Creatures 4: a bit of history!

Creatures 4 - Master SheeWe know that most of you are already fan of Creatures from the start, but we think it’s time to wear the clothes of Master Shee and start doing some history lesson for whom of you who have never heard of this awesome game before. So, what is Creature 4 or C4? No, it’s not an explosive, even if its content really caused an explosion of fan all over the world and the years. If it’s called “4”, it obviously means that before there was a “3”, a “2” and a “1”.

So let’s start from the beginning!

Creatures 1 - NornCreatures 1 was released in 1996 and it was about two strange “creatures” (it couldn’t be other way!) or species called Norns and Grendels. Norns were created to entertain and serve tea and biscuits to the Shee, the ancient inhabitants of Albia, the world in the shape of a coin where the game takes place.

And in the beginning there was Adam… erf, no, sorry, Ron. Yep, you understood well. The first Norn was called “Ron”. The real history of his name have nothing really mythical, except that Ian Saunter, the development director, once did a demonstration using that name for the character and the demonstration went so well that he kept using it praying the success repeated itself and apparently it did!

Creatures 1 - GrendelGrendels, instead, are a failed genetic experiment made by the Shee and the most feared enemy of the Norns. They depend from a Queen for reproduction, the Grendel Mother, who never actually “moves”, she’s just a tube in a tree. The first Grendel was a descendant of Cain, who was the first naturally-born child of Ron and Eve, obviously!

And speaking of “entities” which made history, one of the over-mentioned men in the biblical adventure of Creature is surely Steve Grand, the responsible for the architecture and programming of the artificial life game engine.

Enough with the lessons today, cya next week!

  • mk-grendel

    Mentioning grendels? yeah – great sign!!!!! (don’t forget – they have tails! Big ones!)

    And sure, i know – not by the first release – but maybe by the first update – or second…

    always loved the c1 grendel design! ^^ reminds me on cameleons…

  • Mr Ando

    Mmm, that reminds me that I’ve not seen hide nor hair of a grendel or ettin so far from you. Have I been spectacularly unobservant, of have you not released any pictures or information regarding our other two species? I can’t wait to see them.

  • Sara

    @ Mr Ando I think they’re keeping the other species for potential updates. Better to have drastically different norn species to mix, than to waste time on a whole new set of sounds and genetics, if you can’t even crossbreed them naturally.

    IMPORTANT: Have you addressed the biggest problem of C3, the lifespan? C1 norns would live some 10 hours, and lay less than an egg very hour, whch made every creature precious. In C3 the 5 hr lifespan and constant breeding means you end up with eggs coming out of your ears, and you don’t give a crap about the single norns anymore. I’ve no trouble chucking 10 ugly C3 norns out of the airlock, I can’t let a defetive C1 norn die without doing everything to save it.

    So I really hope you’ve lengtened the lifespan to at least 7 hr or so, and really increased the time it takes them to recover from pregnacy.
    I get that it’ll slow down the beginning of the game, but just give first time users a couple free samples of the fertility potion you surely added (then make it too expensive to use it constantly).

  • mk-grendel

    @Sara Oh no – don’t give them bad ideas! Do you know how much I had to observe my creatures in c1? I couldn’t even leave them for 10 minutes (5 minutes ingame – I had a slow PC) without the fear of loosing them!!!

    But in c3 – I could easily go away with some friends and come back without any problem at all! (except some eggs) Just make eggs eatable – and short living c3 norns would be perfect! ^^

  • ChosenPredator

    I am just hoping they reverse cute the grendel so it’s the one thing that is totally not cute in the world, I want it to look like a disease infested, slimey, long nails, fat girthy on so forth they should have variation of grendels like they do with the norns – they deserve equal treatment plus it keeps it entertaining knowing that we haven’t seen all of them yet

  • Azumizai

    (This is concerning the tweet you have about stating pressing concerns/questions to this blog post)

    There are a few concerns I have that stem from the older games. And I want to know if you’re aware of these things and are trying to stop such occurances like them happening again.

    1. Creatures 1 Norns had better life-spans and better breeding. They bred rarely, and like an above commenter stated, made each norn more precious. Creatures 3/DS norns bred at such an alarming rate, it was really annoying and clogged up worlds. It made each norn less precious, and I have no memory of any real special DS norn save for just one. (Thus dubbed “Soop”.)

    2. Creatures 2 – ‘wall bonking’ syndrom. I can’t remember the ‘technical name’ that the creatures community gave it, but the Creatures Community themselves HAD TO FIX IT. This is highly depressing, and seeing as there are even fixes for the D3/DS norns when it comes to intellegence, I wonder if you guys are working on making sure that the genetic structure is stable? Perhaps looking into the previous mistakes with Creatures 2 and the fixes such as the Canny Norns (C2) And the CFE Norns (C3) can give some insight there. Players of games shouldn’t have to fix issues due to rushing. :/ (The only downfall of Creatures in my mind, really.)

