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Maxis closure photo
Maxis closure

EA closes SimCity maker Maxis Emeryville


First SimCity (2013), now this
Mar 04
// Jordan Devore
Another studio with a storied legacy has fallen under Electronic Arts. The Emeryville offices of Maxis, the force behind simulation games like The Sims, SimCity, and Spore, shut down today. EA says it's "consolidating Maxis I...
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Gaikai goes live with demo for Dead Space 2 and more


Feb 28
// Nick Chester
Want to try out game-streaming technology Gaikai for yourself? Here's your chance, and you don't even need to go anywhere: the beta service has launched demos for three Electronic Arts games. Sixty minute trials for Spore and...
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Darkspore's Zrin the Sun Fist is a tank


Jan 13
// Conrad Zimmerman
There's really no better way to describe him. He's big, deals a lot of close-quarters damage and is the primary subject of this new Darkspore video. Listen, if you dare, to some very dry narration of his assorted powers...
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Darkspore beta now open for registration


Nov 16
// Conrad Zimmerman
Darkspore, the online multiplayer mash-up of Spore with Diablo, is soon to be entering into beta and EA is looking for folks to test it out. In a newsletter, EA announced that beta registration is now open. Going to the sign-...

Hands-on and interview with Darkspore

Nov 11 // Jonathan Holmes
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While Ben Perlee was busy writing words about Darkspore, I've been hustling up this video for you. Oh Ben, you and your written word. So old fashioned. I didn't get into Darkspore with the same level of depth that Ben did, b...

Hands-on: Darkspore PvP

Nov 11 // Ben Perlee
Darkspore (PC)Developer: Maxis SoftwarePublisher: EATo be released: February 2011 Like most of these types of games, players will want to go through the single player campaign first before jumping in head first and trying to take real players on. This is important, because the single player is where new recruits will be found, as unlike the main Spore game, you wont be able to build an alien from the ground up. However, you can add all sorts of parts to customize your aliens to suit your look and stats to basically any position on the aliens' bodies. One thing the team is addressing is the ability to de-spec the equipable items, so if players want to have something that looks cool but does nothing, they can do that. After a solid amount of single player time, players are expected to have numerous squads of alien fighters. Squads are made up of three aliens at any given time, and it's expected that a good squad will have a well-balanced team. I had a huge brute of an alien with a laser gun and some tank abilities, a spindly fast alien with large claws, and a green thing that focused on projectiles and healing.  When squaring off against another player, players will want to switch out to best address the most immediate threat. Fighting against a tank character, you'll want to focus on immobilization and distance attacks, and if a healing character comes out, being fast will be a major advantage to you. Characters can be switched out any time, with only a minor cool-down. All in all, it actually feels somewhat like a real-time Pokemon game, if that makes any sense.  Unfortunately, if you are looking for massive instances with multiple players, you'll have to look somewhere else. PvP is one-vs-one or two-vs-two only, and that is the only option. Thankfully, the PvP arenas are of a small enough size, that this isn't too much of a problem. The arenas themselves have environmental hazards, such as fire shooting up from the floor. Ultimately, it looks like PvP will be a fun little addition to Darkspore. I think there needs to be a bit more to it to make it the hardcore multiplayer mode people might better like, but it's an addition that suits the nature of the game. I suspect the campaign, which can support up to four players in AI directed levels, will be where most players spend their time, but using their best fighters in a battle is something many gamers wouldn't pass down.  
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When EA announced Darkspore earlier this summer, the fusion between Spore's character customization and a Diablo-esque RPG set in space makes for an interesting set-up. Last night, we had the chance to see how the game's...

