We went into social mode at last week's official Spore launch party to chat with Caryl Shaw, producer of the enormously anticipated "everything sim." Specifically, we wanted to hear her thoughts on how the game's being received around the globe – especially in light of some unexpectedly low and mixed reviews.
Shaw's of the opinion that the varied scores come as a result of several factors, not the least of which is its mish-mash of genres. "It's not really like a traditional game," she said. "Spore is just this magical creativity experiment." (She also hopes that it helps pave the way for more
"If you try and play it like Grand Theft Auto and you use something like that as your template, Spore's not going to fit it," Shaw told us, adding, "I hope people will review it for what it is, which is this collection of interesting things to play with."
Shaw admits that she "didn't really start enjoying the game until other people's stuff started showing up in it," and acknowledges reviewers' complaints that "there isn't enough depth."
"I think the depth [of Spore] is different," she offered, saying that, "There may not be the depth of a Civilization IV level game in our Civilization Stage, but the idea that you can see all these different creations come in, and you can interact with them, plus everything else that's going on – it's just a good fantasy world." (It's worth noting that Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Civilization IV, left Firaxis to work on Spore.)
Now that Spore is done – and reviewers continue to make of it what they will – we asked Shaw what she's most looking forward to. The answer didn't surprise us in the least. "I'm really interested in LittleBigPlanet, and I think the rest of the team is, too," she said with genuine excitement in her voice. "I really want to see their tool set and how easy it is to share [content] with other people. There's huge potential there if they do it right."