After about a year in beta, Microsoft's Project Spark is finally ready for prime time. The game creation tool is now available for Windows 8.1 and the Xbox One, and the base version is completely free of charge. Here's the requisite intro trailer:
Project Spark is billed as a collaborative experience. Players will be able to create games on their own or with up to three friends in multiplayer mode. They can share their creations with the community, download what others have made, and even modify or otherwise "remix" that content themselves.
Although the standard version of Project Spark is free, some templates and building blocks appear to be limited to paid add-on packs and other DLC. Microsoft also has a "starter pack" that comes in a retail box, sells for $40, and reportedly includes $85 worth of downloadable content. I don't see the starter pack listed at the Microsoft store, so that bundle may be limited to retail outlets and in-game acquisition.
Project Spark isn't the first game creation sandbox geared toward everyday folks, but it may be the most flexible to date. I'm looking forward to seeing what people create—and how many people take to making games rather than just playing them.