The game industry, anxious for a big hit, obviously hopes Spore lives up to the advance hype. Ditto for Electronic Arts, which stands to reap a huge payday barring an unforeseen debacle. After a couple of years of delays and the heightened expectations, there’s more than the usual pressure on EA (and Wright) to wow everyone–again. With 92 full-time employees working on the game and millions invested in research and development–EA refuses to get more specific than that–the company is acting as if it has a mega-hit on its hands. During its quarterly earnings conference call, CEO John Riccitiello even suggested that EA eventually could spin Spore out to become its own label, a la what it did with The Sims.

Counting down to ‘Spore’, Electronic Arts knows it has a winner