The Sims 2 University Designer Diary #1 - Welcome to College

Designer Charles London discusses what to expect when you pack your sims off to college in the first expansion pack for The Sims 2.

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When The Sims was released in 2000, no one could have imagined that EA and Maxis would eventually issue seven expansion packs for the game. These expansions helped fuel the wild popularity of The Sims by adding new content and new features to an already addictive game. So with the highly anticipated sequel that was released this past September, it's little surprise that Maxis is already working on the first expansion, The Sims 2 University, due out next spring. As its name suggests, this expansion will let your sims enjoy the trials and tribulations of college life. To fill us in, Maxis designer Charles London kicks off our designer diary series by telling us about the idea behind The Sims 2 University.

It's 3:00am. Do you know what your sims are doing?
It's 3:00am. Do you know what your sims are doing?

College Bound

By Charles London
Designer, Maxis

It's been an incredible time for us here at Maxis these last few months. Wrapping up The Sims 2, our labor of love, seemed to fill our whole lives, and sending it out to players felt like the closest thing to what I hear feels like real childbirth. But it all felt worthwhile after seeing the responses we've gotten from players and the community. And now that we've all fallen down on the floor (unconscious), gotten back up, taken some time at the beach or on the slopes or at home with our families, we thought it was time to send out another diary to let you know what we're up to these days.

It's probably no surprise that we're well into the creation of our first expansion pack, The Sims 2 University. Lots of people have been asking us how we chose the subject for the first addition to The Sims 2 world, and the answer is very easy: We just listened to the players and the fans. Sending sims to college never made sense with The Sims, because sending an 8-year-old sim to a university wasn't right. However, with The Sims 2, since your sims now age and go through generations, we wanted to give players a new stage of life to experience. In The Sims 2, there is quite a leap from being a teenager to being an adult, so The Sims 2 University shortens this gap by adding an entire new age group called "young adult."

It's exciting for us to move on to the expansion packs. Not just because it means that we've put the main game to bed (although this is a fantastic feeling!) but because now we get to really stretch our brains again by imagining how we're going to fill up this new world in a way players will love. Plus, once we decide what the pack is going to be about, we get to spend lots of time sitting around together and brainstorming about what we imagine the experience could be like. It turns out that we Maxoids have had a lot of different college experiences, from buttoned-down Ivy League book-cracking to wild and raucous party-school rampaging. Some college stories made us all fall down with laughter, while others we wish we had never heard. When we discover how different all our experiences are, that's when we know we're on to something good. It means that if we capture the gameplay right, we will end up developing an expansion pack that lets our players tell lots of different stories--their own stories--and that's the best.

So what are some of the stories your sims can live? Well, you'll have to tell us, ultimately. Your sims will experience everything you can imagine, including balancing the books with fun, joining Greek houses, going to crazy toga parties, and much more. You can even watch your sim earn money from a college job! Popular sims will be able to use influence to get other sims to do things for them so the popular sims can spend more time doing what they want to do. Sims can even pull clever pranks on campus! Additionally, we've got some new creepy items to give the game an edge when you want it to, and, as always, we try to find a way to make you laugh whenever we can.

It wouldn't be college without coed pillow fights.
It wouldn't be college without coed pillow fights.

The Sims 2 University introduces a whole new age for your sims that we call young adult, which is one where your sim has all the new freedoms of adulthood but without the restrictions of being a teen. It's a time that's filled with excitement and begs to be explored. You can create these young adults immediately and then send them right to college, or you can take teens you've been playing with already and send them there. When your sims get to the university, they'll have wants and fears that relate to their new adventures, all of them guided by their aspirations, of course. When it's all done, if your sim has done it right, he or she will have great new friends, a hot job prospect, and some great memories of a special time in his or her life.

It's great to be back in the saddle by building new possibilities for The Sims 2. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have so far. We can't wait to give it to you to find out what you do with it. All the best from us Maxoids!

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