Though the announcement of action-RPG Darkspore
was a surprise, Maxis executive producer Michael Perry says that it was a natural outgrowth of the technology the studio developed for Spore
"When we built Spore
, we built a lot of great things. It's groundbreaking in many different ways..." says Perry, as part of a larger Gamasutra interview
published today. In addition to internal ideas, he says, "We looked at what players were saying out on the forums, and what they're looking for in gameplay, and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be incredible if we could take this technology and use it to make creatures and characters that would fight together?'"
The technology that powered Spore
didn't just allow for user-created creatures to fight; it also allowed the team to quickly prototype this new idea. Says Perry, "We very quickly realized that the action RPG genre is such a great fit for this tech... we thought this is a great way to make an action RPG game."
Perry, who started at Maxis in 1992, says that the new direction for the studio isn't really that new -- nor does this game relate to the fact that SimCity
and The Sims
creator Will Wright has left the studio.
Of the technology that powers Darkspore
, says Perry, "there's definitely a lot of Will in there."
But moreover, "Yeah, it is the first game we're doing since Will has left the studio. But Maxis has a personality. It's a studio that's been around for more than 20 years. You build a culture, and that culture sticks."
"It's a very brainy studio. There's a lot of core gamers there -- a lot of PC gamers there -- and a lot of nerds," says Perry. That, as much as anything, seems to have pushed the team toward the direction shown in Darkspore
is due February 2011 for PC. The full interview
, which goes into greater depth on the game and how Maxis arrived at the concept -- as well Perry's reaction to competitors such as Torchlight
and Diablo III
-- is live now on Gamasutra.