expand the scope of the game. A huge free-roaming game today like GTA 4 or Oblivion is "only" about 16 squa
  • Be patient (Score:5, Funny)

    by naoursla ( 99850 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @06:33PM (#19587619) Homepage Journal
    These things take time to evolve.
  • Forever? Reminds me on Ultima 9...
  • Will Wright delivers.

    If it isn't ready, that's because it isn't ready.

    That said, Wii Sims (or Mii Sims for the Wii, aka Animal Crossing does Anime on the Wii) is still coming out in a month.

    I can live with that.

  • article is bogus (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @07:17PM (#19588143)
    EA says otherwise. []
  • by GaryPatterson ( 852699 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @07:29PM (#19588277)
    In an interview for GameBotherer magazine, Will Wright stated:

    Well, since we started Spore a lot's happened in the industry. XPSP2 came out, making PCs safe again, then Vista with all the DirectX-10 goodness and even Apple's relevant for gaming now. Hell - consoles are amazing these days! Have you seen what the PS3 can do? Sure it's a bugger to program for, but you've got like three or six or some other number of processors in that thing! We're just not sure what to develop for though - there are too many options now.

    We figure we should give it another three to five years and see which way the wind's blowing before committing to a release date. We'll probably rewrite the code a few times to pick up all the other platforms - PS3, Macs, Wii, Gamecube, Nintendo-64, Sega Megadrive, some toaster that Tim worked out how to program for and maybe, if we can find time and have nothing better to do, maybe Linux as well. But don't quote me on that last one.
    • by ezrec ( 29765 )
      What would be really funny is if the reason for the delay is that they're trying to port Spore from Linux - and they can't get the damned thing to work on Windows!
  • by Wiseman1024 ( 993899 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @08:15PM (#19588751)
    I guess 2009 will be most exciting year in computing history. Not only it'll be the year of the Linux desktop, but we'll see a simultaneous release of:

    - Spore
    - Duke Nukem Forever
    - GNU Hurd
    - Perl 6
    - PHP 6
    - Python 3000
    - Bytecode compiled Ruby
    • >Bytecode compiled Ruby

      Well that will happen way before 2009, the jruby guys probably will be the first.
      But for the rest I agree.
    • ... I'd never leave the house again.

      acts_as_predator, :includes => {:really_big_fangs}
      validates_number_of :limbs, :in => {6..MAX_INT}
      has_many :food_sources, :class_name => :human


      (It is so much more fun to write Rails jokes than Perl jokes. The only problem is that there is a two-year delay between when you run them and when people laugh...)
  • They could release an evoluting game thats a great concept.
    Each week they could release a patch to add features to the game.

    Or maybe the programmers are writing the code for the 32 cores with 128-bit Intel Core 4 with Windows Vista Reloaded 2
    you know just to be prepared... and what about DirectX 12?
    you didnt see that coming!!!!
    DAMN... another 5 years more....
    • evoluting
      "Man, in 1982, thats when the graffiti scene was just getting off the ground and hip hop was getting big, its just evoluted from there!" -strange man from Hartford
  • Apparently the article is just a bunch of "user generated procedural content", i.e. bullshit. c(-;


    EA: Spore Delay "Misinformation" []

    Reports that Electronic Arts' highly anticipated Spore has been further delayed are "misinformation," the publisher told Next-Gen today. ImageIt's one of the most anticipated games of today, and any word of further delay for Will Wright's Spore is sure to make headlines.

    But reports making rounds today are basically old news being made into "new" news, EA said.

  • Includes three seasons in the year 2008. We could see this game as early as May 2008.
  • In 20 years (Score:3, Funny)

    by 4D6963 ( 933028 ) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:44AM (#19591965)

    From the the Future of Games article : "In 20 years, players will look back at Will Wright's Spore as the game that ushered in the era of user-generated content."

    Heh, in 20 years, players will look at Will Wright's Spore and say, "Can't wait till it comes out!"

  • I'll consider getting a PS3 just to run this game. On paper and screen, Spore looks like the next addiction.

    Well - unless I get that next-gen iMac 24" that is..

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?