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Spore Expansion Announced, Another Coming In 2009 105

EA announced this week what many suspected for a while, now: Spore expansions are on their way. The first, due out in November, will be an addition to the creature creator, offering more parts for players to use. The next, due in Spring 2009, will provide new gameplay: "The expansion will give space-faring species the ability to beam down from their ships to explore other worlds and complete missions. And along with this, the expansion will include an Adventure creator, in which players can build — and then share — their own customized missions."
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Spore Expansion Announced, Another Coming In 2009

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  • by WDot ( 1286728 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @08:59PM (#25393061)
    Personally I'm not interested until my creatures can have IKEA furniture and Starbucks coffee. Then again, given the rate at which EA expansion packs come out, I won't have to wait too long. ;)
    • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:03PM (#25393103) Journal

      EA announces "Rest of the game we deliberately removed so we could charge you for an expansion pack to be released." Barely a month after it was released.

      NO SALE! I'm done with mainstream gaming. I'm tired of being treated like a 24/7 ATM by these people.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not to mention the privilege of paying so that they can fuck up your computer.

      • Actually you're less 24/7 but more about 1/12 (once a month, every month).
      • Honestly, what makes indie games any different? If someone were to spend time creating addons for their game it's only due to greed if the creator is backed by a big corporation? Your cynicism suggests you should assume all addons are a insulting grab for money and swear off video games completly...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I don't know about indie games, but I bought Orange Box the day it came out and haven't had to spend a dime on all of the new weapons and maps for Team Fortress 2.

          Because of Valve's free add-ons, I haven't bothered with any company's FPS. Clearly, there are better ways to keep you playing their game than charging you for things that should have been in the release.
          • Er.. well excellent or something. Your post is only vaguely related to my previous post, but good for you for being a savvy consumer?
          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            Clearly, there are better ways to keep you playing their game than charging you for things that should have been in the release.

            Your mistake is thinking that EA wants you to happily play spore for years, unless there is a recurring revenue stream of course.

    • You'd think they would have made that sort of in-game advertising a number one priority. Interesting that you can't.
    • by Chemisor ( 97276 )

      Ah, yes. My lovely creatures lounging on IKEA furniture and sipping Starbucks coffee. Oh, drat, that expansion pack broke the nude patch again...

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:30PM (#25394097)

      Pft... I'd actually like to get Spore working before before I get any expansion. I bought the game and it played fine for three days without a hitch and then decided to give up on life and refuses to run for long before running into issues and crashing. EA's customer support has been dreadful and haven't even come close to a working resolution. I haven't played the game in over a month now and even though it wasn't the most enjoyable experience I managed to have a decent time with it. I'll probably never bother with it again.

      I can't foresee myself picking up any EA games in the future, even if it means missing out on some good titles. I might be tempted to pick up used copies of the console versions. It's probably the first time I've actually gone out of my way to buy used simply to deprive a company of any of my money. The antics they've been pulling recently and their horrible support have pissed me off to that point. Sure they're finally getting around to releasing some new and original games like Dead Space or Mirror's Edge, but they still come off as a soul-crushing corporation that's a pain in the ass to deal with in any capacity other than letting them pillage my pocketbook.

      What's really sad is idea that consoles will be moving away from disc-based media. I can understand that there are a lot of reasons to support that move, but I want a disc copy of the game that I can insert and play on any machine without having to deal with any additional bullshit DRM or that I can sell back to a store if the game turns out to be a disappointment in my eyes. Anything less will probably only turn me away from gaming even more than I've been in the last few months.

      The gaming industry may be growing significantly as new generations of people start to get into gaming, but how fast are they going to start pushing customers away with all the crap they've been pulling lately? Right now I don't think it will make a huge impact, but has anyone considered what the impact will be in ten years? The DRM just seems to get more draconian coupled with a decrease in consumer rights. Eventually enough people are going to get fed up and just take their entertainment money elsewhere. How long until the industry actually will have to respond to their crap policies due to negative growth?

      • by aztektum ( 170569 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:26AM (#25394457)

        Complain to your AG's office (about the crashing and DRM). I complained over Vista licenses (not including physical copies in case I have to replace a crashed hard drive and cannot use the recovery partition). Few weeks go by, I get two voicemails and an e-mail from the company wanting to overnight discs and work with me over various other complaints (a laptop with one of the flaky nVidia chips was having display issues within 3 weeks of receiving it and they wanted to charge me a restock fee).

