For the species of the same name, see The Darkspore.

Darkspore was a sci-fi action-RPG with a heavy focus on multiplayer elements that featured a much more advanced version of the award-winning real-time character creation and editing technology first seen in Spore. The game was released in North America on April 26, 2011, for Microsoft Windows, and in Europe on April 28, 2011. The servers were shut down March 2016, rendering the game unplayable.


The Crogenitors were a race of unrivaled scientists and had built a large galactic empire. They had mastered genetic manipulation and used their knowledge to create an army of genetic heroes, that became known as "Living Weapons". But the discovery by Crogenitor Xylan of the E-DNA, an experimental amino acid that bonds to DNA, changed everything: it was used to weaponize life itself, and it was capable of achieving millennia of evolution in hours. However, the E-DNA was unstable and all of the subjects who came in contact with it were transformed into a genetic nightmare and connected with a hive mind known as "The Darkspore". The E-DNA rapidly turned into a virus that spread all over the galaxy, killing everything in sight. The end result was war. All genetic heroes were slaughtered, almost all Crogenitors were killed, and the Crogenitor empire dissipated star by star. Six surviving Crogenitors were put in cryogenic pods. Xylan was thrown into exile and E-DNA usage was outlawed. In his exile, he injects himself with E-DNA and becomes The Corruptor, master of the Darkspore. Five of the surviving Crogenitors were sent to planets with surviving genotypes, accompanied by the AI network HELIX, and tasked with constructing new Living Weapons untouched by Darkspore. The final surviving Crogenitor was left asleep indefinitely, awaiting the moment when the HELIX network had stabilized the E-DNA. After 1000 years the HELIX succeeded. The 6th Crogenitor was awakened and began to gather the new Living Weapons, strengthening them with the stabilized E-DNA.

Starting with only a few brave heroes, the Crogenitor Insurgency, as it became known, grew to the size of a small army. The Insurgency raided all Darkspore strongholds, discovering more comrades along the way. They grew ever closer to their ultimate goal of purging the Darkspore from the galaxy, moving ever closer to the ultimate goal of destroying the Corruptor.

In the end, the Corruptor's hideout is located on the ruined desert planet of Scaldron. After an epic battle that reflects the other boss fights, the Corruptor, master of all genesis types, is defeated, and he explodes into a burst of white light and his roar of anguish slowly echos away. After his demise, all that remains of him is the mask of Xylan, lifelessly laying on the ground.

HELIX then informs the player than without their leader, the Darkspore forces are splintering; The mutation mines orbiting Verdanth were shot down, the sun finally arose on Nocturna, the energy fields on Zelem's Nexus were restored and repaired, the technology on Infinity was reclaimed by the natives, who proceeded to eradicate the remaining Darkspore, and the ice that has been plaguing Cryos for centuries is finally starting to melt away. The game then zooms back down to Scaldron where Xylan's mask lay dormant on the ground, but one of the mask's eye holes flickers red before the screen fades out.


Darkspore gameplay is similar to that of other action-RPG titles, such as Torchlight and Diablo, with a top-down third-person viewpoint, 'click-to-attack' and 'click-to-move' controls, and special abilities.

Darkspore has highly-rendered modern graphics and textures, and visceral gameplay that moves at a slightly calmer pace than most other hack and slash games to aid its strategic edge. The player can collect up to 100 heroes, made up of 25 alpha heroes and 75 other variants, of which each player can choose a squad deck of three heroes to take into every mission. Each of the heroes have 4 variants: Alpha, which is the original base hero, followed by variants Beta, Gamma and Delta, which are of the same type and class and wield the same weapons, but have their own unique look, attributes, and in addition to the 3 abilities which are universal across every variant of the same hero, each of the 4 variants have one separate ability of their own that is replicated from another hero of the same type. The right selection and combination of heroes are vital, as their abilities should complement each others' combat effectiveness, and their types and classes should be selected so as to counter resistances according to the enemies being faced. The player may only control one of the deck at a time, though is able to swap freely between the three. Switching is useful for protecting heroes that are low on health or energy until they can be healed or re-energized. Every hero has its own 'squad ability', an ability which can be used by any of the heroes in the player's deck at any time without switching.

