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Spore to Ship 'When It's Done' And Not Before

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the sometime-before-i-am-fifty-please dept.

Games 135

Citing the sheer potential of the title, EA executives John Riccitiello and Frank Gibeau stated in a conference call yesterday that Spore will not ship until it is finished. Next Generation reports: "'It's one of those breakthrough products that might come across the industry every three, five, seven years ... We could not be more bullish for the potential of the franchise as we are right now,' said Riccitiello. He said that he still expects the game to ship in the 'March, April, May' 2008 timeframe. However, Riccitiello said, 'We will make the choice of shipping a better game than an on-time game given the high potential for this franchise.'"

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Translation: (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088327)

"Spore will ship when it is actually fun to play, instead of feeling like a session of tweaking a very complicated spreadsheet."

Re:Translation: (4, Insightful)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089015)

"Spore will ship when it is actually fun to play, instead of feeling like a session of tweaking a very complicated spreadsheet."
Then, why is Eve Online successful?

Re:Translation: (1)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090369)

Because people with no lives play it?

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20091537)

Playing spreadsheets is fun. I just got done with a nice session on a dungeon crawler. But only a portion of the population like them. Probably more people will beta test SPORE than will ever play EVE.

Re:Translation: (3, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091631)

Because EVE's target demographic is the people who like tweaking spreadsheets in such a way that it fucks people over.

Re:Translation: (3, Funny)

ben0207 (845105) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091971)

My accountant?

Re:Translation: (2, Interesting)

Maserati (8679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093415)

I run into a lot of people in EVE who play... aggressively let's call it... on the market. The obvious example is the obvious and powerful T2 cartels that monopolized the best equipment and kept prices high. The best ships, the best cloaking fields, the best weapons, all under the control of a small group. Some items were simply available only to those in the cartel and their friends. That's been broken up by the new Invention system, but they still control a lot of the T2 production facilities.

Besides getting a monopoly on something scarce on the universe scale, local monopolies can be had. An easy way to make money is to spot a valuable item being sold below market price, but it yourself and re-sell it. When you're successful, you are literally taking money out of someone's pocket. I make a fair piece of change by exploiting gaps in the market. I found a region where the local NPCs weren't producing the cheaper classes of industrial ship. I bought and researched some blueprints and started turning surplus minerals into ships that I then sold for well over the cost of the materials. I usually buy out the inventory of anyone undercutting my prices.

Lotsa ways to mess with people without using weapons. The market is pvp too.

Re:War & Trade (3, Interesting)

DaftShadow (548731) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092021)

I'd like to get back into Eve-O again when I find the time. In no other game have I truly learned the power of leadership on such a visceral level. Even working with just 2 other guys requires someone to step up and take their leadership skills to a whole other level. Ten & higher puts you in a whole other league of understanding. 50+ it gets even wilder. Training and processes, reconnaissance, pre-combat calculations and planning, combat orders, Feints and parries, laying traps, avoiding traps, tricking your enemies, delegating responsibility, taking responsibility... it's wild fun.

Anyone who plays eve-o and has stayed in Empire thus far, get your jump clones up to date, hop into a non-implanted one, trick out a cheap rifter or a stabber and go start shooting at people in 0.0. Start teaming up with people, and take recon positions whenever possible. Then try leading small ops. Within a month you'll be having so much fun that the 'spreadsheet life' of Empire will make you feel like a fool for ever enjoying it ;)

- DaftShadow

Re:War & Trade (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092857)

i meant my original statement as a joke. i've done my share of space marauding! we're looking into upsizing our corporation and setting up shop in 0.0 space. high stakes. high rewards.

Re:Translation: (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092103)

It's not, it has very few players compared to fun MMORPGs.

Re:Translation: (1)

maeltor (679257) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093287)

This statement doesn't really appeal to the allure of EVE. I play eve, and its kind of fun knowing that 30 to 40 thousand people are online in the same world as you, all over the real world. Just because a game doesn't have MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS of players doesn't mean its not a fun MMO. Reading your statement again, it doesn't sound like you are badmouthing per se, just pointing out that it has "fewer" players.

The rEAl Translation: (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089297)

Spore will ship when it will look complete enough to sell for a bunch of money. We can then release expansion packs and "item" packs every three months which introduce all new bugs on top of the original flaws that we never bothered to patch.

