Oli Welsh of Eurogamer writes: "Will really wanted to make a single-player MMO." With this blunt and baffling statement, producer Thomas Vu sums up the last, most remarkable thing of the many remarkable things about Spore. This is an entirely solo, yet massively multiplayer experience. At no point in Spore do you compete or co-operate with other players. But you're in their company - or that of their creations, at any rate - every step of the way, and it's a profoundly social game.
This is exactly the sort of twisted, contradictory, inside-out idea you'd expect from Will Wright, the man who is at once gaming's foremost nerd and, as creator of The Sims, one of its greatest populists. The basis of the idea is "pollination", the process by which Spore - provided you connect it to the Internet - populates the universe of your game with the creations of other players.