While many games have ditched traditional retail expansion packs in favour of downloadable content, life simulation franchise The Sims still clings to the old model. The spawn of Will Wright is well known for unleashing expansion pack upon expansion pack for its loving fans, with The Sims 2 having seen more than half a dozen add-ons.
The Sims 3 is no exception--released in early 2009, it has since seen expansion packs that have put virtual beings in, broadened their horizons with new ambitions, dropped them on an island, and spiced up their night life.
The latest expansion pack--The Sims 3: Generations--sees EA opening up activities for a range of different age groups. Following our first look at the game, we caught up with assistant producer Ryan Vaughan to find out what trouble your sims can get into, find out about social media integration, and more.
GameSpot AU: Why was it important to bring more generation-specific content to The Sims 3?
Ryan Vaughan: We wanted to let people truly live their sims' lives to the fullest. Previously, we've given people the opportunity to explore new sim lands in World Adventures, find a new career in Ambitions, and most recently have a fun night out on the town in Late Night. With this expansion, we wanted to bring the most fulfilling and rich life experiences to your sims. The Sims 3: Generations is all about creating more interesting life stories.
The Sims 3 base game allowed us to take a sim from their birth to their death, but The Sims 3: Generations adds tons of new age-specific content and features that make each life phase a unique and fun experience. We've added tons of new age-specific content and features that will not only allow you to create more interesting sims, but it will allow you to tell bigger, richer, and deeper stories with your sims and their families, from the cradle to old age.
GS AU: Give us some examples of the tasks and scenarios the various age groups will be able to get involved in.
RV: We geared some of our new features to represent a few specific themes for each life phase. For children, it's all about imagination and make believe. Children can play with their imaginary friend, dress up as a princess or even a dinosaur, and let their imaginations run wild in tree houses. For teens, it's about those moody, rebellious years you face as you grow up. We focused on giving players the ability to create potions like the Ninja Vanish potion with the chemistry set, pull pranks like door bell ditch, and introduced a new punishment system. Will you be able to get away with causing trouble in your neighbourhood before you get caught? As a young adult and adult, we have a bunch of new features and content that focus on your sims’ relationships with others; from getting married to having children of their own. Elders get to enjoy their time reminiscing about the golden years and the joys of watching their grandchildren grow up.
GS AU: How much of the content in The Sims 3: Generations comes from the design team, and how much is driven by community feedback?
RV: With every new expansion pack, we sit down as a studio and plan out what new gameplay features and ideas we want to offer our fans. We spend time reading the forums and listening to the wishes of the community so we can offer them something they'll really love and also something we want to offer them.
GS AU: Will you be including fixes and updates to the base Sims 3 game with Generations, or was the goal solely to deliver new content?
RV: This expansion pack is all about new experiences for your sims and is filled with new content. We continue to listen to community feedback after the launch of each game and will continue to bring game updates to address any issues players experience as well as offer new updates. We haven't made any announcements regarding the timing of new game updates, but stay tuned.
GS AU: The game features social media integration. Why did you opt to include the feature, and what can players do with it?
RV: Our community loves sharing their stories and creations. It was important for us to find a way to give our players another outlet to share these stories. With The Sims 3: Generations, players can upload their sim's memories and custom-made memories [created with the Capture This Moment button] to Facebook, complete with a screenshot of the memory as well as a custom description. We look forward to seeing what the players create and share with The Sims 3: Generations.
GS AU: Will Generations also be released for the console and portable versions of The Sims 3?
RV: The Sims 3: Generations is for PC/Mac and will be available later this spring.