What, no SHIPS? (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089439)

Awwww. When I first saw "Spore to Ship..." I was thinking the endgame now involved evolving your planetary ecosystem into a giant interstellar spacecraft. (Sort of like the ships in Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis books.)

Coming soon (5, Funny)

Nf1nk (443791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088329)

Coming soon the Duke Nukem forever and Spore Double Pack

CTRL+F (5, Funny)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088497)

First thing I did after clicking "Read more..." was CTRL+F, "duke". I knew there would be results!

Re:Coming soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20089661)

Guns'N'Roses just signed on to do the soundtrack.

Hmmm (0)

Fyz (581804) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088345)

I wonder where I've heard this here "We'll ship it when it's finished" rhetoric before?

Here are a few (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088487)

I wonder where I've heard this here "We'll ship it when it's finished" rhetoric before?


For example, from Epic, Blizzard, and a few others who are now the big names of the industry for it. It turns out that, surprise, more people buy a game which is finished and polished than something shoved out the door to meet an arbitrary deadline. Much as a couple of publishers still hope that if they believe the opposite really, really hard, it will somehow become reality.

Re:Here are a few (2, Insightful)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088773)

Exactly. People like games that are on time. What they hate about games that are pushed back is that arbitrary deadline in the first place. If your game is probably NOT going to be ready in a year's time, DON'T say it is!

But yeah, the only thing worse than a moving deadline are patches and bugs. And last 1/3 of a game that's just tacked on and unfinished.

Re:Here are a few (2, Interesting)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088941)

Raven Software makes pretty good games, and they always seem to come out exactly on time.

I think the problem is that most of the game industry is terrible at project management. They set unrealistic timelines, or far too many features, or both. And then when it's obvious they can't complete the game in time, they wait until the very last minute to say anything about it.

For instance, look at how Valve screwed ATI with ATI's Half-Life 2 giveaway. By the time HL2 actually came out, the Radeon 9600 you bought to get it for free was nearly obsolete! To make matters worse, the only reason Valve announced the delay at all is that their source code leaked. If that hadn't happened, who knows how long it would have taken them to admit their schedule was off.

Re:Here are a few (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089943)

I think the problem is that most of the game industry is terrible at project management. They set unrealistic timelines, or far too many features, or both. And then when it's obvious they can't complete the game in time, they wait until the very last minute to say anything about it.

Most of the industry meets their schedules. It's mostly only the blockbuster titles that have issues, specifically because they're trying really hard to push the limits of what's been done before.

Smaller studios don't survive long if they don't meet their deadlines.

Most small studios die (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#20094079)

Most of the industry meets their schedules


White _technically_ it may be true, it's IMHO a highly mis-leading statement. About 90% of the devs don't "meet the deadline" in that the game is anywhere _near_ finished, tested and balanced. They "meet the deadline" only in that the publisher forces them to shovel it out the door at that date, ready or not. Usually the latter.

Plus, "meeting the deadline" is already stretching the term a bit, when the average game will need major debugging and rebalancing for the next 6 month or so. And I don't mean just cosmetic tweaks, but in a few cases even getting the features advertised. I'm sorry, but in almost any other kind of project it wouldn't be called "meeting the deadline", but "needing a 6 month extension to finish it."

Not to mention that half of them, at the end of all that patching, are still nowhere near finished. I can think of several that ended up with worse bugs than they were released with. Or where they said they fixed the same bug in 7 patches straight, and it still didn't work.

Plus, frankly, half of what counts as "meeting the deadline" at least in the PC games segment would be called a failed project almost anywhere else. If even an e-commerce site worked as unreliably and unpredictably as half the games at launch, the company running that site might even face civil or criminal prosecution, not just lost sales. And I'm not even getting into what would happen in domains like banking or insurance.

Heck, I can think of at least one game which, as shipped, threw a script syntax error right when trying to start the main campaign. Nothing blamable on the user's configuration or drivers or whatever: a script syntax error. That thing couldn't run on _any_ computer. Can you really imagine many domains where that would even get a productive deployment? Much less be called "meeting the deadline".

However, in the games segment we've been trained like Pavlov's dog to that it's ok to buy crap if you're promised that it will be patched later. Maybe.

