I was watching a bunch of video game trailers when I came across a new expansion to Spore. I wrote an article about Spore a long time ago, where I quoted other reviewers who compared its space stage to Star Control II.
Their next expansion to Spore will be Galactic Adventures. It will be entirely set in the space stage and will have more adventure, exploration and diplomacy elements. Will Wright has left Maxis and is not involved in this expansion; he has moved on to another project called the Stupid Fun Club. Maxis and EA are making Spore games without its original creator.
The reason why I wanted to write about this expansion is because I immediately thought of Star Control the second I read the words “Galactic Adventures”. I’m anticipating reviewers comparing it to Star Control again and I wanted to put in my two cents about it before they do.
If I had to put everything in a single sentence, Spore: Galactic Adventures is not even close to Star Control and it will not change how we see sci-fi adventure games. It still retains its simulation style gameplay where there is not definitive end to the game. There is no spoken character dialogue. There is no ship vs. ship combat. The player will only have 1 ship which will beam down a crew to any planet it visits. There’s no epic soundtrack which reflects the race it is being played for.
Since the game is being published, it will probably have the same SecuROM protection which limits the user to installing the game 3-5 times. A friend of mine once described it as “a $50 rental”.
I’m not quite sure if this can be considered “milking the franchise”; developing an expansion in hopes that the Spore license will be enough to sell it. Like The Sims expansions, players will need Spore first before getting this.
The user-generated content is what made Spore famous. As far as I know, there is not set plot or epic quests; it seems to have a player control a set of user-generated characters and is still bound by Spore game mechanics, so the player will still need to dance in order to form alliances.
Personally, it will not change the way I look at video games set in a science fiction universe. User-generated content is a good because it encourages players to come up with their own ideas; its a clever way of saving time in development.
It’s just not the same as Star Control. There’s no ship vs. ship combat. If reviewers do try to compare this expansion to Star Control, I would be very curious to see what they would write about it. What both games have in common is they take place in space, there is a captain and the player can travel through space. They’re 2 seperate games. I would take Spore: Galactic Adventures more seriously if Will Wright was involved in its development. I will continue to stand by the fact that nothing will replace Star Control.