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Home News The Sims Medieval Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval!
Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval! PDF Print
Written by Paperpin Saturday, 26 February 2011 16:19
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Q&A with Aaron Cohen about The Sims Medieval!
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Simthesimsmedieval_5sGalore interviewed marketing director Aaron Cohen during the Hever Castle event. You will find a lot of new information about The Sims Medieval!

The original article is available here.

SG – What makes The Sims Medieval unique compared to The Sims 3?

AC – A bunch of things!

We knew that because we were making a medieval game, it would have to be different and feel different. To tell Medieval stories is quite a change to telling Modern day stories – as The Sims 3 is all about modern life, people have their own feelings and preconceptions of what Modern life is like. You get married, have a job, girlfriends, boyfriends, perhaps a family, everyone grows up and life moves on. People kinda get what modern day life is like, and The Sims 3 does a great job of expressing it.

In The Sims Medieval, we knew that instead people get an impression of Medieval times from the stories they’ve been told. Although people have never been able to experience the medieval times, they have a perception through Shakespeare, Robin Hood, Tolkien, King Arthur and many more stories, myths and legends.

When you make a medieval game, you want to help people tell those kinds of stories – so we really wanted to help people do that. Hence the quest system – which allows people to go and deal with things as diverse as dragons, plagues, royal marriages, tournaments and a lot more besides.

To match these kinds of stories, we thought the look of game needed to be different too. A Medieval game can’t look like modern day where everything is so brightly lit, where objects have a lot of right angles because they’re made by machine. Look around this castle – everything has a unique feel due to being made by hand, the whole atmosphere and everything feels different because of it. To make a world feel medieval like this, we needed a different art style, lighting and architecture – basically a whole new way to make the world.  We really wanted to ensure that The Sims, skin and clothes look different too – clothes are a great example, velvet looks more like velvet and leather looks as though it has more texture. To sum it up, Medieval is the heart of The Sims – the people, customisation and humour, but in a new place where you can tell a whole new story.

Once we’d had these key ideas, we tried to make it look as amazing as we possibly could. Then we added things to change the way The Sims can be played, like quests, which are certainly a new addition to The Sims formula. Having a Hero system adds to this too – allowing your favourite heroic Sims to level up and grow with your game. As you play a hero and keep up with their responsibilities, they get more skilled, better at their jobs and more powerful and more abilities as they work through the game. Then we added kingdom management – as you play the game, you can choose what your kingdom wants to do, how to build it, what’s your ambition, what do you want to achieve.

By adding heroes, quest and kingdoms we’ve expanded and changed the way the Sims can be played, but kept the heart of The Sims.

(Aron laughs) It’s a very long answer, it’s complex to make a game this big!

SG –  Some Simmers would love to know about Story Progression – how does your game move on? In my game time just now I saw a physician give someone a remedy, and in the end she was told she was pregnant. Would she then go off to have a child?

AC – How about that – something I haven’t seen! Story progression in The Sims Medieval happens in several different ways.

When you first hop into the game you’ll select an ambition for your kingdom. It’s not important straight away, but later into the game it becomes very important. Say your ambition is to control all the territories on the map – you’ll have to decide and play out the story of how your kingdom achieves that goal. Warfare? Trade? Diplomacy, science, religion…there’s all the different stories of how you’ll get there. Then there are the stories of your Sims – do they get married; are they nice, nasty, or silly people? Then the quests – what are you completing, how will those quests develop and change paths depending on what you choose? There’s a whole bunch of twists in the story from how you do your quests – it’s a big story you’re living through, with lots of little small stories. Say I have to make five swords in a quest, but my swords keep breaking. I then have to go find better materials and train my skills; all while meeting people along the way. My kingdom’s knight may then use one of my faulty swords in an important fight in the service of the king, who’s trying to negotiate a treaty. So, these little stories all contribute to make up the bigger stories of your kingdom.

Families work very differently because of the kind of game The Sims Medieval is – you do have a baby, they can grow up to be a pre-teen but not full adults. We want to make sure that you create all the heroes in the game. There are families though – who can have babies, get married, divorced, affairs, do all the things you’re familiar with in The Sims 3 but generational gameplay is different.

SG – So Sims don’t die?

AC – Oh they do die! Not of old age necessarily, but then again not many people in the medieval times got to die of old age! A king can die of many things though…

SG – In The Sims Medieval, you can influence and annex other kingdoms, but can you actually visit them?

AC – Not directly – although you’ll see many characters from various places come to your land. Knights, merchants, leaders, people who are key in quests such as marrying between countries. You can also send your characters like your merchant off to trade with them for exotic goods, your Spy to gather information which will help your diplomacy and so on. It’s not in the spirit of a strategy game where you’ll invade, with armies and see their kingdom burning – what you will hear about though is their kingdom’s actions and the effects on your kingdom. You’ll see their citizens passing through, their personalities, and goods from them you can’t get anywhere else. Also more subtle influences; like their fashion styles and clothing, the influence of their kingdom in yours depending on where you’re at in the game. There are some places inspired by the Middle East and Asia – if you see new clothing and foreign people; you’ll know they’re from a far off land.

SG – Say you take over another kingdom, and that kingdom’s citizens then come to visit – will they be aggressive with you?

If they’re unhappy with you they can be! In the game you’ll see muggings, and even people attacking each other! Sometimes that’s because someone from a neighbouring kingdom came into yours and are up to no good. If you have a higher security rating that’ll happen less, so you can protect against it. Diseases can also come in from foreign shores – like the plague from another kingdom – if you have a good health rating and good physicians, that’ll help guard against that. So if your people are always getting mugged, you want to invest in a knight, spy and wizard to push up your security. If people are ill, you need to sort your priest and physician out to look after your people that way. So you’ll have to respond depending on what’s going on in your kingdom and decide how you want to invest your time and effort because of what’s happening. So yeah, you’ll definitely see good and bad things happening depending on your relationships with other kingdoms.

SG – It’s almost like a mix between a role-playing game and a real-time strategy game in that regard?

AC – There are absolutely elements of those – questing for example. However, they’re all put in configured context to suit the game that is The Sims. At the end of the day it’s all about telling stories – the RPG features are there, the strategy stuff is quite light – you’re not amassing an army and sending it across a border for example. However, you can be at war with a kingdom, that’ll affect the story of your own kingdom, which is the important part. All the features in the game serve the purpose of story. Swordplay, magic, physician, crafting – it all comes down to helping you tell your stories in the way you want to.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 February 2011 17:11