Atheists up in arms about religion in “Spore.”

Well this Will Wright interview with Eurogamer isn’t going to do our image any favors:

Wright told Eurogamer: “I think our bigger fear was that we didn’t want to offend any religious people; but looking at the discussion that unfolded from this thing, what we had was a good, sizeable group of players that we might call militant atheists, and the rest of the players seemed very tolerant, including all of the religious players.”

Life in Spore is created according to the theory of panspermia – which hypothesises that it has been seeded on Earth from elsewhere in the universe. But it’s the mere presence of religion in the game’s civilisation stage that has raised hackles amongst some in the gaming community.

“I didn’t expect to hit hot buttons on the atheist side as much; I expected it on the religious side,” Wright revealed. “But so far I’ve had no critical feedback at all from anybody who is religious feeling that we were misrepresenting religion or it was bad to represent religion in the game. It was really the atheists.”

Seriously, who out there thought that a game that is essentially “SimEverything” wouldn’t have at least some reference to religion in it during the civilization stage? There’s some research that religion itself is a by-product of our evolution, but even if that weren’t the case it’s still a viable and potentially interesting aspect of civilization to include.

“We have a number of team members that are pretty religious,” he continued. “And so in design, on the team, in our small, little microcosm of players out there, we tried our best to make sure we weren’t overtly offending any religious people, but yet we wanted to include the idea, the concept of religion in the game.”

Wright, however, who described himself as an “atheist”, insisted that with Spore he was not trying to pronounce on the issue one way or the other:

“We didn’t want to go too far down that path: we leave the whole creation of the universe question open,” he said. “Obviously as the player you’re coming in and playing something like a god, directing the evolution of a species, but we never really state who you the player are.”

When you think about it it’s not so much a game about evolution as it is “Intelligent Design” (I’m surprised the IDiots haven’t jumped on it as promoting their cause) so the inclusion of religion isn’t out of place at all. So lighten up you atheist game testers out there and try to keep in mind that, not only is it just a game, but you assholes got to play it before anyone else.

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