    3. Have you concidered how hybrization between different SPECIES will work? Since I know you eventually plan Grendels and Ettins to be a part of the game, I am wondering if you have already started to figure out how Hybridization would work. So that Grorns etc. will actually be UNIQUE looking rather than a Norn that grunted like Grendel and had a Grendel moniker.

    4. Is there a possibility of having more than just Norns, Ettins and Grendels? Will you think of a fourth species? There’s been a “Geat” slot for a long time now in C3/DS, and I wonder if you’ve thought of utilizing it to bring your own wonderful flavour to Creatures.

    Anyway… that’s all I have at the moment, I look forward to a responce. :D I love what I’ve seen so far!

  • Zeph

    So wait…if grendels come from a tree, and the first grendel was a descendant of Cain, the first son of Ron and Eve, then Cain mated with a tree? Either I’m confused, or weirded out. What the heck kinda freaky stuff were the Shee doing out there!? o_O

  • ChosenPredator

    fishingcactus you guys need to show some love to the forums you’ve been MIA there.

  • mk-grendel

    @Zeph – Had you to say it like that – ARRRGGGHHH!!!! Bad pictures in my head!!!!

    ….wait – does that mean, Grendels are related up to the c3 Treehuggernorns?

  • Sara

    @Zeph, yeah, I’m going to need some reference on that “Cain” point.
    The Shee story as I know it is that Grendels were invented first, but they were too violent, ettins came next but they were kleptomaniac, then norns were developed and they were… just right, I guess.

    I think they just maade up this Cain thing on the spot

    ps, Genesis, will you get it that these AND the other ones are pet games, sandbox games, ok, but they shouldn’t be worse just so you can satisfy your fetish of gruesomely splicing different creatures togheder, or making hundreds of norns and then leaving them to fend for themeselves. That’s secondary!

  • Malkin

    Sara, the Creatures Wiki describes Cain as “The son of Ron and Eve, and consequently the first Norn bred in “captivity.”, and has done so since 2005. :)

    The story you refer to seems to be the story associated with C2, whereas this post deals with C1, before ettins were invented in real life. :) Hope this helps!

    Questions for the FAQ:

    What systems will the Collectors’ Edition run on?

    Will the Collectors’ Edition include all the C3/DS norn breeds? (including the Treehuggers, Hardman Norns, Banshee Grendels, Toxic Norns, and Bondi Norns – the ones who were not later released as free downloads)

    How will the social networking aspect of C4 work? Is it safe for kids?

    When can we pre-order the Collectors’ Edition? Are you running late?

    How will the free-to-play system work? How much will golden eggs cost?

  • silvia.mandrioli

    Hello everybody,
    I’ll break the silence just to let you know that we are reading everything you are writing about Grendels, Ettins, breeding systems, bugs and what so ever and we are taking them to heart. We have just started working on the breeding system and nothing is fixed or set, so keep the ideas flowing and suggestions coming! We love it! ;)

  • Azumizai


    Glad that you’re all listening! Though I knew that’s what you were doing, and the silence wasn’t bothering me personally, since I have some idea what it’s like to make a game. So much work! oOo!

    I can’t wait to see what the breeding system will be. I can’t wait to see more balance between various systems. I’ll ramble out my own preferences.

    1. Don’t breed explosively.
    2. Every instance feels special, but not hard to achieve.
    3. Cool hybridizations between species (Grettins, Grorns and Ettirns oh my!)
    4. Possibility that not every hybridization is exactly the same (eg. no set ‘hybrid’ look.)
    5. No genetic issues! D: I’d hate to see what we had in C2 and C3/DS, and I’d hate for us to have to fix it. :/
    6. Geats! :D Pwetty pwease? :D ? XD

    All really that I think everyone really cares about, is that you all work hard on making sure that the system is clean and doesn’t dilute the gaming experience, but also doesn’t give us frustrating dissapointments that the rushing of C2/C3/DS had given (this is my personal experience).

    Though it is clear that you all are serious about making sure you give a good product, and I hope that the Creatures Community continues to give you imput so that you know that you’re making a good product and game in the end. For new and old Creatures fans! Since I think it’s just as important to get new players rather than just appeasing us oldies.

