New Q&A for The Sims 3

November 17, 2008

New Q&A for The Sims 3

EA has launched a new thirty
question Q&A for their upcoming PC title, The Sims 3. The Q&A can be read in its
entirety below. The Sims 3 is currently scheduled to release in February 2009.

The Sims 3 Q&A

1. After all these years of
creative thinking, Sims Fans have made many interesting Sims, houses and other
objects. Will it be possible to transfer Sims from previous version to The Sims
3? And what about other objects like house and furniture designs?

There are so many innovations in The
Sims 3 so it’s really not possible to transfer items or Sims from previous
games. The level of detail in The Sims 3 is so high that any conversion from
older games would not be satisfying for players.

2. Also many Sims fans have
gathered a huge pile of CD’s with add ons for 2nd version of the game, which
will turn into junk once 3rd version comes out. And what add ons will be
included in The Sims 3? Can we expect pets, seasons and magic in the initial
release? And what of additional extras for previous version we will have to
re-purchase for new one?

At the moment, we’re only thinking
about The Sims 3. We have a huge team devoted to making the best possible game
and we’re not going to think about anything else until it’s perfect.

3. Also there are many questions
about ‘living neighborhood’. Before Sims 3, player-made families just waited
patiently until someone plays them, now it appears to be that they will live on
their own. Let’s assume that player created two families: “Mary and Bob” and
“John Smith”. Then he played with “Mary and Bob” for long time, almost
forgetting about that other family. It’s quite possible that when the player
returns to John Smith, he’ll find no one there, since he could live his entire
life, get old and die, so there will be no opportunity to play with him. Is
there any solution already?

There are lots of options in The
Sims 3. In the example that you just presented, the families that you don’t
control will develop along with the household that you are controlling. However,
you can switch between families at any time. You can also move families between
save files, so you can develop one family to a specific point and then merge
them with another save file. Story tellers will do that a lot.

4. We’ve already heard that there
will be ‘Hand of the God” in the game, that allows to pick up and move Sims and
other objects. Also it will be possible to feed and clean Sims with one click of
the mouse. Which other simplifications should we expect?

There isn’t a feature that works
exactly like you describe. However, players can do something that we call “live
dragging”. In simple terms, you can manipulate some objects directly with your
mouse. In the past, The Sims had to clean up everything for themselves. Now you
can grab trash and throw it away, or grab an item from the floor and put it in
your Sim’s inventory.

5. And what about robots, Aliens,
Vampires and others? Will be they available in the initial release or we will
have to wait for them to appear in outgoing expansions?

We have some tricks up our sleeve…

6. Since there will be quite big
virtual universe on player’s disposal, are there any plans for minigames like
car driving? And what about dance simulators, which are so popular on consoles?

There are some really interesting
collection games and skills have a lot of rich detail.

7. Are there any plans of
extending Sims’ vocabulary, e.g. will their words really mean something? Or they
will keep mumbling some meaningless Simmish like before Sims 3?

The Sims always speak simlish. We’ve
tried to teach them the languages of the world but they don’t want to listen.

8. Some years ago The Sims Online
was started. But we didn’t heard about this project for a while. Are there any
plans to include some online components in Sims 3, like chats or minigames where
players can use their Sims as avatars?

The Sims 3 players will have
unprecedented freedom to customize the look of their game. A player with
creative aspirations and no technical training or knowledge can make changes to
the look of just about everything in their Sims life, right in the game. We call
the technology Create-a-Style. In the past, fans made their creations outside of
the game and then shared them on the exchange. We wanted to give the power that
our artists have to the players.

The process of getting creations
online is easier than ever. The Sims 3 launcher helps you install and manage
custom content so that you don’t have to hunt around for directories or anything
like that.

Finally, The Sims 3 community is
completely new and there are some incredible tools, including a web-based video
editing tool so that players can make movies from the videos they capture in the
game.

9. What kind of player activity
have you planned for The Sims 3?

Sims can do things that they
couldn’t do before, like ride bikes, work out at the gym, go to the beach, grab
a snack at the bistro and more!

10. What about the game has been
upgraded and what is completely new? Also, can you explain a bit about how the
new ‘boundaries’ work? What kind of activity will be opened up for the Sims?

