The Sims Medieval Updated Q&A - The Hazards of Medieval Life

Executive producer Rachel Bernstein begins counting the many ways that sims can endanger themselves or flat-out die in The Sims Medieval. (She runs out of fingers pretty fast in this one.)

by

While The Sims has become a series known for controlling the lives of little computer people as they putter around little computer suburbia, the next Sims game will go in a completely different direction. The Sims Medieval, which will be released on March 22, takes place in the Dark Ages, a time when knights served their king, cutting-edge medicine was a jar of leeches, and serfs were definitely not up. As we've discussed previously, this unusual entry in the Sims series won't have the open-ended nature of its forebears. Instead, the game will focus on the stories of specific characters and the quests they must perform to move these stories forward. It will also have a beginning, a middle, and an end--a point at which your game session ends and you're given a score based on how well you and your kingdom fared. There will be many challenges to face in The Sims Medieval that stand between you and a high score. Be warned: While some are potentially fatal, others are intended to be kind of funny. Executive producer Rachel Bernstein explains.

GameSpot: We understand that life in The Sims: Medieval is a bit more dangerous than in the suburbs of Sunset Valley (where one of the deadliest hazards is a burning kitchen). What's the leading cause of death for sims in the medieval era?

Rachel Bernstein: Sword wounds to the gut. Hands down.

GS: On that note, can we expect to see some of the hazards that Sims players know and love rear their ugly heads in Medieval? Will that tiny contingent of sadistic Sims players who enjoy purposely killing their little computer people (surely, there are very, very few of these sick, sick people out there) still be able to sabotage little virtual lives? Accidental blacksmith fires? Embarking a ship to sea and immediately deleting the docks afterward?

RB: Our more deviant players should find no shortage of ways to harm their sims, despite the lack of pool ladders. I expect people will enjoy such grief as sending sims off to hunt bears with low focus, placing a keg in the throne room and adding a touch of "reaper's scythe" poison, or sending a plague-ridden sim into the reception hall on a make-out spree.

GS: Aside from shuffling off this mortal coil, what other slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune can befall sims in this time period? We've seen imprisonment in the stocks and sentencing to the pit beast. How about the bubonic plague? Being tried and burned at the stake as a witch?

RB: Plagues and poisons (and other hazards that we'll get to) abound.

GS: What other external forces pose a threat to sims in the medieval era? Will floods or droughts affect crops, for instance? Will we see fearsome storms? Bandits on the outlying roads? Vorpal bunnies that are "dynamite?"

In this image, we have the grim reaper and…Great Caesar's ghost! Oh wait, that isn't Caesar.

RB: Just to mention a few…bandits, bears, boars, duels, dragons, dire chinchillas, famine, drunkards, enraged golems, black knights, angry zealots, doppelgangers, inquisitors, curses, goblins, plague, revolting peasants, witches, and whales. In addition, if you're a peasant, you might get sold to the nation of Crafthole.

GS: Let's talk larger-scale threats. We understand, for instance, that you can choose to play as the ruler of a realm and engage in diplomacy and trade with your neighbors. What happens when kings and queens stop being polite and start being really angry with each other? How can rival nations compete with each other? Can they go to war, and if so, how will war unfold?

RB: Each neighboring nation has a specific way that you go about taking it over. Some may require political finesse, some straight-out conflict, some a carefully planned marriage. You influence the outcome of conflict in a variety of ways that unfold through the quest system. Everything is kept on the level of individual sims. For example, your knight might train up some new soldiers whom you send off to fight, or your blacksmith might make new weapons and armor and send it off to the front lines. GS: We know that Medieval is a different game from its predecessors, since the game has actual victory conditions and actually ends at a certain point. Is it possible to fail? Will there be a losing "Game Over" screen?

RB: There is no "Game Over" screen, but there's certainly a "Quest Failed!" screen that can be reached if your sim somehow dies on a quest or fails to complete it in a timely or effective fashion. We don't want the players feeling like it's easy to fail in the game, but we do want there to be consequences for the player's actions.

There is also the possibility of failure on an overarching ambition for each run-through of the game and the possibility of succeeding at the ambition at different levels of achievement: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. For example, if players run a kingdom in the "imperial domination" ambition and fail to take over any foreign nation, they will fail the ambition when they run out of quest points. If they take over only two territories, they get a bronze. Taking over four earns them a silver and unlocks the "fame" ambition. Taking over six foreign territories earns a gold medal and adds the unlock of the "safe and sound" ambition. Taking over all the foreign territories earns the platinum medal.

Are you a bad enough monarch to unlock platinum-level achievements?

GS: Given that there are so many new challenges for players to face in Medieval, what, in your opinion, is the most satisfying challenge to conquer? Is there a specific victory condition that's hardest of all? A quest line that's exceptionally challenging? A storyline that's really entertaining or otherwise rewarding?

RB: The hardest victory condition would certainly be earning every achievement. There are almost 50 ambition achievements, so to earn those, you'd have to get platinum level in every ambition. That's really hard.

There are more than 100 random other achievements, from grinding up a max-level wizard to throwing 100 sims in the pit of judgment.

GS: And given that Medieval is so focused on character-driven quests, how is failure to accomplish these quests handled? Is there concern about making some quests too punishing or humiliating to fail? Conversely, are there any quests that can be failed in entertaining ways?