        Also, explaining my history working in IT and being relied on for recommending hardware/software (for individuals and in many cases companies) was powerful leverage when I got to actually converse with someone from the company about my consumer level issues. Same applies here, if someone asks if you've "Heard of this Spore game, I hear people talking about. You play games, what do you know about it?"

        The way I see it, the tools are there. My AG office was even grateful, because they don't have the resources to police every company out there and can only deal with issues brought to their attention.

      • Eventually enough people are going to get fed up and just take their entertainment money elsewhere. How long until the industry actually will have to respond to their crap policies due to negative growth?

        They'll be waiting for quite a while, because they have nowhere to go, except to the indies. And the industry isn't worried about losing the 1% knowledgeable customers as long as it can keep the other 99%.

        I mean, where else would they go? Music (RIAA)? Movies (MPAA)? TV (Networks)? Any and all mainstream entertainment is controlled by a cabal.

      • by yukk ( 638002 )
        Just download a bittorrent release. At least the scene groups will nuke a bad release and fix it ASAP. That won't help you if Spore itself is buggy, but my downloaded version is running fine with the purchased key. It's probably the DRM screwing you over. Securom has to be some of the least stable malware out there.
      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        Pft... I'd actually like to get Spore working before before I get any expansion. I bought the game and it played fine for three days without a hitch and then decided to give up on life and refuses to run for long before running into issues and crashing. EA's customer support has been

        Could be that your GPU (video card) fan died. Software doesn't tend to go bad over time like hardware does.

        If you start having trouble due to flaky hardware, I would imagine that EA customer support would be rather unhelpful to

        • I'd be inclined to believe this if there were any other indications that such a problem had occurred. Every other game I have runs perfectly fine whether it's for a few minutes or for several hour marathon sessions. The nature of the problem also makes it highly unlikely that it has anything to do with a graphics card problem either.

          I know that you were only trying to be helpful, but you're advice has been about as useful as EA's customer support, which is to say, "not at all." There's apparently a software

  • by MagusSlurpy ( 592575 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:06PM (#25393123) Homepage
    . . . How about a reduction? Like in DRM?
  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:07PM (#25393133)
    In the demos there was a stage between the cellular and the land, I was disappointed with this not being included. I had hopes for being able to build underwater colonies, but this was made impossible. It also seemed like creativity was stifled, as it took points to add parts but you needed to be sure your stats were effective.
    • by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:26PM (#25393707)
      They also nixed the Plant Editor that they showed off at E3 so it can be sold later as a $20 add-on.
    • I was hoping I could get to the civilization stage without leaving the sea. Sure, the lack of fire might have caused problems, but I'm sure a smart enough sea creature can find away around that. If your mind isn't set on needing fire for everything, then you'll find other ways to do it :P. I was hoping I could, in the civ stage, start to dominate the land by building giant snow-globe cities. A spaceship full of water would be nice too.

    • In terms of gameplay, I agree that creativity was a little bit stifled. Depending on what kind of creature you wanted, you had to choose between a small subset of parts that had the correct stats for that kind of creature. But, this is an evolution simulation and, as such, you don't choose pieces just because they look cool. However, you can still place those pieces anywhere on your creature and there really is a lot of flexibility with that. Also, I am just curious... does it matter where you place the

  • by chord.wav ( 599850 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:11PM (#25393167) Journal


  • Predictable. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:11PM (#25393169) Homepage
    Just looking at the state of the game out-of-the-box, it was clear that there would be multiple expansions. I believe we'll see at LEAST one expansion for each stage (in order to make them more "complete"), plus an outrageous amount of spare parts. The first expansion's a parts one, since that's easy to do. Second's a space overhaul, which is a given considering this is the game's best aspect right now.

    What will we see next? A Spore: Sim City expansion for the Civ stage? A Spore: The Sims expansion for the Creature stage? Either way, I bought the game and now I'm feeling like I got a bit raped there. Was I to want to buy any of those expansions, I'd wait for the Deluxe pack that's bound to appear.

    Oh and, what about a DRM-removing expansion? 5 bucks to get a DRM-free game... I'm sure people would buy into this wicked, twisted scheme right now, despite how evil and money-hungry it is.
    • by Morlark ( 814687 )

      Second's a space overhaul, which is a given considering this is the game's best aspect right now.