The first thing that people will
notice about The Sims 3 is the world around them. If you see it, you can go
there. In the past, The Sims players were confined to playing on little levels
that we called lots. Now there are now boundaries. The technology is incredible
because we can show you the tiniest detail of your home, like the petals on a
flower. A few seconds later you can look at the tiniest freckle on a Sim on the
other side of town. This all happens in real time. We’re in a great place as
developers these days: Realism has been achieved…check. We can just focus on
style and delivering seamless experiences so that the player can be completely
immersed in their story.

11. How, if at all, has the
customizability of The Sims evolved for The Sims 3? How will players be able to
integrate this into their Sims experience?

We’re going to give the player
unprecedented control over the visuals in the game so that they have the same
control that our artists have, right in the game. The new Create – A – Sim
allows players to make just about any person they can imagine, and there are
tools in the game that let you change the look of almost any surface on your Sim
or in their home.

12. Can we expect to see our
favorite Sims families return, having grown, as they did between The Sims and
The Sims 2?

Yes! You will see many of your
favorite things from past games in The Sims 3.

13. How has player feedback
impacted changes you have implemented for The Sims 3?

We’re all fans of The Sims, and a
lot of our team worked on The Sims and The Sims 2, so player feedback is built
into our team. We also spend a lot of time interacting with members of The Sims
community around the world. I don’t think the game would be what it is without
The Sims community. Fans have always wanted more interaction with a community of
Sims. If you think about it, The Sims is the most detailed depiction of
contemporary life to be presented in a work of fiction, but half of life was
missing. In The Sims 3, we’ll let you explore the other half of life that
happens when you are not at home.

14. How do the ‘new
personalities’ work?

There are over 70 personality traits
that players can choose from. When you choose traits they are represented as a
simple word that you might use to describe someone you know so it’s easy to
understand what they will do in the game. What makes traits so powerful is that
they can change the game in profound ways. You’ll see different behaviors,
interactions, advantages and goals depending on the traits that your Sims
display. Just to name a few examples of more extreme traits, you can let your
Sims be Insane, Evil, Kleptomaniac, Paranoid, Brave, Hates Kids, Genius and
more.

15. What challenges did you face
in the creation of The Sims 3?

Working to tune the AI so that the
people who live in your town have lifelike behavior. Over time, all of The Sims
in the town grow and develop, and it takes an impressive amount of tuning to
make this work just right. I think that people are used to seeing lots of other
characters in a game world, but they’ve never seen a game world where every
character is being motivated by unique personality traits and motives like The
Sims 3. Another thing we’re working on is a feature called Create A Style which
allows players to customize just about everything, from clothing to furniture to
cars. We want players to be able to change the game like our artists can. The
interface is really powerful and we want to make it perfect.

16. We understand that the game
features a continuous neighborhood and no loading times, but there won’t be
multiple neighborhoods as in The Sims 2. Tell us a bit about this decision. How
will it change what different players do with the game once they get it in their
hands?

There is one neighborhood, and it is
pretty amazing. We’ve been working exclusively on this one neighborhood, Sunset
Valley for the last few years. It’s bigger and richer than anything we’ve made
before. We really just wanted to make something that would blow people away, and
we wanted to do more with the town than we have in the past.

No two towns will ever be the same
after one generation in The Sims 3. As I mentioned, every Sim has complete AI
throughout their life, so you’ll see people grow up, go to school, fall in love,
get married, get jobs, move out, have families, grow old and pass away. It’s
also possible to change all of the Sims in your town, so you can fill the town
with whoever you like…yourself, your friends, characters from your favorite
show, favorite band or sports team, anyone you can imagine…you get the point.

17. We understand that every Sim
has a dream that can be fulfilled as part of a lifetime achievement goal. What
are some examples of lifetime achievements, and what happens when you reach it?
What if you fail?

Just like people, The Sims have
wishes. Some of their wishes are really big and we call those Lifetime Wishes. A
Lifetime Wish is a really big achievement like becoming a rock star, raising a
huge family, getting rich or becoming an astronaut. Along the way to achieving
your lifetime wish, you’ll fulfill smaller wishes. As you fulfill a Sim’s
wishes, you earn points that can be used to purchase special Traits and reward
objects that are generally hilarious and awesome. There really is no way to fail
in the game, but you can make some really funny things happen if you want to
cause trouble for your Sims.

