Interview With Maxis VP of PC Development, Lucy Bradshaw

Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 23:30

A Sim with a high Aspiration score will not only have unique behaviors, other Sims will respond differently to them in certain cases and they will be able to use reward objects that help them on other fronts in the game.

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The Sims 2 has a tough act to follow -The Sims is the top selling game of all time and has built a large and very loyal following. These fans are very interested in The Sims 2, and are curious about the game's new features as well as how it will preserve the core gameplay that they have come to know and love. We're just as curious as anyone as to what's in store for our beloved sims in The Sims 2, so we asked a few questions of Lucy Bradshaw, VP of PC Development, to find out ...

GT: The Sims games on video game consoles have introduced goal-based play to The Sims, will there be any of this type of play in The Sims 2?
Lucy: The new gameplay surrounding fulfilling a Sims dreams does reward players for helping a Sim meet his or her lifetime aspirational goals. A Sim with a high Aspiration score will not only have unique behaviors, other Sims will respond differently to them in certain cases and they will be able to use reward objects that help them on other fronts in the game.
So, yes, there are goals to fulfill but it not as level based as the course we took in the console design.

GT: Are there any new motives or skills in the game, or will these remain the same as in the original game?
Lucy: While in the original Sims, they were all about their needs…..I need to go to the bathroom, I need energy, in Sims 2 the play is focused around what a Sim wants. Each Sim has a lifelong goal, so as you play them you help them to fulfill their wants to achieve along their aspirational goal or on the flip side you can indulge in their fears.
As for the needs, each age group has some different sensibilities about their needs. Rather than add complexity we decided using this means to give Sims more character would be fun. For example, Teen Sims are much more satisfied if they get to socialize with their friends vs. their family, and Grampa, well he may need to use the loo more often.

GT: Are there plans to incorporate cheat codes into The Sims 2? Will the famous “rosebud” cheat be making its return?
Lucy: Oh yeah. You can’t ship a game without cheats!!!

GT: Will any celebrities make their way into the game?
Lucy: There have been no announcements at this time.

GT: Will we see the return of special Sims like the sad clown and mime? Are there any new characters that Sims 2 players should keep an eye out for?
Lucy: There are definitely a couple of new characters in the mix For example, when your Sim is really lonely, he may be visited by his very own imaginary bunny. Check out what happens if you end up with a couple of bunnies on your lot of different colors. And, my favorite, the Shrink is all new.

GT: What changes are in store for the romantic lives of Sims? Are good moods and high relationship scores still enough to secure a mate?
Lucy: Sims can have the lifelong aspiration for Romance in The Sims 2. These Sims are a bit on the lusty side and you’ll see this in their Wants and Fears panel. Starting at teens, they will want to hook up with boyfriends or girlfriends and it is never bad to have a backup in the case of the Romantic Sim. Crushes, First Kisses and Going Steady all play a major role in a Teen Sims’ life. Hopefully they won’t have a big zit on the night of their big date.
Our romantic Sims also have a tendency to get a bit confident when they are doing well and you’ll see them strut about with a sexy swagger. They can charm other Sims a bit more easily and even make them swoon.

GT: Will career choice have an affect on the home life of Sims?
Lucy: Sims will earn reward objects thru their careers in The Sims 2. So, if you have Sims in different career tracks you’ll find that you can earn some pretty cool objects this way. Also, older Sims can teach younger Sims on how to use these objects which increases their skills at an early age and can set them off on the right path to success.
Also, I’m pretty psyched when my Sim gets picked up in the helicopter, personally.

GT: Is Sim death inevitable in The Sims 2, or will players be able to keep their favorite Sim around for good if they’d like? Will we see the Grim Reaper and Sim ghosts in The Sims 2?
Lucy: We’re leaving in a cheat for those players who just can stomach having their Sim grow old and die, and we get that some players may want this for their story telling etc.
On the other hand the gameplay is tuned around the aging of your Sim. The fun this is that you can affect how long they live by helping them successfully attain their dreams….then they actually live a longer and happier life. If you indulge in their fears, well, let’s just say stress kills.

GT: Will there be community locations in The Sims 2, or will neighborhoods still consist of home lots? Will you be able to take your Sims between locations?
Lucy: You can build community lots in the neighborhoods, in fact you can even select between several neighborhoods and landscape them further too. I tend to like to make community pools and the video game store or clothing stores are good to have for teens and growing Sims. You can even build grocery stores.

GT: How easy will it be for fans to create new objects for the game? Will object making tools be provided by Maxis?
Lucy: We’ve already shipped the first of our custom content tools, The Sims 2 Body Shop, that allows you to make unique Sims, modify their faces and accessorize with game assets as well as create new unique textures. It is really easy to use these in the game as the game knows exactly where to put the new data, so you don’t have to deal with any directory structures anymore. Just import into the game when you get it.
We’ll be making more tools as we go.

GT: Which feature or features of The Sims 2 do you think that diehard fans of the original game will like the most?
Lucy: That’s a hard question. I’ve had players go bananas over the family tree. It is really cool to see it build out as you play Sims thru generations.
I am really enjoying the new Aspiration gameplay. The reward objects are funny and the desperation states that Sims get into are fun to see as well. I feel motivated to help my Sim achieve.
But I think my favorite new feature is that you can make Sims Home Movies with the click of one button in the interface. Just set up your scene and then click the video camera button in the UI and the game will record everything you do. You can then edit your movie using any movie editing software. It is a really fun way to tell the stories of your Sims lives and you can share these with friends. The team and I have been making movies of our Sims as we go and some of the movies are just down right hilarious.

GT: On a final note, are there any gameplay secrets that you can let our readers in on?
Lucy: Not at this time, but we will keep you posted.

Thanks to Lucy for the sneak peek into some of the features of The Sims 2. Look for The Sims 2 in stores on September 17th.

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