You know, I always thought the one problem with Spore was that there wasn't enough action! You know, stuff blowing up, maybe some kind of helicopter creature that could shoot rockets or something. Thankfully, Maxis is way ahead of me. Their upcoming Action RPG Darkspore takes my suggestion about a helicopter creature and blows doors off of it.
Still, I had some questions about how much of the creature creator would fit in with this new Spore direction. Hours and hours could be spent creating
penis monsters every species the mind could dream up. How will my imagination disrupt the delicate Darkspore ecosystem?
Produce Mike Perry reassured me that no amount of
customization will derail Darkspore
like you might imagine. Darkspore
comes with 25 core characters. Each of those will have 3 different variants with different abilities. On top of that, you'll be able to choose from hundreds of thousands of loot items to build your character with. That's nuts!
creativity is really your thing, but you don't want to sacrifice your characters attributes, Maxis has your back. Perry informed me that you'll be able to dress your creature up with the coolest looking gear, all while actually using different items for the stats you want. If you're a visual learner, check out the dev diary on the hero editor before reading on:
Maxis is relying on Darkspore's
AI Director to maintain balance in the game. The AI Director will pay attention to the types of heroes you bring in, whether you're playing co-op or not. The AI Director will also tune the game on the fly to dynamically address how well you're doing.
If the words "AI Director" ring a Left-4-Dead-branded bell, you've got the right idea. Perry mentioned Valve's zombie games by name and mentioned that you'll be able to test your wits against Darkspore's AI Director in a public beta launching for the game soon.
That means you'll be able to try your hand at single player, co-op and pvp, which is contained in an entirely separate, arena-based combat zone with support for friends and EA's own matchmaking service.
The Darkspore team is focused on balancing multiplayer as well, ensuring that customized characters retain a recognizable profile so other players know what they're up against. Matchmaking will also be an intelligent process that takes in factors like how many games you've won, how fast you've won them, what your hero's levels are and your characters' stats. You'll have to crush other players that have as much experience as you.
Maxis will be giving us journos a chance at some early game time before the public beta, but once that opens up, you'll be able to see what Darkspore is all about for yourself. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.