Smaller studios don't survive long if they don't meet their deadlines.


Most of the smaller studios will go broke and die after one game or two, so IMHO that's hardly an indication of their great management skills.

Re:Here are a few (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088945)

Mark Rein at Epic doesn't say "when it's done", he says "in two weeks" when he really means "when it's done".

Re:Here are a few (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088979)

Except Epic and Blizzard actually ship. Maxis normally does, but this is now year 7. This is not an arbitrary deadline -- that deadline has passed. It's now officially late, and we're tired of hearing how great it's going to be, because it still doesn't actually exist except as demos.

But soon, the frustration will pass, and it will join DNF in the "Vaporware That Wouldn't Die" list of running jokes. It's better for your customers to be angry at you than laugh at you.

Re:Here are a few (2, Informative)

Scotland Tom (974094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090029)

I'm not sure where you get "year 7." Spore was only publicly announced at E3 2005. Counting the amount of time Will Wright has spent privately developing the idea before that is ridiculous. I'm sure there are many other developers that have been going through a similar multi-year pre-production process on games that we know nothing about.

So, let's quit exaggerating things and call it at the 2 years and 3 months that it's actually been.

Re:Here are a few (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20090695)

Your sig is from Drawn Together, the cartoon. Give credit where credit is due.

Re:Here are a few (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20090873)

Actually, I've seen it well before drawn together on maddox.xmission.net, where he used it with laughter and manslaughter.

Re:Here are a few (1)

toad3k (882007) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089413)

The perception problem is not because of the lack of a release date. It is because they announced the game years ago and still haven't delivered.

Blizzard did that once with starcraft and diablo and people bitched and whined and complained the whole time. They settled on keeping games a complete secret until they were within a year of release. Look at starcraft 2, the game was actually playable before anyone had even heard of it. This way they get the hype at the most appropriate time without giving it time to turn sour. Imagine if starcraft 2 had been announced when it was started roughly 2.5 years ago with 1 more year to go.

Re:Here are a few (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090103)

Except, in the case of Blizzard, they still do ship games with flaws and bugs in them. People just gobble the shit up because there isn't something else coming along that is better right now.

Re:Here are a few (0, Flamebait)

lupis42 (1048492) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090681)

Here's another: Daikatana. Time spent on development does not directly correlate with quality of finished product. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good your game is, every month overdue hurts.

Re:Here are a few (1)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093727)

Vista *might* have been better if they would have applied the same thoughts. Who am I kidding, Vista would have never hit shelves.

Re:Hmmm (1)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088503)

Something wonderful, yet notoriously late/slow... So, it should be great when it comes out, but don't hold your breath.

Re:Hmmm (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088607)

Nintendo? They're pretty adamant about releasing only when done.

Re:Hmmm (1)

jimbug (1119529) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089263)

Super Smash Brothers Brawl is proof of that.

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

sdaemon (25357) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090589)

Valve/Vivendi delayed on Half-Life 2, citing this same reason as well as the alleged hacking and source-code-stealing incident (did that ever get prosecuted?).

Frankly, I'm glad they waited. When Half-Life 2 arrived...it was *perfect*.

Like a good video game junkie, I lost about 48h of my life in one fell swoop to that game, playing it through 3 times in quick succession. I do not consider those to be wasted hours.

More companies should release products that are "finished".

Re:Hmmm (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091757)

Certainly not from Call of Duty for 360.

They ship broken games, and don't even fix them!

Re:Hmmm (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092091)

I wonder where I've heard this here "We'll ship it when it's finished" rhetoric before?

Oh, from Artifact Entertainment [istaria.com] , who shipped a lame duck called Horizons when their last surviving developer left for a higher paying job in the fast food industry. The company promptly burned down, fell over and sank into the swamp before being bought out by... well, lets be generous and say they were bought by someone else.

We heard it again from Sigil Games [sony.com] shortly before they kicked a tech demo of Vanguard to the curb with a resounding plop. When it somehow failed to be a resounding commercial success the company... burned down, fell over and sank into the swamp before being bought out by Sony.

"We will ship when it's ready" is an industry code phrase for "I don't know if we can make this work or not, but we're going to keep shoveling money into it until we either get something good or go broke. You'll find out which one comes first when we do."

Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20088359)

As much as I hate waiting for that game, I'd rather have a good quality game that is late, than rushed-to-the-market crap that is so common.

Just don't make me downgrade to Vista, k?

It's official, then... (2, Funny)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088369)

Spore does, in fact, have the exact same official release date as Duke Nukem Forever... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_nukem_forever [wikipedia.org] (check the release date)

Re:It's official, then... (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088629)

And according to wikipedia, Spore's development started just 3 years after DNF's. 1997 for DNF, 2000 for Spore...

Despite what they say (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20088375)

I have low expectations for Spore. It's so hyped up that it's sure to disappoint. It is truly this generation's Daikatana.

Re:Despite what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20088793)

You talk like Daikatana was a generation ago...what did you just get out of diapers or something? Zork was a generation ago. Daikatana was just a few years ago.

Re:Despite what they say (2, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091681)

"Generation" has a different meaning in the video game culture.

Re:Despite what they say (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088853)

Can we wait for it to come out before we post judgments on it? Sure there's a lot of hype, but maybe it'll be *Really* good.

Re:Despite what they say (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090319)

Agreed, hype has zero influence on whether a game is good or not. All it influences is sales. Unless you can only enjoy games other people don't buy, it shouldn't matter how hyped the game is.

Re:Despite what they say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20091679)

You know, the people who are complaining are the ones who really, really want to play the game. Me? Maybe it'll be fun, maybe it won't, but I'm not dying to get the chance to play it. If it comes out in one year or ten years, I'm sure it'll be up to Will Wright's usual brilliance. Or if there isn't, there's always The Sims 3039. :)

Balancing act (4, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088413)

Well, the delays for Spore are starting to get frustrating. On the other hand, after all these delays it better be a pretty freaking good game... which it won't be if they rush it to put an end to the delays.

Obviously no game is ever perfect, so it is up to the developers to decide the proper balance between time spent improving the game and delays before release.

That said, nobody wants another "Duke Nukem Forever." If you spend too much time on the whole "revolutionizing videogames" someone will take the lessons presented at all these talks Wright does and actually *finish* a game that heavily utilizes procedural generation or whatever before Spore comes out, and it won't be revolutionary anymore.

Re:Balancing act (4, Funny)

acvh (120205) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089329)

nobody wants another "Duke Nukem Forever."

hell, I must have missed the first one. how was it?

Re:Balancing act (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091361)

Obviously pretty bad.

Re:Balancing act (1, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089615)

Well, the delays for Spore are starting to get frustrating. On the other hand, after all these delays it better be a pretty freaking good game... which it won't be if they rush it to put an end to the delays.
I would suggest that if the delay for a game is actually *frustrating*, that you need to diversify your hobbies a little bit.

Re:Balancing act (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089911)

Spore's got an advantage over DNF: it doesn't require kick-ass graphics. If the pretty pictures look a year or three out of date, it's no big deal.

Why not do the Apple thing? (2, Interesting)

n2art2 (945661) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088643)

Not everyone likes it, but it is good for Apple. Just keep it under wraps. Let a few trickle leaks out that don't really tell you anything other then. . . a name (maybe) and that it will be way cool!

This works 2 fold. When it ships it catches all the competition and customers by storm, and if it doesn't ship, at least all the leaks created company hype.

Re:Why not do the Apple thing? (1)

llevity (776014) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092965)

I actually like this method. Why the hell even tell us about it when it's still 3 years out? I guess it's all hype and marketing, but it just tends to breed disappointment. People mentally embellish on the features that are described, then when it finally does come out, it doesn't meet their expectations.

This is why I typically don't even read previews for games. For one, they're almost always too optimistic. I guess this is to please the advertisers, but I've never read a preview that said "This game looks really cool, but let me tell ya, it's probably going to suck."

I tend to enjoy the games that came out of nowhere (for me, anyway) and surprised me with how good they were.

Hypocrisy (3, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088743)

Everyone is always bitching about how many patches and bugs are in games, and now we've got someone who actually wants to build a great game and the SAME people are bitching.

Um... hypocrisy anyone?

Re:Hypocrisy (3, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088787)

No, Slashdotters just want it now, bug free, cheap, and feature rich. What's so wrong with that?

