Designing five games, but trying to find the fun in one: the challenges of creating Spore
I remember seeing a demo of Spore years before it would be released at E3, with Wil Wright showing off the different stages of the game, zooming in and out in order to impress upon us the sheer scale of the thing. The game had a number of interesting, forward-thinking ideas, but the damned thing was never exactly fun to play.
This article goes into some great detail about Spore's design and the challenges and issues that made the game so difficult to create. Learning that the game wasn't even playable until the final year, and the inability to ask for more time, didn't help the situation. It seems like no one took a step back to look at the whole thing as a cohesive project, and the author points out how the perception of the game rarely matched up to the reality of the finished product.
Spore remains an interesting failure, and it's great to get a look inside what went wrong, and learn all the lessons possible from the troubled development. This is interesting stuff.