The game's three primary pillars of gameplay are the collection, customization, and combat. Players will rise to the challenge of collecting new heroes and many special items, customize and improve those heroes in the editor using the collected items, and then take their selection of the best heroes for the job planet-side to engage in strategic combat and reap the spoils of victory. Darkspore replayability, and is designed to be played over again several times. The game features a procedural AI Director that dynamically controls enemies, an assessment system that encourages players to redo missions to do better and earn better loot, and a 'Risk versus Reward' system that gives players the option to push their luck rather than cash out in a risky but exciting gamble, by choosing to decline taking the loot reward currently on offer right away and, instead voyaging straight on to the next mission for the chance of earning the loot reward currently offered, plus an assortment of new loot and a very special reward for successfully cracking the gambit. However, if the player chooses to push their luck but fails the following mission, all will be lost.

Multiplayer Features[]

PvP Multiplayer Deathmatch[]

Darkspore features an online Player versus Player (PvP) feature, a component that allows players to pit their customized heroes that they have collected in normal gameplay, against other player's heroes, in a multiplayer deathmatch arena. Like in the campaign, the player will have a deck of three heroes each that the player can swap control of using a universal ability to balance their health, energy, and abilities. The game supports 1 vs. 1 and 2 vs. 2 battles, letting up to four players to join a match.

Deathmatch battles are much more challenging and tactical than that of certain other similar games, as defeating an opponent requires players to use all manner of heroes, abilities, and techniques to eliminate all three of the opponent's heroes, which are likely just as powerful as their own three.

Online PvP features online matchmaking, ranking, and leaderboards. Players are able to bet parts and heroes they've unlocked on these PvP matches.

Co-operative Campaign[]

Darkspore's co-operative multiplayer campaign is the main focus of the game. Up to four players, each with their own squad deck of three customizable heroes, can join in on a campaign game, battling enemies together, forming team tactics, and trading loot as they explore Darkspore's story.

Hero Editor[]

Main article: Hero Editor

Darkspore features a specialized version of the renowned Spore Creature Creator for editing heroes.


In Darkspore, there are many characters. This is a list of all the known characters.


'Heroes' are members of the Crogenitor Insurgency, a team of individuals fighting against the Darkspore under the command of the few remaining Crogenitors. Their unique powerful abilities, skills, and talents set them apart from others, and are singled out as prime candidates for certain enhancement through E-DNA, and incorporated into the prime class of the Crogenitor resistance force.

There is a total of 100 heroes. 25 of these heroes will be completely unique, but each having 3 "genetic variants" with one different ability, and altered stats and appearances. Their ranks are Alpha (the hero's base form), Beta, Gamma, and Delta.


In Darkspore, heroes will have to battle legions of adaptive and unrelenting enemies to complete a level. As they play, fighting these enemies will get increasingly tougher to fight, making it more important to upgrade heroes as they progress.

The following is a list of the known enemies that will be encountered in Darkspore.


These enemies are encountered on several planets, very often. This category forms the bulk of the enemies in the game.







Lieutenants are stronger than minions, and are less common.




  • Lightning Juggernaut
  • Magmatic Brute
  • Molten Crawler
  • Quadrakiller
  • Ray Killer
  • Terrorsaur
  • Undermind


  • Invincitron
  • Laser Tank
  • Omicron
  • Raytheoid
  • Reconstructionist
  • Shielded Grenadier



At the end of most missions, a powerful 'boss' character must be fought. Each boss has its own name and title, and a host of unique and dangerous abilities.


This category refers to Crogenitors, those are neither Heroes, Common Enemies, Bosses, or Agents.

Character Classifications[]

The game features creatures of Five different DNA types. This means that the creatures that the players can play as are all split into 5 separate types: Bio, Cyber, Necro, Plasma, and Quantum.

The heroes that the player collects throughout the game are also split up into three different classes: Ravager, Sentinel, and Tempest.

Each hero has its own specialized abilities, affected by its type and class.


As heroes progress, they will visit a series of planets to engage in new missions. Each planet has a number of sections.

Each planet is associated with a Genesis type, which is its "theme". Most minions will be of the associated type.