      Best? It's certainly the stage you'll get the most gameplay out of, since it was designed that way, but I'm not sure I'd go as far as calling it the best stage. I, and most other people I've spoken to, had a lot more fun in the creature stage, and even in the cell phase, which their hype dismissed as just a short intro.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You know, that's actually one of the most brilliant ideas I've ever heard, charging a little bit more for essentially what's a cracked copy of their own game. For the average consumer not wanting to deal with the hassle of finding or applying cracks, it makes a lot of sense to buy the cheaper version, while for the people who care, spending just a *little* bit more money to ensure they can install their multiple copies for multiboxing and LAN parties. The extra profit generated by the people who will inevi
    • Agreed, I'd pay more for DRM-free too.

      That idea is just sick and wrong enough to really go over well with the CEO and the board.

      "So you mean they'll pay extra to avoid a rootkit? We should have thought of this before!"

  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:16PM (#25393211)
    These are most likely going to comprise mainly of parts that were intentionally stripped out from the game for the sake of selling it for more.

    And most likely the "part pack" will be much much cheaper and bundled with future part packs / expansions in the future.

    Given the nature of the game I dont see a reason to pay for this. It only rewards the company for basically with-holding something they had already put money into developing. I understand, despite EA's greedy practices, it isn't even making a profit, but that has more to do with the massive amount of money it puts into marketing, its stubborn hiring practices that gives it a very luke-warm talent pool, and its poor management. Thinking about it, I dont understand why spore is lacking so much unless it was simply a lack of programming talent that prevented them from accomplishing what they wanted to within the timeframe they had. Closely looking at the game models when they move and such makes you realize that there isn't as much complexity as you would hope.

    To put things in perspective, EA does the equivalent of spending more money on making a car commercial than actually in designing the car itself. I forget where I saw their budget break-down. Maybe that's changed, but seeing who they hired in Red Alert 3 for the cut scenes (that goes towards marketing), I doubt that's turned around.
    • Spore already feels like a really cool game engine with just some demo content.

      Anyone who has played the first phase, where you can add flappy bits, fins or a jet... carnivore or omnivore mouth... and that's about it... already knows they so dumbed down the content as to leave you with essentially no actual game there.

      Same holds for many of the later stages. A few very core pieces used in unimaginative ways to solve a simple puzzle and then be done.

      When your core gameplay is near utterly devoid because of t

      • Since when is a company going to do what would obviously make it the most money? It has been too long since Maxis was independent of EA's marketing people. The people who are lovers of the game itself should have more say in how it is marketed.
  • by Flentil ( 765056 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:19PM (#25393225)
    The patch caused many people's games to not work at all, and many more to have frequent crashes, sound stuttering and delays, invisible graphics and creatures, and more. That was more than a month ago and they've yet to fix any of it. But there's an expansion pack coming yay! I guess that's all that matters to them.
    • by JimboFBX ( 1097277 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:32PM (#25393329)
      yeah I looked it up online, on your desktop shortcut add "-jobPriority:0" to the path and it fixes everything the newest patch broke.

      And yet, their casual audience will never find that nor understand what I just said meant.
  • by bonch ( 38532 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:24PM (#25393261)

    The game is fun the first time through. Unfortunately, it only takes a few hours to get through the game, and then you're out of anything to do. It's basically a bunch of editors tied together with short stages of gameplay and not at all the epic-scale sandbox it looked like in the original presentation video from 2005.

  • I played it (Score:4, Funny)

    by nawcom ( 941663 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:30PM (#25393309) Homepage
    I downloaded the pirated version, played it until i got to the space level - played a few missions in there and felt that i played enough. I personally didn't feel the fun of creation that was expected. The entire game felt quite directed.
    The molecular stage i found fun, even though it was quite simple. The creature stage got quite boring since it was quite directed - you wouldn't be going anywhere unless you completed the stupid collection quests. It would be more entertaining if they went a WoW route with that - making other peoples creatures your AI-powered neighbors isn't enough.
    The tribal stage was warcraft. Nuff' said.
    The civilization stage was frustrating, because depending on the type of society you pick, you are limited with what you get. I picked the capitalism-based one (instead of a militaristic or religious one from what i remember), and i could only buy and sell things; make deals. If someone attacked me I didn't have tanks that could take them out - I would have to buy myself out of a war. Now that I think about it - it definitely made it interesting.
    In the end I go to space, get little quests, etc. I felt like I was getting no where. So I finally turn the game off so I can go "browsing" at YouPorn - it was then when I realized that it was 9pm and I didn't go to work that morning.
    • Yeah, it ate a couple of days, it felt really familiar and on-rails, and then space was just one randomly-generated fetch-quest after another. I got bored with fetch quests and decided to try and fly up my arm of the galaxy to the center, and quickly found myself hemmed in by stars set further apart than my drive could go, at which point I gave up. Haven't touched it since.

