The Sims Medieval Q&A - The Characters of The Sims Medieval

Senior producer Rachel Bernstein discusses the roles of each character in this unusual game based on The Sims.

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The game series known as The Sims has always offered an open-ended experience that lets you get as involved as you want in the lives of tiny, autonomous computer people. The series will take a step in a new direction with The Sims Medieval, a new game that will swap out the open, nonlinear circumstance of the traditional series for a directed experience that takes place in olden times, when kings and queens commissioned the aid of noble knights to protect their peasant population, under the watchful, watching eye of the Watcher--that's you, the player! In the new game, you'll be able to play as any one of the game's individual characters and perform discrete quests to win kingdom points, which will eventually count toward a victory condition. Yes, it's a big change for the series. Senior producer Rachel Bernstein explains.

In The Sims Medieval…no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

GameSpot: Now that we've seen Medieval in action, let's go a bit more in-depth in terms of the roles of different characters in the game. For instance, just taking a look at all the different characters (monarch, knight, spy, wizard, physician, bard, blacksmith, merchant, Peteran priest, and Jacoban priest), there's clearly a lot of variety there, but how will, for instance, each character's place in society affect the way he or she relates? Will non-monarch characters always have to genuflect when initiating a conversation with the king? Will it be harder for a blacksmith to get a royal audience than a loyal knight?

Rachel Bernstein: There are a variety of ways that a sim's role in society plays out in the game. Sims kneel when they enter the presence of the monarch. Every hero sim has interactions that relate to their profession. In the case of the monarch, these include "call for food" and "send to stocks"--actions that reflect the monarch's position at the top of the social ladder.

Hero sims with higher class professions earn more than the other sims and, subsequently, can deck out their homes with a larger number of items and with more expensive items. For example, the knight earns more than the blacksmith.

The clothing options available for each sim reflect their role and profession. The merchant cannot don the ermine robes of the king.

GS: We understand that Medieval will let any character undertake quests with a "helper" character. Is it possible for any character to take on any other character as a helper (such as the unlikely pairing of the town blacksmith enlisting the help of the queen to fill an order of horseshoes)? Can you give some examples of how different characters at different strata of society will work together on quests?

No, I didn't know you were called Dennis, and I didn't bother to find out, did I?

RB: You could in fact, have a quest with both the monarch and the blacksmith, but they would each be doing activities that make sense for them. Here is how quest selection unfolds--more details about the roles of the sims emerge from this.

Step one: Select the quest by name--the name will hint at the overall situation the quest deals with. Some examples of quests are "The Philosopher's Stone," "A Wandering Prophet," "Tournament of Honor," "A Missing Child," "A Political Marriage."

Step two: Choose the approach--how you want to handle this quest. For the Wandering Prophet quest, you can either engage in a tournament of miracles to prove the interloper's faith is not worthy, or attempt to silence the heathen.

Step three: Choose the quest leader. If you choose to try to silence the heathen, you can choose either the Jacoban priest or the monarch as the leader.

Step four: Choose the other quest members. If you chose the Jacoban priest as leader, you can then choose either the knight or the spy as helpers. If you chose the monarch as leader, the only helper option is the bard.

The available combinations are chosen so that all the hero sims on a quest have roles to play that fit with their professions. The spy may engage in eavesdropping, or the bard may participate in a drinking game, while the monarch might send the interloper to the pit of judgment. That's why adding new hero sims to your kingdom unlocks new quests--if you don't have the Jacoban priest or the Peteran priest, you will not have this quest in your quest book.

GS: We've already seen what the physician character is like in action--using torture-rack-like devices and leeches to treat her patients--but we understand that there will be an actual wizard character. Tell us about his abilities and how magic will work in Medieval. Will we see Macbeth-like prophecies told over a cauldron? If caught, will wizards be burned at the stake for heresy if they weigh the same as a duck?

RB: Wizards research and create new spells. They cast spells (players have to learn the spell to help the wizard cast it). They can scry using the crystal ball to find out hidden information. They can craft potions and other magical items, which they use on quests or sell for income.

