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Four new Spore titles for '09

Maxis tells us it wants Spore to be "as big as The Sims"

EA Maxis has confirmed plans to release four new Spore products in calendar year 2009.

Speaking to us at a recent trip to EA's UK headquarters, Spore senior producer Morgan Roarty laid out the franchise's roadmap for the upcoming year.

Maxis is developing the core game's first expansion pack, the LittleBigPlanet-esque Spore: Galactic Adventures.

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The expansion's targeting a "deeper variety of gameplay" based around Spore's space stage, and the overwhelming majority of its new content will be created by the Spore community using new editing tools that'll allow players to customise their own planets and create their own adventures to share with other gamers.

The studio's also handling Spore: Creature Keeper, a standalone PC product targeted at a younger audience. Described as "like a mini-Sims" game, it will see players nurturing a newly born creature that has "Sims motives like energy and bladder".

In addition, two externally developed Spore titles are in the pipeline for Nintendo platforms.

The franchise will make its Wii debut with Spore: Hero, an avatar-focused, adventure-based game set in "a beautiful new world", while Spore: Hero Arena will be the second Spore game to hit DS. Nothing's been officially announced yet on the handheld game's subject matter but the name suggests it'll tie in with the Wii title.

None of these new Spore titles have been given solid launch dates yet, although they're all pencilled in for release this year, with the PC products likely to launch ahead of the Wii and DS ones. They also shows EA's faith in the franchise, which Roarty would love to be "as big as The Sims".

Speaking about the potential of seeing the franchise on 360 or PS3, he told us, "I think first and foremost we'd have to have the right design.

"The obvious out of the box thinking would be to port the PC product... but I don't think that's really the right design. [We'd] possibly go deeper into space... but in my mind, before something like that would get greenlit, it would have to be the right design."

Look out for our preview of the PC expansion later today.

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