      The only moment I was really having anything that felt like "fun" was giggling at watching three or four of my creatures dance in synch

  • Who Cares? (Score:3, Informative)

    by IceDiver ( 321368 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @09:36PM (#25393343)

    It has SecuRom. I won't buy it.

    • It consistently amazes me that anybody cares about such things, not because of the breach of security but because it implies that you otherwise trust what your game playing PC does. My gaming PC is XP SP1 with no antivirus or firewall, simply because I wouldn't trust the thing no matter what security software was on it. This is the machine that has all the little indie games run on it, executables and installers picked up from links on social sites and blogs. It's no risk at all because the only purpose of
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Sobrique ( 543255 )
        What amazes me, is that you've just declared that you can't be bothered to virus/malware check, or firewall a system that can act as a gateway to your home network. Trust is also an issue, and however much you say you 'don't trust it', I'd lay odds that _most_ home users don't feel inclined to implement a DMZ rather than taking some more sensible security precautions.

        Or are you saying you don't trust it, but still allow it free reign on your internal network?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by westlake ( 615356 )
      It has SecuRom. I won't buy it.

      You won't be missed.

      Take a look at Amazon's sales charts.

      Sandbox games like The Sims and Spoor have enormous appeal outside the hardcore geek-gamer community.

      The SIMS 3 has already hit the top 40 in PC game sales at Amazon and it won't be released until February.

      • You won't be missed.

        Unfortunately, you are correct.

        I am amazed at how many people buy this stuff not caring (or not knowing) the hazards of the crap the game publishers include in the name of copy protection.

        After an earlier version of SecuRom destroyed the CD drive of a friend of mine (we're pretty sure it was SecuRom - it died a couple of hours after installing the game and beginning to play, and research on the net indicated SecuRom had caused many other people's drives to die) I have avoided all games w

        • most of the time all you need to do is flash the firmware of the drive again from something safe ... non-windows. But don't play the game again!!!

      • Spore's not a sandbox game like The Sims. The earlier stages all have a clear beginning and end. If you're not progressing toward that end, you've got nothing to do.

        The space game might be something of a sandbox, but it's more like a bad Civilization clone.

  • It looks more like some random bits and pieces that could easily have been created by players with a "part and pattern editor".

    Ah well, I guess it's the publishing equivalent of "would you like to supersize your fries?"

  • Wow. I gotta hand it to EA, I totally did not see this coming. I played Spore for 10 hours and feel like that was sufficient to get my $50 out of it, but I was completely let down. Expansion will be download if it even has enough to entice me, otherwise I won't even bother to torrent it overnight. I am waiting for somebody to come out with a good mod that makes it more interesting, perhaps a procedural monster generator? Something like what I expected the game would include, rather than stock monsters that
  • Expansion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <mqduck@m[ ] ['qdu' in gap]> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:13PM (#25393993)

    I've been thinking that a good (though completely unlikely) thing to do would be to release an expansion pack for each stage, turning each into more of a game in their own right.

    Start with Cell. Turn it into a Cell/Fish stage (or just add a Fish stage instead).

    Add something more to the Creature stage than just fighting or making friends with other species. I don't have any suggestions off the top of my head, but the possibilities are limitless.

    I'm not sure what they were going for with the Tribal stage. It seems to be a simplified version of the Civilization stage, with some elements of the Creature stage. But perhaps it can be improved by making it not just about winning over (in either fashion) other tribes, but about building up culture and technology in order to unwittingly prepare for civilization.

    Civilization stage. Bares little in common with the game of the same name. It's basically a really simple RTS. Easy solution: make it more complex and strategic. Oh, and make making religious units actually practical.