So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Like all the other professionals, wizards get better at magic with experience and unlock new spell options and more advanced crafting recipes.

Should a wizard need to meet an untimely end, it would not likely be burning at the stake. Being devoured by the beast in the pit of judgment would be a more common method of execution.

GS: We also understand that there will be two different priest characters from two different orders, which are at odds with each other. Tell us about these two characters and what they can do. How will their actions advance the agenda of their church? How will each be able to compete with the rival order?

He who is valiant and pure of spirit may find the Holy Grail in the Castle of…'Aaahhhh'?

RB: There was once an ancient religion. It splintered and then faded from memory over time. Two religions rose up from this ancient root. They share many of the same beliefs but exhibit those beliefs in different ways. They each lay claim to one small piece of land near the ruins of the ancient civilization, which puts them uncomfortably close to each other.

They both worship the Watcher, but they have different approaches to their faith. The Peterans tend to take a more humble and gentle approach, while the Jacobans are imperious and have amassed great wealth.

The two priests compete with each other for followers. They both gain converts with their sermons; the Peterans rely on popularity, while the Jacobans find that fear drives people to their faith. The Peterans evangelize, while the Jacobans absolve. The experience level of the priests helps them in their never-ending competition for the souls of sims.

GS: We understand that the merchant character can conduct trades with foreign kingdoms. Can you explain how this will work in practice? Is there any kind of in-depth economic strategy or playing with market prices?

RB: As your kingdom renown grows, you have access to more distant lands. As your relationship with those lands improves, more trade goods will arrive in the cargo hold of the ship. These foreign goods are rare and in limited quantities. The merchant buys those items from the ship and then sells them at a profit to the rest of the sims in the kingdom. The merchant can also act as a broker between different foreign territories.

The merchant also sells items that are crafted within the kingdom and sold to the merchant by the other professional sims. The merchant can haggle with customers, which can help him buy at a discount and sell at a profit.

GS: Tell us about the life of the humble blacksmith. What sorts of missions will this tradesman undertake? How will he interact with other members of the community?

RB: The blacksmith is a favorite supporting character for many different quests. Frequently, the quest leader will rely on the blacksmith to make unique items. For example, the knight cannot kill the dragon without having the blacksmith create an epic sword not normally found in the kingdom. In the hands of a skilled player, an experienced blacksmith can create surplus high-quality goods to sell for profit.

The blacksmith tends to use his particular abilities to create a unique way to solve a problem. For example, when a child goes missing in the kingdom, the blacksmith may make a gong to rally townsfolk to find the boy, or he may create traps to find the missing child.

The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, shall hold aloft this blade from--what? Supreme executive power??

GS: Also, tell us about the life of the bard. What kind of life does this character lead, and what sorts of quests can the character undertake?

RB: The bard is devoted to performing in front of audiences, writing new songs and plays, and researching how to create better musical instruments. As with other hero sims, the bard will bring his particular skills to bear to complete a quest. For example, the bard may write a poem to spread the word about the missing child or may play a song to rally the people to help search.

When dealing with a roosting dragon, the knight would run the dragon through with a sword, and the wizard would fry him with the fireball spell, and the bard might lull him to sleep with beautiful song.

GS: We know that Medieval will let you play as a single character and take on however many quests you prefer and then switch over to another character if you get restless, gaining kingdom points from quests and other activities before the game ends and your final score is assessed. How feasible is it to play as a single character throughout an entire game? Is there any advantage or disadvantage to regularly switching between different characters?

RB: It is possible to focus on the same character, or small group of characters, playing them for most quests and leveling them up maximally. That may be a good strategy for some ambitions, but not for others. It's not likely you would play the same character for every quest. Depending on which new hero sims you bring in and in what order, you may reach points in the game where the only available quests require you to branch out to some of the other characters.

GS: Could you give us a general update on the game's development? What aspects is the team working on now?

