Electronic Arts executive vice president Rod Humble is a philosophical man. At EA’s E3 2010 press conference, he spent a good amount of time onstage talking about free will. Perhaps the most intriguing of his statements related to the conscious brain versus the subconscious. It seems that when you are about to perform an action such as moving your arm, the subconscious part of your brain is active a brief moment before the conscious part is. Humble wondered aloud if this means that our actions are predestined, or if instead our actions are mere manifestations of our thought processes. Could it be that the sims--that is, the little digital people that inhabit the games in the Sims series--have more free will than we do?
Humble appeared to be quite smitten with the idea and explained in depth how hard it was for the development team of The Sims 3 to predict how events in the game would play out, given that every sim makes decisions based on its needs, from short-term needs, such as having to pee, to long-term needs, such as fulfilling career goals. And as Sims players know, that unpredictability is an important part of the series' success and charm. And fortunately, PC enthusiasts aren't the only folks who will get to tinker with little computer people in The Sims 3, for the game is coming to other platforms as well. We didn't get a lot of details on what the console version will offer, but we can make a few guesses based on the trailer that followed.
The trailer was a montage of various events you could expect to witness in your sims' daily lives, set to Kris Allen's song "Live Like We're Dying." Among the sights: a happy husband caressing his happy wife's pregnant belly; a guitar-playing superstar basking in the limelight; party animals whooping it up with noisemakers; girls whispering and gossiping; a young man proposing marriage to his thrilled spouse-to-be; and a melancholy fellow mourning at the grave of a loved one. These are typical sights in The Sims 3, but we did catch some glimpses of content pulled from The Sims 3's two major expansions for the PC: World Adventures and Ambitions. Mummies were a common sight in World Adventure but not in the vanilla game, while the firefighter profession in Ambitions seems to be making its way into the console version of The Sims 3. While we can't confirm this, it seems that The Sims 3 on consoles will include features introduced after the game's original PC release.
EA intends to stay true to its mantra of control, creativity, and connectivity, and the end of the trailer showed us three additional keywords: create, play, and live. The Sims 3 is coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS. We look forward to telling you more as it comes to light. In the meanwhile, take this opportunity to ponder important philosophical questions in your free time. But is it really free time--or predestined? Rod Humble has a few ideas about that.