Since 2009, you’ve played with life, gone on world adventures, and fulfilled worldly ambitions with your Sims on iPhone and iPod touch. Now, The Sims team is throwing down the gauntlet with The Sims Medieval, an all-new experience that’s just launched on the App Store.
To learn more about this immersive new installment that takes your Sims back to the time of castles, knights and kings, we “got medieval” (if you will) with Producer Ryan Winterholler and Associate Producer Ricardo Fischer at our EA Studios in L.A. The following is translated from the original “Middle Simlish.” (Hey, these guys get into it!)
The Sims Medieval is the fourth game from The Sims that’s been made for iPhone. What makes it unique?
Ricardo: It’s the first time that The Sims is a story-driven game. While we’re not abandoning the sandbox gameplay, we’ve introduced a branching storyline… I think that’s a pretty dramatic and different way to approach The Sims.
Ryan: There are battles, wooden furniture, period costumes, taverns, herbalists – all the cool stuff you’d get from medieval times. You start out as a peasant and you’re trying to become the ruler of your kingdom.
Ricardo: It’s a little bit of a rags-to-riches story.
So what were the special challenges and opportunities that came from creating this game for iPhone?
Ricardo: I think number one is staying true to the fans and the expectations of a Sims player. You want to deliver a new experience, but you also want to give something to the fans that they appreciate and enjoy. When they get it, they know it’s The Sims… We stayed in sync with the franchise throughout the whole development process.
Ryan: It’s always a challenge to bring a big game like The Sims to mobile and stay true to The Sims franchise, but all in all it’s fun to work on a Sims product. And it’s cool because it’s set in [the Middle Ages]. I got some history lessons.
What features will stand out the most for fans of The Sims?
Ricardo: I think that questing is going to be the number one thing. There’s a storyline. You get your share of random and humorous quests, where you are doing things for the silliness of it, and you’re still writing the story that belongs to this land and building it into a kingdom. So that’s pretty appealing. This is the first time fans are going to see combat in a game.
Combat? With The Sims? On iPhone? How will that work?
Ryan: You build your character, and you create a guild of other Sims to help you fight throughout your quest. The Sims have different tactics. For example, some Sims will play a harp and that will lower the power of your enemy. Some will use magic arms on your enemy.
So your Sim doesn’t always have to be the nice guy? Is that part of the fun?
Ryan: You can take the high road and help other Sims out by giving them fish or giving them coins. Or you can take the low road and be kind of devilish and steal coins out of the church… Let’s not say that is fun…but it’s kind of a fun part of it.
How does magic work in this game? Do your Sims get special powers?
Ricardo: At some point during the storyline every player has the opportunity to gain special abilities that will come in handy. Some can be used in combat and others focus on the ability to create different potions. Like a death potion, for example.
Ryan: Or a love potion.
Everybody loves stuff for their Sims. How did you give the items a medieval touch?
Ricardo: You go from a simple single straw bed to having a cool four poster bed and things like that. You can have an armory in your house to train on and build your strength. You can have a dart game.
Ryan: You can eat out of barrels of food. Or you can cook your meals and sit at your lonely wooden table.
What do you think is the funniest thing that players will discover?
Ricardo: I don’t want to give away too much, but there is a quest called “Sticky Bob.” It’s just this random character that just wants to be your friend really, really bad. He follows you everywhere…
Ryan: Yeah, he’s all over you. He just wants to be your friend. You kind of trick him to be your friend, and then you end up slapping him in the face… You also have to try to stop a chicken thief. That’s just funny.
Ricardo: That’s silly. That’s your first quest. You’ve got to stop a chicken thief.
Goode tymes! Our quest begins, then. Get thee to the chicken coop! Thanks, Ryan and Ricardo. Long live The Sims Medieval!