Spore Stirs Atheist Ire for Religious Elements

Spore lead designer Will Wright revealed that the religious elements in EA Maxis' upcoming life-sim Spore (PC, Mac) has unexpectedly earned more criticism from athiests than religious groups. nope

The game sports a focus on the evolution of creatures from the cellular level all the way to the point of interstellar travel. The game's civilization stage, in which players control groups of creatures in an RTS-like fashion, allows players to select from a militaristic, economic, or spiritual society.

"I didn't expect to hit hot buttons on the atheist side as much; I expected it on the religious side," Wright told Eurogamer. "But so far I've had no critical feedback at all from anybody who is religious feeling that we were misrepresenting religion or it was bad to represent religion in the game. It was really the atheists."

Wright, who described himself as an atheist, went on to note that objections from fellow developers helped to identify possible sensitivity issues early in development.

"We have a number of team members that are pretty religious. And so in design, on the team, in our small, little microcosm of players out there, we tried our best to make sure we weren't overtly offending any religious people, but yet we wanted to include the idea, the concept of religion in the game," Wright said.

He added, "We didn't want to go too far down that path: we leave the whole creation of the universe question open. Obviously as the player you're coming in and playing something like a god, directing the evolution of a species, but we never really state who you the player are."

Spore is set for a September 7 release on PC and Mac, with a Nintendo DS version hitting on the same day.