A Q&A with the 'Spore' creator -- Will Wright talks about the new evolution game and ''The Sims''

Before all our free time gets sucked away by Spore — which lets you create custom critters and guide them from a single cell to space travel — we figured it was worth chatting with creator Will Wright (The Sims) about his hotly anticipated new foray into digital simulacrums, out Sept. 7.

It’s been almost 20 years since you brought us SimCity. When did you realize that you were able to create something as vast as Spore?
I think it was The Sims that showed us the value of having the players in a more creative role [in the game], able to create their own characters, their own houses. They got very emotionally connected to these experiences. With Spore, we went about giving players the next level of creative control. Almost everything that you see on screen in Spore at some point in the game the players will create and manipulate.

So why call the game Spore and not, you know, SimEverything?
Well, Spore was actually our secret name for the project, on the assumption that we would eventually call it SimEverything. But halfway through, we realized how much we liked the name Spore; it fit on so many different levels.

Since you released the Spore Creature Creator in June, people have posted scores of YouTube videos of creatures that, well, look like people’s private parts. Did that surprise you?
The ”Spornography.” [Laughs] It didn’t surprise us, but the quality of it did. Some of it was amazingly well-done, including animating two characters very correctly going at it.

What is your advice to people who sit down to the game and suddenly it’s seven hours later?
[Laughs] You always hope eventually [the game] sparks someone to get off the computer and go find out more about global climate, or the history of civilization, or evolution, or astronomy. Really, you’re playing with the toy version of something that’s a much deeper subject.

For an exclusive clip from Spore and a complete review of the game, go to ew.com/spore