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New Darkspore gameplay trailer


Sep 29
// Conrad Zimmerman
I increasingly get the impression that you lot don't care about Darkspore. And it's hard to blame you for that. I had grave doubts about it when I saw the game earlier this year, but I came away impressed that Maxis was atte...
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BioWare writer helping to pen Darkspore fiction


Jul 26
// Nick Chester
Stemming from a small comment in a GameStop article, reports have been spreading that Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare is assisting Maxis in the development of Darkspore. As we've discovered, that's not entirely a...
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The creation of a Living Weapon in Darkspore


Jul 23
// Conrad Zimmerman
Here's a little tease for Maxis Studios' recently announced Darkspore. It's a rendered cinematic showing the process used by the Crogenitors to create one of their Living Weapons. It doesn't actually tell you anything about ...

Preview: Darkspore

Jul 20 // Conrad Zimmerman
Darkspore (PC)Developer: Maxis StudioPublisher: Electronic ArtsTo be released: February 2011 Darkspore is a third-person, action/RPG with a science-fiction setting. It tells the story of a race of beings known as the Crogenitors whose scientific studies granted them the capability to manipulate DNA by a means called "transfection." Infusing creatures with elemental properties using this technique, they created awesome warriors called "Living Weapons" which exhibited tremendous power. Not content with this, the Crogenitors searched for ways to increase the strength of their Living Weapons and discoverd "exponential" DNA (E-DNA) and began experimenting. All subjects transfused with E-DNA invariably became hideous mutations, dangerous and unstable. These "Darkspore" eventually overpowered the Crogenitors, forcing the race that would be God into hiding for a thousand years. The time was not spent idly. E-DNA has been stabilized in this time. Using it's power the Crogenitors are poised to unleash their Living Weapons and rid the universe of the Darkspore. The story feels cookie-cutter. It is as though it only exists to service the expectation that because a game has RPG elements, it needs to have something resembling a plot. Thankfully, the story elements will be unobtrusive at worst. Unlike many titles of it's ilk, Darkspore is dispensing with the idea of acquiring quests from NPC characters in some sort of overworld. Plot elements will be conveyed through rendered cutscenes at specific points between levels. No, Darkspore is all about distilling core concepts from genres of gaming and, like the genetic wizards of its exposition, blending them to make a different beast. On the most basic level, it is a game of "left-click to kill" where you contend with swarms of enemies that fall before your might. Elemental effects take on a crucial role, with enemies being weak and resistant to the attacks of your Living Weapons. Since running into the wrong type of foe could spell complete disaster, you'll field a unit of three Living Weapons, which you may select out of all the creatures you collect in the course of the game. These are unique hero characters, whose skill sets are derived from being one of three classes and possessing the properties of one out of five elemental types. Controlling one of your Living Weapons at a time, you can switch the active character instantly but must wait a period before changing again. Each character has some special attacks in addition to their basic moves and each also confers an ability on the squad. These special powers can be activated regardless of which Living Weapon you currently control and can provide environmental effects and buffs.  The level geometry in Darkspore is static, but that's the only thing that remains the same from visiting one of the game's planets multiple times. Using random placement for environmental objects and an AI Director system to govern the spawning of enemies, levels should feel fresh regardless of whether or not you've tread its surface before. This a chaotic game and one which was designed to be a cooperative experience. Up to four players may team up against the Darkspore, with incremental difficulty and loot rewards for higher player counts. At the end of stages, players are given the choice of walking away with their prize or pressing on for better kit. Players who choose not to participate simply drop out of the game while the rest go forth. Since the game has no experience system, good loot is the only way to increase the abilities of your Living Weapons, which will no doubt factor into more than a few decisions. The Spore Creature Creator has been remade entirely to support the new graphics engine Darkspore is using. It's used to customize the look of your Living Weapons, giving it that player creation feel which so enchanted many fans of Spore. Most changes are only cosmetic, but that doesn't make it any less fun to play dress-up with your creatures. That's not the only use for the Creator, however. Darkspore will also feature player-created content in the form of enemies. In fact, members of the Spore Creature Creator community have been making bad guys for some time now, unbeknownst to them. Player-made creatures are already present in the current build of the game and will continue to be added as moderated content after release. Darkspore won't be out until February of next year, so there's still a fair bit of development time to go. What Maxis has shown so far is impressive. While it is unlikely to be hailed as a new revolution in videogames nor generate the buzz of its forebearer, it appears to be a smartly-designed game utilizing proven mechanics. I'm interested to know more at this point, which is certainly more than I would have said before having had the opportunity to see it.
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The basis for much of my opinion on Spore comes, unfortunately, from its spin-off games for consoles and handhelds. While the original title was something which captured my interest, my inability to commit to a life of P...