18. How much dedication does it
take to reach the pinnacle of your respective career ladder? Are there any
shortcuts to the top?

If you play your cards right, you
might be able to get to the top of more than one career in a lifetime, but it
would take a lot of hard work and your Sim would need the right traits.
Workaholic Sims will be happy if they live at the office, so that might be a
good way to go. There are definitely some shortcuts, and your Sims will get
Opportunities from time to time that give them a boost.

19. Plenty of open-ended moral
choices will pop up in The Sims 3, like giving you the choice to skim off the
top of campaign contributions in the political career. Give us some more
examples of these moral choices depending on your career. What are the
consequences of such decisions?

The game is full of moral choices.
Some of them are presented to the player as career Opportunities. I don’t want
to give too much away on this subject. A lot of the moral choices in the game
come from the social simulator, and this is where the game becomes so
compelling. A lot of players use the game to explore moral questions in their
own lives. It’s sort of a “what if” simulator. For example, your Sim can choose
to Whoohoo at work, but if they get caught then both Sims run out of the office
naked. Now, that could be a lesson you don’t want to learn in the real world!

20. What can you tell us about
the community features and sharing options players can use to build and share
with their friends and with the larger Sims fanbase?

The Sims 3 players will have
unprecedented freedom to customize the look of their game. A player with
creative aspirations and no technical training or knowledge can make changes to
the look of just about everything in their Sims life, right in the game. We call
the technology Create A Style. In the past, fans made their creations outside of
the game and then shared them on the exchange. We wanted to give the power that
our artists have to the players.

The process of getting creations
online is easier than ever. The Sims 3 launcher helps you install and manage
custom content so that you don’t have to hunt around for directories or anything
like that.

Finally, The Sims 3 community is
completely new and there are some incredible tools, including a web-based video
editing tool so that players can make movies from the videos they capture in the
game.

21. As in The Sims 2, throwing
parties is all the rage in The Sims 3. What are the different party types
available depending on your career?

There are new party types in The
Sims 3, but there are also some pretty cool locations to party with your
friends. If you want to call your friends down to the beach and set up an
afternoon BBQ, you can do that. Break out your guitar, turn on the radio, call
up some friends and chill out. If you’re a rising politician, you can throw
campaign fundraisers to build up your campaign fund as well.

22. Please give us an update on
the game. What aspects is the team working on at the moment?

A lot of our time is spent playing
and perfecting the open, living neighborhood and all of the gameplay that takes
place there. In The Sims 3, we’re opening up the other half of life that players
have always wanted to explore. What happens when you’re not stuck at home? It’s
been a huge undertaking for us, but we’re very happy with the way it’s working
out.

One example of the work we’re doing
is the AI behind the people who live in your town. You control a household of
Sims, but all of the other Sims in your town live and develop as you play. It
takes an impressive amount of tuning to make this work just right. I think that
people are used to seeing lots of other characters in a game world, but they’ve
never seen a game world where every character is being motivated by unique
personality traits and motives like The Sims 3. Another thing we’re working on
is a feature called Create A Style which allows players to customize just about
everything, from clothing to furniture to cars. We want players to be able to
change the game like our artists can. The interface is really powerful and we
want to make it perfect.

23. We’re sure The Sims 2
community was very vocal about what it wanted from a sequel. What were the most
popular requests that fans made for The Sims 3?

We’re all fans of The Sims, and a
lot of our team worked on The Sims and The Sims 2, so player feedback is built
into our team. We also spend a lot of time interacting with members of The Sims
community around the world. I don’t think the game would be what it is without
The Sims community. Fans have always wanted more interaction with a community of
Sims. If you think about it, The Sims is the most detailed depiction of
contemporary life to be presented in a work of fiction, but half of life was
missing. In The Sims 3, we’ll let you explore the other half of life that
happens when you are not at home.

24. We understand that the game
features a continuous neighborhood and no loading times, but there won’t be
multiple neighborhoods as in The Sims 2. Tell us a bit about this decision. How
will it change what different players do with the game once they get it in their
hands?

