'Spore Creature Creator' to see light of day in June

Electronic Arts plans to give gamers the summer to tinker with characters for Spore, ahead of the game's long-awaited September release.

When designing characters for Spore, players will have a wide selection of body parts to choose from. Electronic Arts/Maxis

Attention gamers: If you're looking forward to the taking a hands-on role with the forthcoming Spore, you've got work to do starting June 17.

That's when Electronic Arts and Maxis plan to release the Spore Creature Creator, in both a free, downloadable demo version and a $9.99 retail version (or 9.99 euros, for buyers in much of Europe). The demo version will be available from Spore.com and also will be included with The SimCity, due to be released June 23.

The retail edition provides access to all the creature-making parts for Spore, while the demo version is limited to 25 percent of those parts. Gamers will be able to share their creations with friends, via routes including uploads to YouTube.

In Spore, a long-awaited game from Sims creator Wil Wright, gamers will get a taste of evolution, taking their characters from primordial existence to civilization. (Wright has set a high standard for success--The Sims recently logged its 100 millionth sale.) Besides the individual characters, Spore-ophiles will be able to establish tribes and conjure up buildings and vehicles, including UFOs.

The hands-on work of shaping and painting fantastical critters with Creature Creator won't be just a preliminary exercise, to be abandoned when Spore arrives in September. Gamers will be able to import their creations into the retail version of the game.

Spore for the PC and the Mac is set to debut September 5 in Europe and then two days later in North America, and a version for the Nintendo DS is also due at that time. A version for the Nintendo Wii will come sometime later--it's still in the "early prototyping phase," according to the Spore FAQ.

For more preview images of Spore, see this CNET News.com gallery: Images: Conjuring creatures in EA's 'Spore.'"

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