    Thanks so much~ *hug*

  • mk-grendel

    Breeding suggestions;

    normal breeding between grendels norns ettins and maybe geats should be possible – but just not realistical

    in case of optimal conditions, the species should have 90% chance of fertilisation
    male grendel + female norn 0,2%
    male norn + female grendel 1%
    male norn + female ettin 0,1%
    male ettin + female norn 0,8%
    male grendel + female ettin 0,05%
    male ettin + female grendel 3%

    wild grendels should be only male and ettins only female – like in c3 – making the opposite gender would increase the chance of interspecies pregnancy

    a tool that increases the chance by 5% should be able to buy with coins and 20% with golden eggs

    don’t know about geats, because I don#t know how they could look like (I guess it’s a long way until we get some geats – very long way….)

    chance for twins and identical twins should be controled by some chemicals – because we could breed some twin pecies – would be fun (maybe controled by multiple chemicals that are already in the body- one of the toxical)

    one egg twins idea – a uggly big not-egg-shaped egg – two norns would be in it! (90% identical gender)

    female hormons in male norns should make them steril – and male hormons in female norns should do the same (genetical or hardwritten – don’t know)

    abortion should be possible – also sterilisation (making a norn sterile cost nothing – but you have to buy the undo-thing with golden eggs)

    oh and maybe you make geat something plant like – so they won’t produce eggs – but seeds – would only change the image and the egg datas – but would add a lot of fun

    PRODUCING A EGG COT ENERGY!!!!! Proteins, life, energy – something that kills in case they produce non-stop eggs!

    Don’t limit the breeding age hardwritten – limit it genetical! (theoretical possible to breed as baby – but practia there’s no breed at all – for now – reason – you could add all norn breeds as Baby Dolls – read baby doll here would give the oprion for an extra cute breedlist with all breed designs without making new ones)

    eggs should hatch underwater – because you have amphibian norns

    make a pregnancy picture like in c1 or c2 – because that was cute ^^ (even for me as guy)

    easteregg idea; in case of a world with nothing but female norns – 3% chance of cloning itself/pregnancy of a really old norn (depending on the maximum norn age) – chiuld would be automatical male

    oh and it would be really nice in case we could control the gender of the egg – e.g. hot places more male – cold more females – so we would have to move the eggs (only in case there’s temperature – but there could be many things that could increase the chance of a specific gender – maximum for one gender 90%(really rare))

    Oh and they should pass down some chemicals, hardwritten, e.g. toxins, medicine, food – the logical ones

    and radioactivity should increase the mutationchance dramatical! (I had a lot of norns in the c2 vulcano – but there are not a little bit more mutations!!!!!! YOu don’t know how hard I wanted those mutants!!!)
    - in case you add a ‘radioactivity-immune chemical – you could make a radioactivity nornbreed that’s not (much) affected with the radioactive room – after you made it (chemical level of both parents counts – male 30% female 70%)

    oh and a other geat idea – make them like snails – not look alikes (on the other side…) give them only one single gender!

    give eggs a smell – in case norns smell eggs – they won’t be as horny (genetical)

    I hope that are enough suggestions? Don’t know anything else I could suggest except a gensplicer and norns that lay golden eggs (really rare – text in the pregnancy menue “Doesn’t look like this egg is fertilized… but it looks shiny….) – and make those golden eggs eatable and food – so the hand has to be faster then the norns!

    …oh about eatable eggs – creatures shouldn’t be able for eating eggs of their own species – but other species! Would make the great parent-grendels up to egg eating monsters for the other species! (in that case add 4 egg categorys, egg – grendel-egg, ettin-egg, geat-something-egglike)

    and eggs should be breakable – only by the hand in case they fall down a long way

  • mk-grendel

    ….and make egg colours genetical by their parents (not the same genes like the fur color! some different ones!)

  • Malkin

    About the breeding system:

    Pregnancies should take longer than the one minute that C3/DS pregnancies did. Give us the chance to fuss over our expectant mothers!!!

    If longer pregnancies are implemented, ‘homesickness’ should be taken out, as homesickness tends to override the mama norn’s ability to care for herself.

  • LoneSheeGirl

    Nice history! Don’t forget to do one about the Shee! And I had no idea that Cain thought trees were so…errr, attractive. If I were him, I would’ve just made like a Treehugger and leafed. :P

  • mk-grendel

    A wish out of the german part of the creatures fanbase;
    from Nornenmeister; He wants different breeding times – e.g. one breed need twice as long as the standart norns the other breed just the half time (and they should be genetcial compatible)

  • sam999

    My questions.

    1. Will third-party modifications work on the Collectors edition versions of old creatures games? Please say yes?

    2. When you say three games, do you mean Creatures One, Creatures Two and Creatures Three/Docking Station or just Creatures Three. Please say you mean Docking Station as well….

    3. Will you be hosting your own version of the Docking Station server. You don’t really need to, see the link at the bottom of this post but some people would like it.

    4. When you call them Mac-compatible do you mean fully Mac-compatible with fixes for some of the major Mac/Creatures bugs such as catalogue files unzipping in the wrong places, lack of a Wolfing Run mode and rainbow spew?

