Announced today as part of Electronic Arts’ annual Summer Media event, Darkspore is the new game from Maxis. Tenuously connected to the rest of the Spore franchise, Darkspore is, as rumored, “an online, science-fiction action role playing-game.” It’s release is targeted for February of 2011.

Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis Studio, offers this explanation of the game.

“Darkspore is inspired in part by the award-winning creature editor tech of Spore, but also in large part from the team’s own passion for gaming and prior experience.”

“The team has combined these inspirations to produce a unique take on the action RPG genre.”

With that in mind, take a look at the gameplay-free teaser trailer for Darkspore:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw4zy6yQciw

While the trailer certainly does not convey it, the game Darkspore most closely resembles is Diablo. Darkspore’s list of features certainly backs up the comparison. From the press release:

“Darkspore will feature dynamic, fast-paced action as players battle across alien worlds to save the galaxy from the mutated forces of Darkspore in a four-player co-operative and full single-player campaign, as well as intense multiplayer battles. In order to defeat the malicious Darkspore, players will need to collect an arsenal of living weapons – genetic heroes with different combat abilities – and upgrade them with tens of thousands of collectible body parts and armor.”

“Darkspore will feature three unique classes of five different genetic hero types, with a limitless number of upgrades and customizations available through the parts players collect on each planet level.”

So, loot crazy, sci-fi action RPG – sounds good to me. I have to wonder, though, if die-hard fans of the original Spore are eager to see the series change courses so drastically. For that matter, there is also the issue of competition from Diablo 3, which could — theoretically — come out sometime in the next year.

Darkspore

Platforms for the game have not yet been revealed. Though Maxis’ games traditionally debut on PC, Darkspore‘s four-player co-op makes the game seems like a great fit for Xbox 360 and PS3, as well.

Ranters, what do you think about Darkspore – is this a smart direction to take the Spore franchise? Can it compete against Diablo 3?

Darkspore is expected to release February 2011.

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