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We all know that Activision is the bad guy now and Electronic Arts is all awesome and cool these days, but that doesn't mean that it won't be whoring out a popular franchise as much as it can. Never doubt that EA is a busines...

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Modern Warfare 2 is most-pirated game of 2009


Dec 28
// Conrad Zimmerman
Shocker, right? Arguably the biggest game release of this year wound up being the one most stolen? Hard to imagine.  Yet that's exactly what the people at TorrentFreak are claiming. Their yearly research into the games p...
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Waste time with new Spore Islands Facebook game


Nov 05
// Nick Chester
As if you didn't already spend enough time on Facebook stalking your ex or laughing at pictures of people you knew in high school, Maxis has given you another reason to sit on the social networking service all day long. ...
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For once, we are getting a videogame-based movie that actually makes a lot of sense. As reported by Variety, Fox has acquired the rights from EA to produce a Spore movie, and while few specifics are known about the film at th...

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Spore gets web-based 2-D creature creator


Sep 16
// Nick Chester
Who wants to launch pesky gaming software when you can just get the job done in a browser? Electronic Arts understands where you're coming from -- you want to be able to create a Spore creature in the same place that you chec...
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Spore Hero shows off some creation


Aug 29
// Matthew Razak
Spore is kind of becoming the village bicycle for gaming genres. Sure it started out as a ambitious simulator, but now its also been an adventure game, an RTS game and an odd DS game. Up next for a ride is platforming and fig...
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Reticulating splines: Maxis hit with layoffs


Aug 26
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Shacknews brings even more bad news today as a series of layoffs have hit Maxis, the developers of Spore, The Sims and other Sim titles. Electronic Arts told Shacknews that: "Often in the video game industry, the size ...
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Spore descending on Nintendo systems with Spore Hero series


Aug 17
// Conrad Zimmerman
EA announced today that two new games in the Spore franchise will be appearing on Nintendo's consoles this coming fall. Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena will be making their way to the Nintendo Wii and DS respectively on Octob...
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E3 09: Spore Hero and Spore Hero Arena get some new screens


Jun 01
// Justin Villasenor
Hey there Dtoiders. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other on the front page, hasn’t it. Well, the short story is that I’m back from my lengthy absence; and just in time for E3, no less.So then,...
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Robot Chicken team creating Spore content


May 19
// Nick Chester
If you were wondering WTF http://www.spore.com/wtf was all about, wonder no longer. Electronic Arts has announced that the upcoming Spore expansion, Galactic Adventures, will get free downloadable content designed by the folk...
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Spore Hero, Spore Hero Arena announced for Wii, Nintendo DS


May 12
// Nick Chester
Electronic Arts and Maxis have officially revealed today that they’ll be bringing the Spore franchise to Nintendo’s consoles, the Wii and the Nintendo DS, this year… with a twist. Spore Hero will hit the Wi...
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Spores tackles LittleBigPlanet as Maxis throws down the creative gauntlet


Jan 24
// Jim Sterling
Both Spore and LittleBigPlanet are games that ride the "user generated content" train that seems to be so popular these days. Despite the fact that LittleBigPlanet benefited from its appealing central characters and...
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Over 65 million creations made in Spore, no word on how many are penises


Jan 22
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Last night, EA and Maxis had a little shindig in San Francisco where they revealed the new Spore expansion for PC, a new standalone Spore PC title and Spore for the Wii and DS. Like any presentation on sequels and such, Maxis...