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091215)

Timely, inexpensive, bug-free, feature-rich. Pick three.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092219)

IIRC, it's "pick two".

Re:Hypocrisy (4, Insightful)

shish (588640) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089051)

Everyone is always...
Protip: the vast majority of generalisations are horribly flawed.

the SAME people are bitching
Can you provide a list of usernames? I would think it far more likely that person A is bitching about one thing, and person B is bitching about another -- just because persons A and B visit the same website does not make them hypocrites for saying different things...

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091923)

"Protip: the vast majority of generalisations are horribly flawed."

Oh, that's gonna sting when you think about it. :D

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092275)

Reminds me of Philosophy class.

In the text there was a similar statement concerning generalizations. Specifically: All generalizations are false/flawed. It was noted that because this was a generalization in and of itself, it must also be false/flawed. This was used as an example of bad logic.

However, I argued that it depended on how one defines a generalization. The statement "all generalizations are false/flawed" could just as easily be a universal truth and not a generalization. In which case the statement itself isn't false or flawed, although generalizations continue to be.

I then found out there aren't a lot of people who enjoy delving into the wonderous facet of human communication known as semantics.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

Bud Dickman (1131973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093421)

"This was used as an example of bad logic."
It's an example of a paradox, not "bad logic";

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089579)

how do you know it's the same people?

Re:Hypocrisy (2, Funny)

shotgunsaint (968677) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090343)

Well, I don't know how long this Anonymous Coward guy's been on here, but his account is so old he doesn't have a user ID number, and he bitches about EVERYTHING!

Re:Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20090977)

AC is a jackass.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090283)

Um... I don't think hypocrisy means what you think it means.

Re:Hypocrisy (1)

biquet (932262) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092649)

A minor point. I'm just grateful someone finally spelled it correctly.

Beta? (0)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088907)

I honestly think this has gone on long enough, with it being pushed back so far. I think the best think Spore can do is release a Beta of the *First* level, the Bacteria level. That'll whet the appetites of most people there, show it's not dead in the water. It'll also show off the nice customization features, like being able to modify your bacteria and such.

Re:Beta? (1)

TheNicestGuy (1035854) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090979)

I think the best think Spore can do is release a Beta of the *First* level, the Bacteria level. That'll whet the appetites of most people there, show it's not dead in the water.

Honestly, what difference would that make? Appetite-whetting—indeed, any sort of showing off—at a stage where they aren't even claiming what year the game will be released without doubting themselves I think works more against them than for them. It both distracts them from getting the game finished, and tips their hand to competitors. Releasing a beta teaser like that would surely help to increase hype and enthusiasm among those who haven't yet heard of Spore or haven't been following it that closely. That will be a very good thing in a few months (hopefully), but at this time I think it's counter-productive.

As for the people who are following Spore, well, I speak for myself and perhaps for many when I say that, while I would enjoy playing a beta single-cell phase, it has no chance of increasing my enthusiasm for the game. If I found out nothing more about Spore between now and release, the probability of my buying it would be 100%. The only thing that might change that is if it took so horrendously long that some other developer released a game that completely trumped it, but I think the chances of that are slim. On the other hand, if I played a beta that was less than fun because it hadn't been through rigorous play-testing, that number just might go down.

Besides, if you really want to play a beta of the single-cell phase, just play Flow [usc.edu] .

That's fine (1)

TomK2434 (1122189) | more than 7 years ago | (#20088995)

I want to play spore. I am happy that the person in charge of creativity for spore gets to take his time, and not be rushed. I'd rather wait a few months and have them happy with it. Good for them for making the right choice. It better be a kick ass game. I think it might be...

Re:That's fine (1)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093751)

Everything I've seen about Spore has only given me good vibes ... except for the fear in the back of my mind that it will be chopped up and priced out of my tax bracket if they taste the buzz. If anything I think the buzz may have grown too great for Spore - that it can't possibly live up to the expectations that people are developing.

Franchise? (4, Funny)

The Orange Mage (1057436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089085)

That's right. It's in the article. They refer to Spore as a franchise.

So what, Spore 2010, with updated rosters and some tiny new feature? Repeat formula next year?

You bet! (2, Interesting)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089857)

You bet your ass it's a franchise!

