E3 2008: <i>Spore</i>

Checking out Will Wright's new PC game.

Your creature starts out as a small microorganism.

There are a very small handful of brand-name personalities in the video game industry that deserve Hollywood-style, above-the-title billing on the games they design, such as Sid Meier and Shigeru Miyamoto. Arguably, one of the the only other figures who come close to that is Will Wright, the creator of the best-selling Sims series of games (and Sim City before that).

With his latest project, which shares many of the sandbox elements of the Sims and Sim City games, EA is betting big on another hit from Wright. Spore is easily the most anticipated PC game this year, not that there's all that much competition. Spore is best described as The Sims on a cosmic level, where you create an organism from the single-cell stage, watch it evolve, and after millions of years, develop the technology to leave its home world and colonize other planets.

A bit further up the evolutionary ladder. EA

In anticipation, a software app called the Spore Creature Creator was recently released by EA--allowing gamers to get a head start on designing their creatures long before the game hits store shelves. We've seen the game in action at several stages during its long development, and while it's inventive and will appeal to brainy PC gamers, we hope EA isn't banking on Spore to do Sims-like numbers.

The game is much more esoteric--lacking The Sims' basic appeal, which is to let players create a dollhouselike copy of people and places from their own lives (The Sims is also one of the best-selling games ever for women). We're frankly surprised EA isn't pitching it as the latest offshoot of that successful series, and calling it The Sims: Spore.

Spore will be available for PC and Mac on September 7.