RB: The major systems are in, and most of the content is in. The big push now is creating quests and tuning the systems. Lots of new elements are coming in every week, so it's always exciting to get the latest build and play with what's new. When new user interface elements come in, that's always especially exciting because of their immediate impact on the player. New quests are another exciting element of each week and highlight new elements of each profession to explore.

The game is at the exciting stage of development where the systems are coming together and there is enough content in there that it's fun to play and easy to forget you are testing and just get caught up in the game.

Don't like her? What's wrong with her? She's beautiful! She's got huge…tracts of land!

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about the game?

RB: The Sims Medieval is a different experience from all the other Sims games. We hope it will delight Sims fans and new players alike.

GS: Thanks, Rachel.

Discussion

66 comments
the22for4
the22for4

ooh its look great,this will be a change of historic games.

dzezer
dzezer

No matter how good or bad it will be, it's still the sims. If you want to run an empire or like the RPG elements in game, there are many better games around. But who am I to judge, there are too many sims fans :)

VampiriLestat
VampiriLestat

i love how they used lines from monty python and the holy grail under the pictures xD also sounds like a lot of fun and i will keep my eye on this new sims game

Konviktion
Konviktion

I would've expected anything but I never saw a Sims Medieval coming...What's next, Sims Stone Age ?

icebox98
icebox98

medieval.........he he he! this feeling is gonna rock

sina1374
sina1374

my first thought:This is going to be awesome. My second thought:Please don`t make this.

townsforever
townsforever

okay I've played most of the sim games but so far... that all feel the same, fun and each one is refreshing but, it just feels like moving new furniture into a house... its still the same old house and it still doesn't feel all that different after a few days

musicallie44
musicallie44

This seems interesting. But I got over the Sims craze three years ago. They'll need to make it really interesting to drag the "Sim-weary" people back. I'm assuming this is a stand-alone version of Sims. We don't need Sims 3 to play it right?

hitboy92
hitboy92

what is this?sims? somebody help me!because i'm getting confuse

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

I looked at the date to find out that is not April's 1st or any of that matter. I am confused. Sims in medieval times? its not an expansion but a whole game it self? cool, they could do a Sims Fantasy or Sims Sci-fi even? Talking about milking the cow with sims... in a good way I suppose.

Nosoor
Nosoor

sims never been dull dude this game is gonna rock but not like sims 3 of course

tyrant47
tyrant47

Thanx for the review gamespot and rachel from EA Thik that this games gonna be fun! =)

jh8909
jh8909

I was super interested before reading this. I wouldve liked to see a medieval game where you play one dude and then his family, then next generation, changing trade or advancing class etc. Obviously not going to find it here. Quest carried out various members of kingdom sounds most mundane idea.

AlbionsGreatest
AlbionsGreatest

I'm just waiting for them to make a Sim's game that's actually fun...

Hurvl
Hurvl

But you can already get medieval on the sims' asses in the regular Sims games, so what is the point of this game?

lthill
lthill

I can't wait. I love the fact that Sims Medieval will have goals and quests! I will buy it the first day. The history buffs will love this game. The die hard Sims addicts will love it too.

Syrenz
Syrenz

I've never been interested in the sims before, but this one has me interested.

KILLROYIIII
KILLROYIIII

@Sir_Moosecannon As you Kill a Dragon your Bladder gets full and then you get to pee on it xD

Sir_Moosecannon
Sir_Moosecannon

I love the idea of playing essentially a fantasy RPG with Sims traits; can already imagine fighting my way through hordes of minions, climbing an ice mountain to finally fight the evil opressive dragon... but quickly stopping to take a dump as my knight's bladder gauge is full.

Jshaw71
Jshaw71

sounds interesting, i think the merchant should be called the trader, but that's just me, merchants sell everyday items, not limited things that only some people can afford... the bard sounds fun, as dose the knight (of course) and wizard i like the classic hero, and combat classes like you'd find in an RPG, but blacksmith is cool too, i wonder if there will be some minigames involved with making epic quality weapons? thanks for the news gamespot, and the info, EA

Arcius_Azrael
Arcius_Azrael

This will perhaps make me play Sim for the first time ever.

