Nightlife will be the second expansion pack for the highly popular life-simulator sequel, The Sims 2. And as we've just been informed, not only will the new expansion let everyone's favorite little computer people have a night on the town, but it will also let them jump into drivable automobiles. Senior producer Tim LeTourneau explains.
GameSpot: Tell us about why drivable cars were added to The Sims 2: Nightlife. Was it due to player demand, or was it a specific feature the team really felt was necessary for the expansion?
Tim LeTourneau: Both. This is a feature that Sims players have been requesting for five years, so we have always wanted to add them. Then you design an expansion pack about "getting your sims out of the house and out on the town." It's just a natural thing to include.
GS: Tell us about the role of drivable cars in the expansion. What can cars do, and what can't they do?
TL: Well these are Sims cars obviously. I don't want anyone to think we've made The Sims 2: Need for Speed, though wouldn't that be cool (imagine Mortimer Goth as a high-speed racer through SimCity!).
The cars really provide a time convenience, and saving time is what Sims players are always trying to do. Sims don't have to worry about missing the carpool anymore, and they don't have to wait for a cab either.
But the real power of cars is in storytelling by the player. They are such an important part of our own daily existence; they make the sims seem even more like us, which is always a design goal. The more that players can relate to the world of the Sims, the more we have done our job right.
GS: How will cars affect other aspects of gameplay? Will sims purchase more-expensive cars as they get better jobs? Will there be an actual professional driver career path? Any new practice skills associated with driving? Will driving a better car increase your sims' social standing or make your sims more attractive to other sims?
TL: Obviously not all cars are created equal, so yeah, more funds mean you can buy better models. We haven't added a driving skill, but as you can imagine, there is a lot of territory we can cover with cars, and like so many other features in the game, future expansions may provide even more to do with them.
For Nightlife, the car you drive definitely can affect how attractive you are to certain sims.
GS: What kind of customization options will be available?
TL: Customization isn't just about the cars themselves. You can select from different models and color choices. But you can also build garages and long driveways, so they also provide a whole new way for players to design and build houses--which for a lot of our players is their main focus of the game.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the expansion's cars, or about Nightlife, or The Sims 2, in general?
TL: Cars are cool! I know that sounds lame, but the first time I saw a Sim leave his front door, walk to the driveway, hop in the front seat, back out onto the street, and then take off, I knew we had done something so right. This is a feature for the fans, something they've wanted for so long, and the team is just psyched to give it to them.
Of course there is a lot more to say about The Sims 2 and The Sims 2 Nightlife, but with E3 just a day away, I want there to be a few surprises revealed there.
GS: Thanks, Tim.