RB: Failing a quest is not such a bad thing. Some players may intentionally fail a quest as part of the way they are telling their story in the game. For example, if one of the hero sims you are controlling on a quest dies, then you fail that quest. But this just means you have fewer quest points left in that play-through of the game. That may be a worthwhile trade-off for a player who has decided to kill off a hero sim in some entertaining way. Some quests are hard to win. Players who fail can play that quest again; perhaps with a different approach or with a different hero, or by making different decisions during the quest.

GS: Is there anything else you'd like to add about the dangers of medieval life in The Sims: Medieval or about the game in general?

Get thee to the pit of judgment forthwith! We'll determine whether you're a witch…later.

RB: As you lead your sims on the adventures that shape their lives, you will find that medieval life was full of unexpected twists and turns. One minute, you're having your monarch practice military strategy with visiting foreign leaders. The next, your knight is being humiliated in the stockade. And before you know it, your physician is swallowing a locket to hide it from being discovered by the monarch's heavily armed guard. Medieval sims, medieval stories, medieval hazards.

GS: Thanks, Rachel.

Discussion

42 comments
strayfies
strayfies

Actually yeah I'm getting a bad feeling about this now. This is shaping up to sound like Spore. I'd voiced a concern about Spore a few weeks before its launch, and it turned out to be right. In this case it looks too linear and guided by some Kingdom achievement system, where I kinda just wanted a skin for the Sims, possibly with some little extras here and there. Demoting this to wait-and-see.

jrjcobra
jrjcobra

No open ended gameplay? Lost my money

DraconisRex
DraconisRex

Why do I feel like this is going to be as bad as Spore... Worst part was, like Spore, I was really, really looking forward to the game... Then I started reading the equivalent of this garbage...

astralislux
astralislux

Could this be anything like the "The Guild" games?

Inconitoli
Inconitoli

Should wait for gamespot review .. i got a bad feeling about this .

E-i-N-e
E-i-N-e

I don't think this game will do well. Hopefully I am proven wrong.

Pro-N-Gamer
Pro-N-Gamer

No surprise if this game is gonna suck lol

Mysterieux936
Mysterieux936

For people still not clear about the customization level, (Seriously people, the answers are not that difficult to find.) Build mode is gone, but apparently you can change wallpaper and floors. Buy mode remains fully intact, along with create a style.

dax25
dax25

interesting..,

ninn1000
ninn1000

The more I read about this, the better it sounds. I was never a huge Sims fan, but this seems like it's gonna be an actually really fun game. However at the same time, that's what I felt about Spore and it barely lived up to any hype. I'm gonna wait for the reviews to spill in, but I'm getting more and more optimistic about this game. @twistyanddark I think I read of heard somewhere that there is customization of the castle but I'm not a billion percent sure that's true. On the FAQ page of Sims Medieval it says "The buildings are custom-crafted for each profession, from the Monarch's Great Hall in the castle to the Tavern for the Bard to the Wizard's Tower." I'm not too sure what that means but it does say custom so I think that if it's not like Sims building (which I bet it will be) it'll be similar.

Hitz187
Hitz187

@Neil112 yea cause everygame has to look like wow -_-

jacky89
jacky89

This is exactly a Sims version of Little King's Story for Wii

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

I wait and wait but its been a week and noone mentioned it. Unless I missed something I believe half of the Sims fanbase is following the series for the architectural fan. I like to build small cottages to large modern blocks. Hell I might rebuild an entire sim city if I am up to it. From the gym to the town hall, you name it. I even reshape the outdoors. Nothing on building customization is mentioned yet. SHould I worry? Does EA think that buildings creating and customizing are way too hardcore. What's next then?

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

Basically they made an RPG using some aspects of the Sims. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a Sims game, though, seems pretty different. I'd like to see how this is reviewed, since the concept is actually pretty good.

Neil112
Neil112

Looks kinda like WOW (world of warcraft)

Darnasian
Darnasian

lol This looks more like a Strategy game!!!! And a RPG!!!!

reneetruss
reneetruss

am I the only one who doesn't care that there won't be a build mode?

gamermonkey017
gamermonkey017

It would be cool if it had a build mode were you could build castles.

jeangd
jeangd

very cool this game.

Akagen
Akagen

This just may bring me back

reneetruss
reneetruss

Oh, I can't wait for this game to come out. March get here already!

peteywentout
peteywentout

i still don't know what to expect from this game, its not going to be a proper sim game, its not going to be a proper strategy game either.

alexmarx
alexmarx

And I suppose because there are ghosts in Sims 3 it should be called fantasy sims going by that logic. I don't think a monster in a well will define the whole game, take a chill pill.

Shelledfade1
Shelledfade1

At first I thought this might be good because I'm into medieval type stuff. But ... that tentacle monster thing instantly killed it for me. Dumb crap is dumb.

rvrevrevr
rvrevrevr

Clearly, this is not MEDIEVAL, but MYTHICAL.

janrabbit
janrabbit

looks like they took the sim out of sims... gunna be awful

parkurtommo
parkurtommo

this will utterly fail Atleast you can actually die

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Crude humor, sexual themes, use of alcohol and violence" ESRB say about this game. Looks like the Sims have gotten way more fun than they used to be :P.

Akijo
Akijo

@Renicias It's not an expension, its a whole game

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

The blue headcrab soon available via dlc for 5,99 only. ;)

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

So could I...in theory...Start as a peasant and work my way up to be king? That actually sounds very interesting.

Renicias
Renicias

...Wait, was that a exp featured on the video? Maybe this might be a decent Sims expansion after all.

nini200
nini200

love sims, love the medieval era, great combo for me. Hope for a real Wii version.

Hazzerz
Hazzerz

Looks a little more interesting now than it did a few months ago. Who knows, might be worth it.