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Home News The Sims Medieval Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval! - Q&A with Aaron Cohen - part two
Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval! - Q&A with Aaron Cohen - part two PDF Print
Written by Paperpin Saturday, 26 February 2011 16:19
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Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval!
Q&A with Aaron Cohen - part two
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SG – Of all the times in history and civilisations, how did you come to choosing Medieval?

AC – It actually came from a few different places, and all came together at the right time. Ever since The Sims 1 and The Sims 2, the development team always had this idea – “What would happen if The Sims went back in time?” What would they do, how would they react, what kind of game would it be?

With the medieval age, as we’re familiar with characters and all the rich history, myth and legend, it’s easy for your imagination to quickly go there and start playing that game. It’s all thanks to those influences we talked about before – Shakespeare, Tolkien, legends of King Arthur and so on – medieval times bring a strong idea to people of what life was like then, and that lends well to fun gameplay. With The Sims Medieval, and images of Kings, Queens, Knights, and Peasants – you could play the game almost immediately in your head. For something like The Sims in Ancient Greece? Ok, you’d know you’d have a lot of Sims in togas, but would your mind as easily leap to how to play the game after that? Senate? It’s similar for Ancient Rome, the old Wild West and a bunch of other things.

After focussing on Medieval, we asked a lot of questions and did a bunch of research. In terms of time periods, The Sims Community we’re already making a lot of medieval era stuff in both The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 – especially castles! As we looked into it more, we discovered that it was actually pretty tough to do this. The Sims toolset lent itself really well to modern times, as The Sims was a modern game. However, making something look older with lots of sides, detail and to look handcrafted was hard. In buildings, curved roofs and big ceilings could be quite hard to produce in The Sims 3. The Sims Medieval was built to cope with these kind of things, both for the creative community and for the atmosphere of the game. We talked to a lot of fans and gamers to check that we were on the mark with this, and it turned out that we were pretty close. Other eras were looked at and asked about, but Medieval was by far the most popular.

SG – Will there be expansion packs, like for the Sims 3?

AC – Yes – there’ll be content this year that we think people are going to like!

SG – So will that be “Stuff” or new gameplay features?

AC – Both! Sadly I can’t announce anything just yet, but our content will look different than the content for The Sims 3 – The Sims 3 is a different kind of game. So, being as general about it as possible..we have a quest system, so there may well be new quests. There’s kingdom building, so we’ll add options around that. Our Sims progress and live their lives a little differently, so there’ll be gameplay around that. We’ll be adding things The Sims Medieval does well, and that “only” The Sims Medieval does. There’ll be combo of things people love – clothes, hair, decor, Stuff – but also to the new things The Sims Medieval is doing that other Sims games don’t do. Stay tuned – lots more to talk about with the content!

SG – Will The Sims Medieval be patched like The Sims 3?

AC – Sure there’ll be patches – especially with a game as big and complex as this, we always want to keep making the game better and respond to what people want. It’s one thing to do QA inside of EA and have a hundred or more testers working on it – once you give it to millions of people, even more stuff comes up – so you always want to add things and improve things, for sure.

SG – Is Medieval a lot more structured than the Sims 3?

AC – Yeah, I’d say there’s more structure – the quests lend themselves to beginning, middle and ends of stories. Clear challenges, rewards, with a lot more writing and story! People seem to like that. A lot like a lifetime ambition in The Sims 3, it’s not a written quest but you do have an ambition for your kingdom too.

Depending on what kind of Sims 3 player you are, you could become rich and get the best houses and items, achieve your lifetime ambitions, make relationships, or even break into homes or succeed in careers. People like to alternate and mix up what they do, and there’s definitely the ability to do this in The Sims Medieval. There’s still a lot of free gameplay, so you can definitely run around and do whatever you want to.

I think we’ll see people doing a bit of both, choosing something like “I’m not going to do a quest right now; I want to get this character married”. Or if say, your wizard has a brand new spell, you’re totally free to go and test it out – who wouldn’t want to test Inferno to try setting people on fire? You want to try out all the new effects and stuff in the game, so there’s freedom to do that for sure.

SG – Will this ever be on consoles?

AC – There’s no plans for a console game right now, but people keep asking! That’s great, and we are listening.

SG – Do you think this game is for new players particularly, or for existing Simmers?AC – Both! People who love the Sims are very interested and excited in seeing the Sims doing something new that they’ve never seen the Sims do before, that they weren’t expecting a Sim could ever do – that’s very exciting for them. We really want people who love The Sims to see it as being cool and different. For new players, it gives a door to people who’d never played The Sims or wouldn’t normally play the Sims to discover the world. When you say there’s swordplay, a magic system, kings, queens, castles, conflicts and quests, you’re getting people who like those kinds of games thinking “that’s a Sims game I’d play!” It’s certainly not built to compete with hardcore RPGS, but if you like RPGS and especially the softer parts of that gameplay; the stories, interactions, characters, then it’s a game you’ll find really compelling. So the goal of The Sims Medieval is to create something Sims fans will love, but hopefully also help people to discover The Sims who never would have done before.

SG – I really like the idea of The Sims Medieval – like world adventurers you go through a tomb and you get through the story of the tomb. Combination of all the things I like! Some people though think Sims is all about total free will, more of a total sandbox. Is this a move away from total freedom?

AC – We still have plenty of sandbox play. Even The Sims 3 has some directional play for those who want it – lifetime ambitions, wishes and needs. The Sims Medieval starts with the tutorial which is somewhat structured,  just to help those who aren’t familiar with both old and new Sims gameplay. After that it really branches out – with many choices to make, paths to go down *and* the space to simply play your people’s lives. If you want to totally ignore the quest system, you can! When people hear the mention of a Quest System, they tend to think of a more traditional RPG – “I have to do one quest, then another, follow a path then the game’s over”. The Sims Medieval isn’t like that – there is a quest system but it’s branching, giving you the choice of approach you want to take and the characters you want to use, or the choice to simply ignore it if you want to.

Rest easy – we haven’t abandoned sandbox play at all! It’s still there, you’ll have many, many choices to make and a big world to explore in The Sims Medieval.

SG – You must have played the game a lot now! What are your favourite bits of The Sims Medieval?

AC – Oh boy – the magic system, you feel very powerful in a way you don’t in other Sims games. Inferno as one of the Wizard’s spells is particularly cool – you’ve never been able to blow someone up quite this way in a Sims game before. It’s kind of fun and satisfying! The Bard character as well is pretty cool, I like the way they compose music, perform, and brings Sims together as they do so to do all sorts of interesting things. I like the Sims, but love Medieval. Personally, this is the one I’d play between the two.

SG – Thanks very much!

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 February 2011 17:11