After the success of The Sims, you can be sure EA/Maxis is looking for every new game they release to be the start of another long and extremely lucrative series of expansion packs. I worked at Maxis a few years ago, and The Sims expansion packs were hands down the biggest profit generators across the entire company (and possibly across all of EA). I have no doubt at all they are planning for another endless expansion pack bonanza with Spore.

Re:Franchise? (2, Interesting)

0rionx (915503) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089915)

As you may know, EA has already confirmed that a DS version [gamespot.com] of Spore is already in the works, and they've hinted that they have plans to release the game on other consoles down the road, so technically Spore can already be considered a franchise. Furthermore, Will Wright's game have an excellent track record when it comes to longevity and replayability. SimCity came out in 1989 and remains a successful franchise property to this day. While the core concept of the gameplay has always been the same, I would hardly say it's stagnated over the years. With each iteration they've observed what works and what doesn't, redesigned and rewritten the engine, and expanded the scope of the gameplay possibilities while remaining true to the core idea.

Furthermore, I don't think there's much danger of Spore falling to The Sims-style Release-of-the-Month Syndrome. The whole concept behind the system is that there's no need for the developer to continue to add new content resources; the players will do that on their own. With any game that has a development cycle as long as Spore and that breaks so much new ground, to ensure a good return on the substantial upfront investment requires branching out into as many markets as possible. Furthermore, once the core development work has been finished, it only makes financial sense to continue to leverage that property to develop new markets and maintain profitability.

The fact that Will Wright has demonstrated that his games will have broad appeal and continue to sell for years is exactly what has given Maxis the kind of financial leverage necessary to be able to make this kind of undertaking a reality. Most developers can't even dream of pushing the envelope like this. For most companies the risk would be far too high. For the time being let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that Spore does indeed push the boundaries of the gaming experience and evolve (pun unintentional) into a successful franchise property that will continue to develop this fascinating gameplay concept for years to come. Even if it does stagnate, it'll still be better money spent than most of the other games out there that are still rehashing the same tired gameplay over and over.

Re:Franchise? (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090277)

It's an EA game. Did you just drop out of the womb, or are you actually ignorant of how EA works? They squeeze every drop out of a game engine/concept. That's how they started with the really great Battlefield: 1942, moved to the not-too-bad Battlefield 2, and are now selling the buggy POS Battlefield: 2152. Expect a medieval Battlefield game any day now.

Re:Franchise? (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091165)

Think "The Sims."

Re:Franchise? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091173)

The franchise in question is Will himself.

Re:Franchise? (1)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091211)

So what, Spore 2010, with updated rosters and some tiny new feature? Repeat formula next year?
  • Spore: Pets Release date: 3-months after Spore is done
  • Spore: Holidays In Rome Release date: 6-months after Spore is done
  • Spore: Holidays In Paris Release date: 9-months after Spore is done
  • Spore: Red Light District Release date: 12-months after Spore is done
  • Spore: Co-ed College Party Release date: 15-months after Spore is done
  • ...

Then there will be...

  • Spore2: Pets Release date: 3-months after Spore2 is done
  • Spore2: Holidays In Rome Release date: 6-months after Spore2 is done
  • Spore2: Holidays In Paris Release date: 9-months after Spore2 is done
  • Spore2: Red Light District Release date: 12-months after Spore2 is done
  • Spore2: Co-ed College Party Release date: 15-months after Spore is done
  • ...

Followed up By...

  • Spore DS: Watered Down
  • Spore DS: Less Pets
  • ...

Then they'll release...

  • Spore Online

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:Franchise? (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092759)

Spore: Pagan
Spore: Ascension

Followed by many attempts at fan-created versions (from the Elder Scrolls 8 engine) trying to bring the franchise back to the "glory days" of Spore.

Re:Franchise? (1)

wuie (884711) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091833)

Of course it'll be a franchise. As soon as you've evolved your creations to where you want them to be, they'll need to have interesting things to do, which will be provided in the following expansions:

Spore: Vacation - Let your little ones relax is exotic locations, sipping drinks on the beach!
Spore: House Party - Invite your friend's creations to your primate's place and PAARTYYYY!
Spore: Hot Date - Will your cephalopod-esque creature find true love, or just a one-night stand?

And, of course, who can forget Spore: Unleashed, where your spore characters can have their own little sporelings to play God with!

