EA Developing Spore, Other Games For iPhone

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EA Developing Spore, Other Games For iPhone


Apple displayed games at its iPhone SDK event, with EA, Sega, and Apple itself unveiling upcoming products. Sega will release a tilt-sensitive version of Super Monkey Ball, its marble-in-a-maze franchise. Apple showed Touch Fighter, an OpenGL space-pilot game where you lean the iPhone to steer and tap the screen to fire. And EA announced plans to bring a version of Spore to the iPhone. Release dates aren’t available for Super Monkey Ball or Touch Fighter, but EA is targeting a September release for iPhone Spore.


In addition to the creature simulation, EA has “other [iPhone] games in early stages of development,” according to EA spokesperson Trudy Muller. While Apple announced that all iPhone products would also work on the iPod touch, EA didn’t offer any comment about Spore’s specific phone-free compatibility.


Muller is pleased with the SDK release, which allows EA to create games for Apple’s mobile devices. She notes via email, “We’re really excited about what this means for people to be able to play EA games on their iPhone or iPod touch and are thrilled to extend our relationship as a developer of games for various Apple products.” She even names the devices, lest Mac gamers feel left out: Mac, iPod nano, iPod with video, iPod touch, and iPhone.


Spore creator Will Wright and executive producer Lucy Bradshaw were coy with us about iPhone plans at a recent Spore demonstration. (See the April issue, on newsstands now for more details.) We played a mobile phone version of the game then, but EA won’t comment on how closely that flip-phone game will match the iPhone release. Based on our brief impressions from the SDK press conference today, we think the two seem similar.


Instead of the massive five stages within the Mac game, Spore for mobile phones focuses on the first stage—the microscopic, cellular world. Players pilot primitive creatures in an overhead view, trying to eat nutrients to grow larger. Traditional phones use a joystick for steering, but tilts direct iPhone organisms.


Once the creature eats enough, players enter a customization screen to evolve. With the iPhone, upgrades are just a touch away; players position fins with a fingertip, allowing better steering and movement. Other changes add shells, jaws, and other offensive or defensive capabilities; other creatures live in this eat-or-be-eaten pool. Players can even customize colors for a unique, visual style.


EA wouldn’t confirm if the iPhone version of Spore will allow online competition, but the company has already explained the multiplayer mode on traditional phones. After beating the standard-phone version, players upload fully evolved, simple creatures, where they’ll fight other friends’ creations. Through automated battles, different creatures’ strengths and weaknesses determine the winner.


At the end of the demonstration today at Apple's town hall meeting, EA’s Travis Boatman ran a cut-scene of the creature climbing onto land. This transition marks the beginning of the second phase in the full, computer version, but he said it was just a test of the video capabilities of the SDK. We’ll keep you posted if the iPhone version of Spore evolves into something different than its mobile-phone cousins.




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I'm buying Super Monkey Ball the instant it is made available.


Jack Ressel

All I can say is Spore on iPhone is:

A) Epic
B) One more reason to buy one
C) Amazingly Epic

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