Electronic Arts has released the so-called Spore Creature Creator, which allows players to generate infinitely varied 3D critters and interact with them. It’s a tantalizing, obscenely fun preview of the company’s upcoming God-game. Download it here (immediately!) and prepare for your productivity to evaporate almost instantly.
The Creature Creator isn’t so much of a demo or a beta of Spore as it is a major component of the game, ripped from the rest, and released for free. Players can pick from various body parts — stretching, molding, and modifying each — to tweak virtual creatures. Nearly every detail is up for grabs, from how many mouths the critter has to its coloring. (I dubbed this one Mr. Stick; see the video below.) Depending on the character’s shape, the game automatically computes how it moves, sounds, and behaves. My initial impression: nearly endless customization. And fun.
EA’s strategy here is a smart one. This is the best demo for Spore possible. Instead of a same-old, same-old one or two-level taste, the Creature Creator is a fully baked product. The gamelette even allows you to upload videos of your creatures to YouTube as well as create FaceBook-like profiles for them. And, this isn’t the first time EA has previewed a highly anticipated game with a free preview of one component. It did something similar with The Sims 2, its best-selling people simulator, by releasing the game’s character customizing module early.