Spore Galactic Adventures expansion announced, customize everything

Jan 22 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
In Spore, the game pretty much ends when players get into space. Now, players can beam down onto a planet and continue their adventure. Maxis will have preset adventures available at the start, but the best thing about Spore is the stuff that people can come up with. Players can create their own adventures or take other people's adventures and customize them to their liking. The adventure can be anything that the player wants. You can have a capture the flag match, have a race, go on an RPG style quest -- the limitations are the player’s imaginations. All of the adventures are just like the creatures in that they can be saved as a PNG file and shared with anyone across the world. The same applies to planets too. You can choose from a preset list of planets or you can just create your own. You can design an ice world, lava world, water world, and more. You’ll be able to place islands, rivers, roads, and customizable houses all on a world as you see fit. Items such as vehicles, jump pads, keys, exploding barrels, and more can also be placed on planets to add to a player’s story. You can even place music and audio clips all across a planet. All stories need actors and players can add any creature they want to populate a planet. Then they can mess around with how large the creature will be, make it aggressive, make it passive, give it a set path to explore, let it wander around, to much more. Players can also add text to creatures so the creature can tell players what they need to do on a given adventure.  Your creatures will also get new toys to use in this expansion. You can equip monsters with peace tools such as a disco ball or aggressive tools such as laser and missile launchers. You’ll be able to equip armor, swords, stealth fields, mini-batteries and more. All of the items for your creatures will be acquired as you play through find new creatures in the game. Items do need energy though, so you have to properly balance your creature. You can add dozens of lasers to a creature, but it’s pointless if it can only fire one gun every five seconds or so. Every story that you play on will also have leaderboards attached to them. Players will earn medals based on how well they did on a mission, but medals can be taken away if someone does a better job at something than you did. Maxis is working on balancing the leaderboards to make sure they don't get abused. If a ton of people are doing on mission, then the points won't be worth as much. If there's a mission people really aren't focusing on, then the points for completing that mission will be worth more. This isn’t just some slapped on added content; this expansion is almost an entire new game. Spore can now become whatever you want it to be and the possibilities are endless. Spore Galactic Adventures will be out this Spring.
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Last night in San Francisco, EA and Maxis had a "State of the Universe" address where they revealed their upcoming 2009 Spore lineup. I’ll have details on the new PC, Wii and DS titles in a little bit, but the...

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Is EA prepping 'Spore Hero' games for the Wii and Nintendo DS?


Jan 16
// Nick Chester
We already knew Will Wright's Spore -- obviously groomed to be a mega-franchise for Electronic Arts -- was coming to the Wii, but had little other information. New details suggest the game will be called Spore Hero, and will ...

Spore Origins contest winners

Dec 23 // Nick Chester
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What would happen if you crossed an Apple product with a Spore creature? We held a contest to find out, with ten winners taking home a code each to download Spore Origins from iTunes for the iPhone or iPod Touch.  And th...

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Spore DRM is no more (Unless you have a Mac)


Dec 18
// Aerox
While quite a few people thought it would never happen, EA made good on its word and has just released a de-authorization tool for Spore. While the five installation limit is still in place, the tool allows you to deauthorize...
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Have an iPhone? Like Spore? Like free stuff? Sweet. So listen up: we've got 10 "copies" of EA Mobile's Spore: Origins to giveaway. By copies, we mean Spore: Origins gift cards featuring codes redeemable on iTunes fo...

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Spore wins 'Most Pirated Game of the Year' award


Dec 06
// Jim Sterling
Okay, so no such award actually exists, and if it did, I doubt publisher Electronic Arts would be proud to accept it. Spore, the game that has become completely overshadowed by its anti-piracy controversy, had topped a list o...
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Spore gets third patch, free limbs get you 24 parts closer to making your ex


Nov 18
// Nick Chester
Surprise! Computer games ship with imperfections and then they -- get this -- receive a patch! Maxis' Spore just got its third patch, the cleverly titled "Patch 3," which fixes the following bugs: Fix for "...






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