Darkspore: Maxis got a little help from their friends

When EA announced Darkspore – a sci-fi action-RPG based around technology we first saw in the 2008 smash Spore, gamers got pretty excited – but they didn’t know quite what to expect.


Darkspore, in green

Taking the developer reins on this one is – predictably – EA Maxis, creators of the original Spore, and home of The Sims (as well as other similar simulation titles). They’ve got a pretty hefty pedigree in making amazingly popular games, but, crucially, not much history in RPGs.

But! Parent company EA do have a handy team on-side who have plenty of RPG experience – a little outfit known as BioWare. (Not familiar with them? They’ve created, among other things, the Mass Effect universe – which could pretty easily be described as a “sci-fi action-RPG”.)

When a Comic-Con panel revealed that EA Maxis had received some help on Darkspore from the guys at BioWare, the crowd went wild.

…unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the true nature of that “help” to be revealed, thanks to a handy “Meet the Devs” document sent out by EA. Turns out that the lead writer for Darkspore, Malcom Azania, happens to also be a member of the BioWare writing team. He contributed to Mass Effect 2 and the downloadable Kasumi mission, and has published a bunch of his own novels under a pseudonym).

The team also includes developers who’ve worked on The Godfather, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Star Wars: Force Unleashed, The Simpsons, Warhammer and, um, Diablo 3 (“back when it was in space, but after it was a pirate game”). There’s also a programmer who helped launch PayPal.com!


Darkspore, in orange

So yes, BioWare did help EA Maxis, but not in the way many gamers had hoped. He’s just another element of the rich tapestry that is Darkspore – due for release in “2011” for PC and Mac.

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