This is GOOD (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089325)

I'd much, MUCH rather have a good, complete game than an incomplete one that has been rushed because the players are impatient. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a prime example of how bad things can get when corners are cut to release a game sooner.

Re:This is GOOD (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091729)

And Daikatana is a prime example of how bad things can get when corners aren't cut to release a game sooner.

But seriously, as long as they actually release the game sometime in 2008 it won't matter.

Will Wright to give Spore Demo Next Week (2, Informative)

dannyastro (790359) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089495)

For those of you who just can't wait, Will Wright will be giving a Spore demo at his Stupid Fun Club studio in Berkeley on Friday, August 10th as part of a benefit party for Bill Pullman's new play. The tickets are expensive ($250), but all proceeds go to benefit the Magic Theatre. Besides Will and Bill, Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and Bill Nye the Science Guy are also expected to attend. The invitation says that Will will demo Spore at the party! For more info: http://www.magictheatre.org/season0708/sfcparty.sh tml [magictheatre.org]

Re:Will Wright to give Spore Demo Next Week (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089997)

It's really not like we've never seen spore demos.

Now if they were handing out gamediscs, that would be very different

Re:Will Wright to give Spore Demo Next Week (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090127)

So long as Bill Nye is bringing along those naked mole rats... Ah, now that was entertainment.

When it's done? (1)

PunditGuy (1073446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089949)

When was the last time that a game shipped and it was actually done? (I'm looking at you, Halo 2 and KOTOR 2. Don't laugh, Civ IV... what patch number are you on right now?)

Things like this always make me worried (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20089999)

I mean in general I support the idea of releasing a game when it is actually complete and not at some arbitrary deadline. I am not at all a fan of getting a game that is effectively beta and having to wait for a few patches to even make it playable (like, say Ultima 9). On the other hand, this is often a sign that "when it is done" may be "never". While development is certainly something that has unexpected delays and so on, when there is no ability to provide a timetable, that's worrying. It can be indicative that there's no clear idea of what is going on or a lack of direction or a staff that lacks the ability to do what is asked of them. I mean you'd great rather nervous if you were having a house built and you asked the foreman when it'd be done and they said "When it's finished, I can't give you a timetable." You'd be worried, and rightfully so. While he can't tell you the precise day it'll be done, you should at least be able to get a ballpark figure.

So I really hope it rules, and I hope this just means it'll be given the time it needs, but I worry this is signs that it may never actually happen.

Re:Things like this always make me worried (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20091835)

mean you'd great rather nervous if you were having a house built and you asked the foreman when it'd be done and they said "When it's finished, I can't give you a timetable." You'd be worried, and rightfully so. While he can't tell you the precise day it'll be done, you should at least be able to get a ballpark figure.

Except that the Foreman is working from a definitive set of plans that show, essentially, step by step how to build the house. There aren't testing, tweaking, or balancing issues to be had. That was already handled before by the architect. If I asked my architect when he'd be finished with my complex, massive, fantastic house design and he said "When it's done" I'd be just fine with that.

Re:Things like this always make me worried (0, Troll)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093607)

In that case, you'd be silly. I've seen spec houses through construction and there's always a timetable, even when it is back in planning phases. The time table can change, delays can happen, but it is never a "it's done when it's done" thing.

I understand the complexity involved in a game, but unless you've got no idea what's going on when you are a decent ways in to the project, you should be able to give a rough timetable. I'm not asking for a date or even a month, but a quarter or a half is a reasonable expectation.

I've just seen too many projects that have a "when it's done" hung on them that ends up being either never, or a really poor project when it comes out. The two examples that stick out most in my mind are Team Fortress 2 and Duke Nukem Forever. Both got a "when it's done" kind of attitude. Neither is done yet, both have changed what they are many times, and I'm willing to bet both will blow if they ever actually make it to market.

Misunderstood article title (1)

kindbud (90044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090001)

I thought the title of the article was referring to the state of game development, and that they hadn't even got the space ship part done. I figured that meant Mankind would reach the stars before Spore did.

