The Sims 3 is one of the most anticipated games of 2009. Delayed from its originally scheduled 20 February release, it's now less than two months away from shipping the finished product. CNET Australia's sister site, GameSpot AU scored a chat with the associate producer of the upcoming title, Grant Rodiek, of EA's flagship Redwood Shores studio. He tells us about inviting some of the top Sims users to a sneak peek, how the company plans to attract hardcore users to the fold, and what the plans are for The Sims 3 post-release.
GameSpot AU: You invited some of the top community content makers for a sneak peek at the game not so long ago. What sort of feedback did they offer on the game?
Grant Rodiek: We received a lot of positive feedback from the Creators' Camp. The creators were really excited over the new Create a Sim and Create a Style tools. Many of the creators spent hours using these tools creating life-like Avatars and houses. They were also very pleased with the small touches that have been added to the game such as new music and extra Build Mode functionality.
The Sims are socialising (Credit: EA Games)
GS AU: Why was The Sims 3 delayed?
GR: The Sims 3 June launch gives more time for tuning and polish, and the ability to launch the game on PC and Mac platforms simultaneously. This is a key EA franchise and title, and it deserves a bigger bet on the best Sims game EA has made. These last few months will give us a little more time to tune, tweak and polish the game. Our players have been waiting for something awesome and that's exactly what we intend to give them.
GS AU: What factors decide your Sims' lifetime dream?
GR: There is a large pool of lifetime wishes, which will be determined by the personality traits you choose. Depending on your trait combinations, the possibility of getting a different lifetime wish every time is very real. Players will get to pick from a handful of Lifetime Wishes based on the personality traits they choose from their Sims. It's possible for you to have a different experience with every Sim you create. Whether you want your Sim to become an Evil Mastermind or Best-Selling Author, the game will give you the incentives to do so.
GS AU: What advantages does the new Traits personality system have over the previous slider system of the other games?
GR: It's like night and day. Sims 3 traits might affect how a Sim socialises with others, whether they are good at a skill or a job, how they animate and act, what choices they make, or even whether they shower with pants on or not. They impact the Wishes your Sim has, the Lifetime Wish you can choose, how Moodlets will affect your Sim. Basically, the personality sliders in The Sims 2 had only a superficial impact on your Sims. In The Sims 3 traits fundamentally impact everything.
GS AU: Will we be seeing a character creation demo, similar to the demo for Spore, before The Sims 3 release?
GR: No, not exactly. But we do have some fun interactive experiences for fans such as the official Facebook page.
GS AU: The Sims is often perceived by the gaming community as a casual gamer's game. What are you doing with The Sims 3 to win back these gamers?
GR: This is a question we've asked ourselves constantly since day one. We took some of our favourite features from past Sims games and mixed them with an entirely new set of things like traits, the open world, and a whole slew of creative tools. In some cases we completely remade systems from scratch, like our social system. It's definitely a new game with new experiences!
GS AU: Are you able to run us through any expansion pack ideas that we may see in the not too distant future?
GR: We always have a ton of ideas and things we'd like to add to our games. However, we're focused 100 per cent on making The Sims 3 an incredible game so we're not ready to talk about anything else yet.
GS AU: Will we be seeing any more The Sims On Stage-esque projects?
GR: No plans at the moment, but never say never!
GS AU: Grant Rodiek, thanks for your time.