    Space stage. Well, they're already working on expanding this one.

    Allow players to choose to play the original or expanded version of each stage (or maybe make the expanded version something you "unlock" after beating the original version). After all, we already have the ability to skip stages already beaten.

    Spore is a game with so many brilliant elements (generated music by Brian Freaking Eno, for fuck's sake!) and yet it's very mediocre at best on the actual gameplay. As it stands, it's a game for people who love the concept, not people looking for gameplay. But it could be so much more. Do it!

    • by DrEasy ( 559739 )

      Start with Cell. Turn it into a Cell/Fish stage (or just add a Fish stage instead).

      But that would be cell/fish!

      Sorry, at least I tried...

    • If you pay EA $200 and buy all the expansions, Spore will finally work like it was meant to. Hurray!

  • How about they release a patch to fix the constant crashing problem. Not to mention the license issue, tech support told me it's a known issue that every time I launch the game it registers as a new installation. It's a nice game I just wish we could play longer than five minutes before another crash.

  • "The expansion will give space-faring species the ability to beam down from their ships to explore other worlds and complete missions."

    This feature was promoted by Will Wright as a part of the whole Everything Sim experience. It's retarded that people would have to pay extra for it now.
    I'm happy I didn't buy Spore.
  • by syrinx ( 106469 ) on Thursday October 16, 2008 @12:43AM (#25394619) Homepage

    EA is the anti-Midas: they touch gold and it turns to shit.

  • Spaceships (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Meneth ( 872868 )
    The space stage has one drawback, which makes it unplayable after a few hours: you have only one spaceship. As your empire grows, you're going to need more. And if you ever hope to conquer the entire galaxy, as the game is supposed to allow, you're going to need a LOT more.
    • Maybe additional spacecraft will become available in a future expansion pack.
    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      You do acquire additional ships and so on if you decide to make alliances playing as an economic civilization.

      • by Meneth ( 872868 )
        But they must all be in the same fleet. So you can't send one ship to guard your homeworlds while another explores the galaxy.
    • The space stage has one drawback, which makes it unplayable after a few hours: you have only one spaceship. As your empire grows, you're going to need more. And if you ever hope to conquer the entire galaxy, as the game is supposed to allow, you're going to need a LOT more.

      You can deploy Uber Turrents on all your planets to make almost all enemy attacks fail, although pirates still occasionally get away with spice, but there's no way to completely turn off the attack spam. I was buying huge quantities (sell a full load of pink, purple, or blue spice for lots of creds) of Uber Turrents, deploying them and concentrating on building turrents for colonies first. That meant I could go anywhere in the galaxy and ignore attack warnings. The colonists got annoyed next time I saw them

  • I've been closely following coverage of Spore for years now, and I bought the game when it first came out. I've had fun dealing with the DRM, and a few days of fun with the game itself. The handling of the game, the game itself, the terrible patch, the ridiculous "DRM cabal" statement the other day, and now these expansion packs have made this the worst game experience I've ever had. Others, obviously, feel the same way.

    However, there is this strange thread; it's all EA's fault. If only Will Wright could
    • The hardcore PC market is near dead. Two games sell. WoW and The Sims. WoW because you can't pirate it and appeals to everyone. The Sims because it appeals to everyone else and they don't know how to pirate it.

      Selling a single game with no expansions and no online mode is suicide. Sure, you might be able to recover your investment, if you are lucky but the road is long and difficult and so why bother when their are two examples of games that are not just succesful but massive cash cows.

      Will Wright isn't l

    • Will Wright can't hear you. The money is being too loud.
  • From the makers of "The Sims" and their bajillion expansion packs, now we have the same with Spore! I, for one, am not buying any expansions until they all come out together in a big group like a 10-pack for $30. I might have to wait 2 years, but it'll be way cheaper, and I don't want to play an incomplete game anymore. I did that with The Sims and The Sims 2, worked like a champ. The thing that disappointed me most about Spore wasn't the DRM. It was that the game could have been incredibly awesome right o
  • You have got to be kidding me. Charge me for an expansion when we still have a broken game? You'd rather your developers work on content that writes itself instead of fixing the obvious broken game you have before you?

    This shows the world how messed up their priorities are. The first release was crashy but playable. This new release crashes at known points with known saves. I have a constant crash on my game, so I can't even play it any further.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.