Spore is dead (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090033)

Most games must be done start to finish within 2 years. If you write a game and it takes 5 years, then the game is usually obsolete by the time it comes out. The longer the development cycle, the more difficult it is to target the hardware that will be available when you ship the game. And as the code base grows in complexity it becomes harder to maintain, test, fix bugs, etc. I think too many people say "Will Wright knows what he is doing!" and conclude everything will work out. But history shows that when a game is ambitious, overhyped, and delayed multiple times -- that the odds are not good.

I really hope Spore works out. But I think they may have become subject to high expectations and scope creep.

Re:Spore is dead (2, Insightful)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090439)

Most games yes, however now we're hitting a wall technologically. There's a point where current graphics, are good enough. look at half-life 2. it's still going strong, look at the sims. these are games that are older than 2 years and are still selling very well. Writing an ambitious game like this will take more than 2 years to work out all the bugs. there is a ton of gameplay in it. And they not only have to write all this gameplay mechanics, but playtest, re-work, fix bugs, make it fun. for most games a 2 year dev cycle is ample time for that. mostly because they're already on tried and true game mechanics. FPS, RTS, RPG, MMORPG... all tried and true principles, each with their own challenges and ability to customize to make your game unique. throw in a game like spore, and you have a game that spans genres, spans gameplay styles, developing that game, will take time. and I actually think that right now is the best time to do it. yes the hardware it was targetting may be the previous years, and you have a better system when it's released, that really doesn't hurt sales any, in fact it allows people who have a slower box run it fine. it expands your audience. take Doom 3 it had really steep requirements, not many people had the box to run it well, and there were many complaints. some people even going as far as to say they should have delayed until the hw was available. You say history shows that when a game is ambitious overhyped and delayed multiple times the odds aren't good, I think delays are actually sometimes good for the game. as long as the people working on it care about producing a good game. They'll take the extra time to make the game great. this has been shown in history too... Everyone throws in Duke forever... I really don't think spore can even be considered in the same class... as for the release date of "when it's done", Doom3 had that, half-life2 had that, tons of games have had that be the release date from the dev team. Marketing drones are the ones who kill games, they're the ones who kill the games that have been delayed multiple times. after all it's the marketing drones who announce the release dates. and set the deadlines. sometimes deadlines simply can't be met. is that the developer's fault? maybe, but most likely the deadlines were too strict and too soon. especially since I know how hard game devs work.

Re:Spore is dead (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090959)

All good points.

My fingers are crossed for Spore.

From The Man himself: (4, Insightful)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090243)

A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever. - Shigeru Miyamoto

Re:From The Man himself: (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#20090841)

A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever. - Shigeru Miyamoto


That's a nice quote, but there are some delayed games that still manage to be bad forever. Look at Daikatana.

Re:From The Man himself: (1)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#20092783)

A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever. - Shigeru Miyamoto

That's a nice quote, but there are some delayed games that still manage to be bad forever. Look at Daikatana.
Perhaps they were not delayed enough?

vapour ware (1)

partowel (469956) | more than 7 years ago | (#20091773)

Spore is a myth created by EA to make them look credible.

Spore is a distraction from EA sports and how ea sports treated their programmers worse than slave labour.

Spore is a joke. Sim[noun] took its place a long time ago. Spore is an OLD OLD idea.

Start with nothing...and make something.

Well...almost nothing.

The game of life. More specifically, DNA lifeforms using the formula of evolution.

There are all sorts of life in the universe. Carbon based, Silicon based, 6 base nucleotides, 8 base, 16 base, etc, etc, etc.

Only human arrogance believes it is the ONLY intelligent life on this planet.

Back to the topic of spore....spore is going mmorpg.

EA wants to make a TON of money. Thats where it is.

A stand alone game would never make greedy EA happy.

Conclusion : Spore is vapourware.

Beware EA : they are lying to you.

Vapor Ware (1)

harl (84412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093139)

In cases like this the case is simple.

if the publisher is blizzard
      wait for a high quality game
else
        the product is vapor ware

a well-done Spore huh? (1)

icebeing (458161) | more than 7 years ago | (#20093265)

Gee, where have i heard this rhetoric before? I guess
these guys are taking pointers from 3D realms.

I guess we can chalk up another one in the DNF category.

Too bad, I had such high hopes for Sporeage!

So even with whips... (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 7 years ago | (#20094355)

So even with whips, EA is unable to make their devs work past the 100 hour/week mark. For shame...
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