There is one neighborhood, and it is
pretty amazing. We’ve been working exclusively on this one neighborhood, Sunset
Valley for the last few years. There have been many versions of it. Some ideas
were scrapped, while others survived for a while until we had a better idea.
This town is bigger and richer than anything we’ve made before. We really wanted
to make something that would blow people away, and we wanted to do more with the
town than we have in the past.

No two towns will ever be the same
after one generation in The Sims 3. As I mentioned, every Sim has complete AI
throughout their life. You’ll see people grow up, go to school, fall in love,
get married, get jobs, move out, have families, grow old and pass away. It’s
also possible to change all of the Sims in your town, so you can fill the town
with whoever you like…celebrities, yourself, your friends, characters from your
favorite show, favorite band or sports team, or anyone you can imagine!

25. As players create their Sims,
they will now be able to select five personality traits that will help define
their dispositions. How will this new system let players create characters with
more-defined personalities…and more importantly, how will it do a better job
of letting players re-create the personalities of themselves, their friends, or
their favorite celebrities? What are some extreme personalities we’ll see in The
Sims 3?

There are over 70 personality traits
that players can choose from. When you choose traits they are represented as a
simple word that you might use to describe someone you know, so it’s easy to
understand what they will do in the game. What makes traits so powerful is that
they can change the game in profound ways. You’ll see different behaviors,
interactions, advantages and goals depending on the traits that your Sims have.
Just to name a few examples of more extreme traits, you can let your Sims be
Insane, Evil, Kleptomaniac, Paranoid, Brave, Hates Kids, Genius and more…

26. We understand that every Sim
has a dream that can be fulfilled as part of a lifetime achievement goal. What
are some examples of lifetime achievements, and what happens when you reach it?
What if you fail?

Just like people, The Sims have
wishes. Some of their wishes are really big and we call those Lifetime Wishes. A
Lifetime Wish is a really big achievement like becoming a rock star, raising a
huge family, getting rich or becoming an astronaut. Along the way to achieving
your lifetime wish, you’ll fulfill smaller wishes. As you fulfill a Sim’s
wishes, you earn points that can be used to purchase special Traits and reward
objects that are generally hilarious and awesome. There really is no way to fail
in the game, but you can make some really funny things happen if you want to
cause trouble for your Sims.

27. How much dedication does it
take to reach the pinnacle of your respective career ladder? Are there any
shortcuts to the top?

If you play your cards right, you
might be able to get to the top of more than one career in a lifetime, but it
would take a lot of hard work and your Sim would need the right traits.
Workaholic Sims will be happy if they live at the office, so that might be a
good way to go. There are definitely some shortcuts, and your Sims will get
Opportunities from time to time that give them a boost.

28. Plenty of open-ended moral
choices will pop up in The Sims 3, like giving you the choice to skim off the
top of campaign contributions in the political career. Give us some more
examples of these moral choices depending on your career. What are the
consequences of such decisions?

The game is full of moral choices.
Some of them are presented to the player as career Opportunities. I don’t want
to give too much away on this subject. A lot of the moral choices in the game
come from the social simulator, and this is where the game becomes so
compelling. A lot of players use the game to explore moral questions in their
own lives. It’s sort of a “what if” simulator…

29. What can you tell us about
the community features and sharing options players can use to build and share
with their friends and with the larger Sims fanbase?

The Sims 3 players will have
unprecedented freedom to customize the look of their game. A player with
creative aspirations and no technical training or knowledge can make changes to
the look of just about everything in their Sims life, right in the game. We call
the technology Create A -a-Style. In the past, fans made their creations outside
of the game and then shared them on the exchange. We wanted to give the power
that our artists have to the players.

The process of getting creations
online is easier than ever. The Sims 3 launcher helps you install and manage
custom content so that you don’t have to hunt around for directories or anything
like that.

Finally, The Sims 3 community is
completely new and there are some incredible tools, including a web-based video
editing tool so that players can make movies from the videos they capture in the
game.

30. As in The Sims 2, throwing
parties is all the rage in The Sims 3. What are the different party types
available depending on your career?

There are new party types in The
Sims 3, but there are also some pretty cool locations to party with your
friends. If you want to call your friends down to the beach and set up an
afternoon BBQ, you can do that. Break out your guitar, turn on the radio, call
up some friends and chill out. If you’re a rising politician, you can throw
campaign fundraisers to build up your campaign fund as well.