History & Development[]

At the San Diego Comic-Con, the project of the game was revealed with a quote--though the name of the game wasn't yet leaked:

6:00-7:00: Video Game Reveal: Maxis Studio— Maxis Studio (The Sims and Spore video games) has just announced their next project, a brand new, Sci-Fi Action-RPG based on the DNA of Spore. Join key leads from the dev team, Thomas Vu, Paul Sottosanti, and Lauren McHugh, for the first game reveal to the public! Room 3" [2]

Darkspore was officially revealed at this place, time, and date.

Darkspore LE Boxart

The box art for Darkspore Limited Edition

On November 3, 2010, the main Darkspore website was updated with new, drastically different design and layout, a Tumblr feed, and an offer to pre-order a limited edition of Darkspore that immediately unlocks a powerful Quantum character, Maldri, along with 3 exclusive stat-boosting armor parts. The art for Maldri and the exclusive parts are found on Darkspore.com's Tumblr feed.[3] This offer expired on January 31, 2011.

At the same date, the Sign-up for the Darkspore newsletter feature on Darkspore.com changed into a Sign up for the Darkspore Beta application. This was first mentioned by Mike Perry at the PAX Expo. There is currently no known release date of the Darkspore Beta, which is causing many players to become anxious. On February 10, 2011, the first batch of invites to the beta server was sent. The beta downloader was only available through e-mail and only a selection of players were picked for the beta testing runs. Since this was only the first run-through, it is not known if the beta testing group was cumulative, meaning they invite the same testers over and over in addition to new ones, or if the previous group was wiped away and a new one was picked out. The beta is no longer available.

In an interview, Michael Perry, the Executive producer for Darkspore, announced that as time goes by, expansion packs for Darkspore will be released. The only confirmed content obtainable from these addons so far are new planets, and likely with these planets, new enemies to fight and new heroes to unlock. Despite that, expansion packs for this game have never released whatsoever.

On December 1, 2015, it was announced that Darkspore's servers will be permanently shut down on March 1, 2016. It has now been shut down.



Controversy regarding limitations within the Darkspore's Hero Editor arose when it was announced that the system was completely rudimentary.

Blood and Gore[]

Shortly after gameplay videos and screenshots were revealed, players-to-be could see the relatively copious amounts of blood and gore that existed in the game. Many began to complain that the game contained "too much blood". Ironically, before Darkspore was announced, many Spore players complained about the near-complete lack of blood in the game, on grounds that the gameplay in Spore felt a bit lacking in accessibility to gamers with a taste for more realistic violence.

Maxis implemented a blood switch that can be turned on and off. When players turn off blood, enemies will explode into clouds of E-DNA instead.

Release Date[]

Multiple forum members were growing increasingly worried about Darkspore's release date, due to a seeming lack of response from Maxis. Multiple release dates had been found online; they ranged from February to March 29th to 31st to even April and July. However, Maxis eventually announced these were wrong and the game would be released on April 26, 2011 (USA) and April 28, 2011 (Europe) respectively.

System Requirements[]

The system requirements were released on the Darkspore forum and are as follows:

Windows XP[]

  • 3.0 GHz P4 or Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent or faster
  • 2 GB RAM
  • A 256 MB Video Card with support for Shader Model 3.0
  • The latest version of DirectX 9.0c
  • Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3
  • Up to 10 GB of hard drive space
  • Broadband Internet Connection Required

Windows Vista[]

  • 3.0 GHz P4 or Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent or faster
  • 2 GB RAM
  • A 256 MB Video Card with support for Shader Model 3.0
  • Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 2
  • Up to 10 GB of hard drive space
  • Broadband Internet Connection Required

Windows 7[]

  • 3.0 GHz P4 or Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent or faster
  • 2 GB RAM
  • A 256 MB Video Card with support for Shader Model 3.0
  • Up to 10 GB of hard drive space
  • Broadband Internet Connection Required


  • The Darkspore logo is similar to the Warhammer 40,000 'Imperial Aquila' logo.
  • A few NPCs found in the game, particularly enemies, are actually inspired by creatures from Spore that were submitted into online contests and won. Players who inspire NPCs in Darkspore will receive exclusive achievements.
  • An ARG called Help eDNA existed, in which players solved puzzles given by a mysterious character in the events leading up to the game. The ARG's plotline is finished.
  • The whole game has similarities in gameplay with Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
  • The game is not available to play in Mac OS besides Microsoft Windows.

External link[]