It is in fact an ex-BioWare writer, who briefly worked on Mass Effect 2, that is at Maxis and that's "the extent of it," affirm EA. Darkspore is all Maxis.
The rumour flew out of San Diego's Comic-Con that BioWare got cosy with Maxis on development for Darkspore, the RPG set in the Spore universe. Game writer Malcolm Azania is actually the only 'connection' that Maxis and BioWare have.
Azania worked at BioWare on Mass Effect 2's story for a brief while. "That's the extent of it," said the EA PR strike force. Darkspore releases on PC February 2011. It's an online action RPG with four-player co-op and other multiplayer. Interested?