FiddleJohnny
FiddleJohnny

Too much Monty Python reference, not that it's bad. I don't think the game is going to be as big as a hit as the original Sims though.

lucky711t
lucky711t

This really does sound great! As much as i LOVE the original Sims style of gameplay, this, thank god, is a stand-alone game and is no EP. So at least they're not just getting rid of The Sims' true meaning, they're just expanding. Oh and fyi for anyone who's interested, EA did say EPs for THIS specific game is possible. Oh and, this will NOT be the only Sims game that'll take place in another era, this is the first installment of Sims games that'll "travel through time" as EA says! Can't wait!! :D

Roland3710
Roland3710

Not a big fan of the idea of characters being 'fixed' in their classes but it makes sense considering the rigid structures of medieval society. More often than not you just ended up doing whatever your parents did. Anyhow, I think I'll keep my eye on this one.

shooters125
shooters125

This sounds fun. An nice spin on the whole work, eat, watch tv, sleep routine.

Flex1
Flex1

I though it was a typical Simulation game in medieval times, was gonna buy it just for that. Much like the games The Guild.

Rivenearth
Rivenearth

"why didn`t exist serf class, noble class, free villager class, why ea don`t make sims medieval more realistic, then make expansion with witchcraft, wizards dragons ....." This does not fit their market research for a specific target audience. They do this to appease the many instead of limiting themselves into a niche audience where they will not make a sizable profit. It makes business sense, that's all there is to it.

Dualmask
Dualmask

This sounds very interesting but I'm not sure about the whole linear gameplay. Mission-style adventure never really worked all that well for the Sims games (like the console and handheld titles). I was hoping I could start out as a squire and work my way up to being a king or a wizard or a knight or a mercenary or a noble of some sort--whatever I want--and just have the freedom to create a kingdom, build castles, hire minstrels, take wenches...that sort of thing. Oh well. Maybe change can be good.

M3tr4nk0
M3tr4nk0

Wow, this is looking pretty good! It's really different from the traditional Sims gameplay though, and I'm not sure if that'll be a good thing.

apothix
apothix

They should make each profession have a bigger role

Leon_aditzu
Leon_aditzu

why didn`t exist serf class, noble class, free villager class, why ea don`t make sims medieval more realistic, then make expansion with witchcraft, wizards dragons .....

Purplekjw
Purplekjw

The concept is great. My only concern is that they're sacrificing a lot of what makes the Sims so great, such as the very open-ended customization, and the 'do whatever the heck you want' kind of gameplay. Every article I've read makes this game sound rather shallow... If it only reaches half of the potential I see for this game though, it'll be great.

bipolaryogi
bipolaryogi

holy f**k on a sandwich with a side of f**k on it thats going to be kick @$$!! its been something ive waited for my whole life i've dreamed about a installment like that my whole life (tear) im so happy!!!! yay im gonnaz modz!!! itzzz!!!

luckyduke24
luckyduke24

I don't know about this. Maybe I'm just so stuck in my old ways with the sims. I'm so used to you making a lowly sim and working your butt off to have them advance in their careers. If I'm reading this correctly you're pretty much going to have one of each class/type whatever and then you control them separately. When I first heard about it I was thinking that you start out as a peasant and then you advance into knighthood/priesthood/monarchy/merchant etc whatever your hearts desire. I don't want a premade sim.

Mysterieux936
Mysterieux936

It seems to really lack the open-endedness and do-whatever-you-want gameplay that the sims is famous for. In light of that alone, I'm really expecting this to suck hard. Would have been way better if it was just simply the sims in the middle ages.

Crimsader
Crimsader

Here's a chance for me to get into the Sims. I'm oddly attracted to medieval things.

vicsrealms
vicsrealms

Hmm, this might have possibilities.

SKX09
SKX09

Of course, you can't go truly medieval without including wizards. Although this will be interesting. Any chance for a mercenary class who goes to war?

AleksandarTale
AleksandarTale

This could be a nice change of pace from the original Sims.

T-_-K
T-_-K

interesting, but after the last sims game and expansions i might not be interested