If the past is any indication, The Sims 2: Nightlife is but the second in what will most likely be a long line of popular expansions for The Sims 2. After all, the first The Sims sold millions of copies, and its eight expansion packs added millions more. The Sims 2 was released last year, and the first expansion, The Sims 2 University, was released earlier this year. Nightlife is being aimed for release this fall, which is probably fitting since there will be some new paranormal gameplay added to the main game, just in time for Halloween. Whenever we have questions about The Sims, we know we can usually throw them to senior producer Tim LaTourneau, who has overseen almost all The Sim PC games to date. We recently asked Tim for more details regarding Nightlife, and he was kind enough to oblige us.
GameSpot: We're familiar with the existing aspiration system in The Sims 2, which lets players put their sims on the fast track to professional success or higher social standing. What exactly is the new pleasure aspiration, and why did you feel it was necessary for Nightlife? After all, wouldn't the existing romance aspiration cover the social aspects of Nightlife?
Tim LeTourneau: The aspiration and wants and fears system is a significant addition to The Sims 2 gameplay from the original game. It's a system that traverses the entire world of The Sims from birth to death and everywhere in between. We wanted to be able to add to that experience in Nightlife. The pleasure aspiration does have social aspects, but it also has aspects of every other aspiration as well. These are sims that want to experience all that life has to offer, and they are focused on trying a little bit of everything.
GS: What are some of the wants and fears that go along with the pleasure aspiration? For example, the romance aspiration is essentially about "hooking up" with as many people as you can. Does the pleasure set look to party all night long?
TL: One part of the aspiration is definitely about getting out, both with friends and on dates. You're going to see these sims wanting to do things like "Go on a Date," but they also want to have fun as well. You'll see them wanting to "Do the Smustle," which is the new group dance that has been added to Nightlife. Sims also want to do fun things at home, and they are interested in a variety of skills and experiences. Variety is the spice of life.
GS: Will there be a new career track that's geared toward the pleasure aspiration? Once again, for example, in The Sims 2, romantic sims steered toward the slacker careers, whereas knowledge sims seemed to like the medical profession, and so on. Will the new aspiration have any effect on sims' professional development? What will happen when a sim attempts to (pardon the pun) mix business with pleasure?
TL: They will definitely have specific tracks that they are attracted to, but more likely you will see them interested in changing careers. Sims get bored doing any one thing for too long.
GS: When we look at Nightlife, we're reminded very much of the Hot Date expansion for the original Sims. Hot Date opened up a whole new world of dating interaction. Will Nightlife do the same? And what kind of new interactions can we look forward to? Are there new kissing moves? New wooing interactions?
TL: It's natural to draw comparisons to Hot Date. It was one of the most popular expansions for the original game. I think that the most important thing it provided was the opportunity to get sims out of the house to experience something new and similar to the lives that we lead. Dating was part of that and Nightlife takes that gameplay to the next level. We introduced a date score and an outing score for time out with friends. These new features are tied to the wants and fears of both your sim and his or her companion. During dates your sim will be driven to fulfill the wants of both sims. Going out will be a whole new way to max out the aspiration bar. There are cool new socials tied to dining and dancing. "Slow Dance" is one of my favorites, and it unlocks new nested socials like "Head on Shoulder" and "Dip Kiss." There are plenty of new ways to heat up your date.
Rules of AttractionGS: Will Nightlife also expand on the dating game in The Sims 2 quite a bit? Will there be the equivalent of the formal restaurant dinner that was found in Hot Date? Will you be able to pick up partners in bars?
TL: There is a whole new dining system that introduces new foods--sims even have favorites. The dining system introduces a way to not only dine and socialize with a date, but with a whole group of friends. There are a variety of new dining socials. "Steal a Bite" is one of my favorites.
We've also added an attraction system, which allows the sim to find the other sims they are most attracted to. Two sims that are very attracted to one another will have socials available to them earlier than normal. So you really do get the sense that the relationship is moving forward quickly.
GS: Is it safe to assume that you're creating a whole new stable of characters for Nightlife? Care to give any examples? Do you have a disco guy? Party girls?
TL: There are definitely new characters, and some old ones that are reappearing. The gypsy matchmaker is pretty hilarious. If you don't want to search for the perfect date, just give her a call. There are a whole host of downtownies to meet. The diva might be a little harder to get to know, for example. And Mrs. Crumplebottom is back. The old bitty is back downtown putting a stop to public displays of affection wherever they may occur.
GS: What's with the supernatural element in the game? The early artwork showed a sim with vampire fangs embracing a willing victim. The Sims 2 let you create alien characters. Will Nightlife introduce the playable undead, or was that more of a hint at a goth club, or something similar?
TL: Well we always like to add something a little goofy and out there; it wouldn't be The Sims if we didn't. The fangs are real, and some of the denizens of downtown may have more on their mind than just dancing. I don't want to give too much away, but for our movie-making players, I think we can expect some good ol' Transylvanian film festivals in the future.
GS: Will there be more wardrobe options to go along with Nightlife? For example, there don't seem to be that many sleek and stylish cocktail dresses for female characters in The Sims 2. And will you be able to have a "nightlife" set of clothes, like the existing casual, swimwear, and formal sets of clothing that you outfit your sim with during character creation? Or will you simply rely on your "formal" clothes when you go out for a night on the town?
TL: There are definitely some new styles to choose, ranging from sleek and sophisticated to raver wear. There isn't a particular Nightlife style, so you can wear whatever you want when you head downtown.
GS: Finally, can we expect cool new simlish musical tracks to power the nightclub dancing, or will you stick with the existing musical themes?
TL: Absolutely...we've got some great stuff. Just wait until you hear the karaoke singing.
GS: Thanks a lot, Tim!