Spore Stirs Atheist Ire for Religious Elements

By Aaron Linde, Aug 11, 2008 2:45pm PDT 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.

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.

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32 Threads | 122 Comments

  • For the record I dont mind the inclusion of religion in a game. Religion is as much a part of society as any natural phenomena . And even if I did mind, that wouldnt count shit, because, like everyone else, I do not have a right not to be offended. Hell, make a bible game for all I care, its all freedom of expression.

    If I was to open my mouth about religion in pop-culture, and specially USA pop-culture, I have to say that I'm sick and tired of the constant need to appeal to woo-woo, mysticism and "faith" in every goddamn movie and TV-show, The tagline for the recent X-Files movie says it all: "To find the truth, You Must Believe" Quite possibly the worst advice anyone could give. Ever.

    To find the truth, you must DISbelieve, you must QUESTION things, thats the whole point. DO NOT BELIEVE ANYONE. Question them. Be skeptical. Always.

    But I think Spore will be great, I'm looking forward to get my cold, heretical hands on it.

  • This post was destined to spawn a hundred threads that each contain an argument about religion. This is my least favorite thing on the internet right now. Might as well be discussing which is better, red or blue.

    Can we all agree on saying, "Down with overly-sensitive fanatics on both sides?"

    It should be everyone's collective responsibility to catalog fanatics and keep them in check. No, speaking out against video games isn't a constructive use of your time. Condemning books, movies, and games couldn't be more of a waste of life. Inundate the people around you with those messages.

  • This is most likely a non-issue that a few anonymous message board posters created as I have yet to see any of the newsworthy Atheists talking about this game negatively. If anything Eurogamer is emphasizing a minor point in the interview as the main headline to draw in readers. Having sat in on his keynotes before, he has never unfairly criticized or belittled people so I have no reason to believe Spore would be offensive to Atheists ( especially since he is one ).

    "..., and the rest of the players seemed very tolerant, including all of the religious players. And most of the atheists were very tolerant as well." - Wright

    Its a really good interview that stands on its own and doesn't need any conflict or drama. I think over his now 20 year tenure in our industry we can give him the benefit of the doubt that Spore will be a great game and not a tool to indoctrinate religious beliefs.