    5. Creatures crashes a lot and gets slowed down to the point where the only way to get it working again is to delete it from my computer and re-install from the disc. Please say that the Collectors Edition versions of the old games will be able to install an unlimited number of times. I swear not to abuse this or share the software, I just really want my Creatures games to work.

    6. How much will the Collectors Edition cost?

    Thanks in advance for your answers.

  • LoneSheeGirl

    I don’t mean to repeat here, but I posted this question on the Creatures 4 website and I’m not sure if you’re checking the comments there, so I’ll say it again: Do you have a specific release date, or even a release month, for Creatures 4? You said Q4 of 2012, which you said would be around September or December. I’m just wondering what the date will be, because it’s been a long time and Q4 is already beginning.

  • dealerking

    Pregnancies should be longer than in the previous games.
    As standard, one could begin 10 to 30 minutes depending on the life span.
    During this time, the females should find a safe place, where something like a nest can be built.
    Because of pregnancy would also rise and fall of the food consumption of the movement radius clear.
    Meanwhile, males could gather food and feed the female.

    The idea of ​​the egg smell I find great.
    The egg smell could be used to lure Grendel later to the nests.

    In contrast, the Norns, the smell triggers out a protective instinct.
    The male looks far Foreign creatures and continues to collect food for the female and the young.

    Within the nest egg grow naturally.
    Outside of such a nest egg cools and eventually rots.

    After egg-laying, the mother, as in C1, first recover and is still weak and remains near the nest. More pregnancies were not possible in the time.

    To the nest:
    Whether the construction of a nest requires materials could be given.
    At least you should offer something in the shop as a ready-nest so you
    can help his creatures to find safe places (away from predators, enough food, etc).

    Similarly, Found eggs are placed in existing nests and hatched there. This could tame Grendel or evil Norns incur will be treated by the foster parents just like their own.

    The smell of the pupil should it be accepted by the parents.
    The child takes well to the parents or others of in-close minded as being friendly.
    This could be formed by known families within a Famlie beings
    identified by odors.
    Foreign smells would be regarded as a hostile and kept by the family from the nest.

  • sam999

    I think I might already tried to have posted these questions, but since they didn’t show up I’m repeating.

    1. Will third-party modifications work on the Collectors edition versions of old creatures games? Please say yes?

    2. When you say three games, do you mean Creatures One, Creatures Two and Creatures Three/Docking Station or just Creatures Three. Please say you mean Docking Station as well….

    3. Will you be hosting your own version of the Docking Station server. You don’t really need to, see the link at the bottom of this list of questions, but some people would like it.

    4. When you call them Mac-compatible do you mean fully Mac-compatible with fixes for some of the major Mac/Creatures bugs such as catalogue files unzipping in the wrong places, rainbow spew and the lack of a Wolfing Run option?

    5. Creatures crashes a lot and gets slowed down to the point where the only way to get it working again is to delete it from my computer and re-install from the disc. Please say that the Collectors Edition versions of the old games will be able to install an unlimited number of times. I swear not to abuse this or share the software, I just really want my Creatures games to work.

    Thanks in advance for your answers and sorry for re-posting.

  • sam999

    Also I just thought of this….

    6. There is no game store near my house. I live more-or-less in the middle of nowhere. But you said that the Collectors Edition will be sent to stores. The question, could you guys please also have it available to be bought online, and get shipped to the buyer’s home? Make it purchasable on in other words. Please? I think would really boost business. There’s no way for me to get a copy otherwise.

  • C-Rex

    Here are a few questions I have:

    1. What will the ingame music be like? Will it be ambient-sounding like C1, C2, C3 and DS or will it be more conventional-sounding like Creatures Village?

    2. Will our Norns be able to travel through to the four worlds or will they just be confined to just one?

    3. Will there be a warp system in-game?

    4. Will there be diseases?

    Hope you’ll be able to answer these as soon as possible!

  • Andrea Di Stefano


    1) more music-y. We want to have clear themes for each environment. I don’t remember the music from Village but we never took Village as an inspiration so I doubt they sound alike.

    2) Right now they are confined but that could change.

    3) Something like that. At first you’ll be able to exchange eggs. Exchanging Norns with other players will come later.

    4) yes

  • coswiz

    Creatures? Never heard of it, but it does sound cool. All this talk of breeding has me wondering whether anyone has ever considered the moral consequences of this activity? In a nutshell, has anyone has ever thought about making this is little more realistic and introducing a CNSA (Child Norn Support Agency) and pursued breeders for child maintenance? Did the Shee really say “Go forth and multiply”?

  • Andrea Di Stefano

    @coswiz In typical Shee fashion, I believe they said something like “oh dear, we are short on tea” and life kind of ensued. Go figure.