The Sims Medieval happened to be a truly unique approach to the best-selling The Sims (2000-2011) franchise. You could have a lot of fun, while building and decorating your own kingdom populated by the Sims venturing on various quests. Of course, some new stories would always be a very welcome addition in this case.
Pirates and Nobles have decided to settle in your realm in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles first adventure pack. However, these factions don’t stop warring each other, and you will have to end this prolonged conflict. We have discussed the new features introduced in this expansion and its development with Aaron Cohen, who has produced the title for Electronic Arts, which is the international publisher of the game.
- Hello! Please, introduce yourself.
- I’m Aaron Cohen - Producer of The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles at Electronic Arts (EA).
- Give us some background about your career in the game industry.
- I’ve worked for EA for more than 13 years on franchises ranging from SimCity (1989-2007), Command & Conquer (1995-2010), Ultima Online (1997), The Sims (2000-2011) and most recently, The Sims Medieval (2011). I’ve worked in PR, marketing and production. EA is a big company so you get to try a lot of new things over the years.
- The Sims Medieval game demonstrated an unique view on the popular franchise. What feedback have you got for this title?
- We found that a lot of people loved it and loved the changes we made to how someone traditionally plays The Sims. There were also some people didn’t care as much for the changes we put into it but that is to be expected when you introduce new gameplay mechanics. We are pleased that The Sims Medieval has found a happy fan base that is really enjoying its unique blend of The Sims, RPG and Strategy features.
- How do you interact with your community?
- What do you like the most in the original The Sims Medieval game?
- The quests were well-written, funny and proved to us that you can tell a real story with The Sims. We took that idea to the next level with The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles adventure pack by giving players the tools to tell an epic story that builds over time.
- How long was the first adventure pack entitled The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles in the development?
- It was in development for roughly six months.
- What inspired the team working on this game?
- The team wanted the chance to tell a big story and build on the systems and features we introduced in The Sims Medieval. We learned a lot during the making of the base game, and we were able to use that knowledge to build a truly rich experience in the The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles adventure pack.
- What challenges have you encountered during making The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles?
- We had too many ideas! When we finally agreed on the Pirates and Nobles theme, everything else fell into place.
- Will there be any new Tutorial covering the content?
- The game starts with a brief explanation of what is new in the adventure pack, but because The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles uses the existing features and systems there was no need for a completely new tutorial.
- What are the new factions appearing in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles universe?
- As you can tell from the title of the adventure pack, we’ve added pirates and nobles. These two groups show up in your kingdom and are clearly having issues getting along. Your job, as the ruler of the kingdom, is to work through the story and find a solution. You will have to choose a side. You may escalate the conflict or seek to resolve things peacefully.
- What will happen in the game world if a player doesn’t ally with one of these factions?
- You must choose one side in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles. Each ending will be different depending on how you play. For instance, the Pirates can win the war, the Nobles can win or you can even settle on a truce. The choice is up to you.
- How many additional quests will be available in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles?
- There are over a dozen new quests in the adventure pack. Many of the quests are quite long and have different decision points based on your choices. We really liked the role the quests played in the base game and wanted to take that feature even further by telling a more involved storyline. We found that our players wanted a deeper engagement in the world and a cast of characters that they could get to know. The best way to achieve this was to build an epic story that players could become a part of.
- Have you added any new Traits?
- We focused on creating the new quests and ensuring the theme was well executed in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles. The existing traits fit in so well with the theme that we realized we didn’t need to add any new ones.
- How does the Interrogation Chair work in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles?
- The interrogation chair is a fun item that players will love, but not one that your Sim will enjoy being put into. Its purpose is to make a Sim so uncomfortable that they tell you a secret. Techniques include tickling with a feather, the mysterious box containing unknown horrors, the dire chinchilla attack and much more. Designing the interrogation chair was probably more fun than it should have been. The sound for it was recorded by our team of fabulous voice actors and sound editors. They had a lot of fun with it.
- Can you speak about some other newly added items?
- There are a ton of new objects, too many for me to pick out anything specific. What I will say is that you will find everything you need in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles to deck out your castles and buildings with Pirate and Noble stuff.
- What is the role of Pets in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles?
- You will be able to own, name and train either pet parrots or falcons. The falcons can hunt for game and the parrots can do a bit of treasure hunting. Other birds come in a variety of colours that will be fun to collect. You will be able to feed them, send them off to attack other Sims and a few other things as well. You can own many birds, but you can only hold them one at a time. You can’t treat the birds badly.
- What does the new Baby Pit Beast like to eat?
- It is a true mystery as to the Baby Pit Beast likes to eat. You will have to play The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles and see.
- How is the Treasure Hunting conducted in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles expansion?
- Treasure hunting is a fun mini-game where you will collect a variety of maps – some rare and some common – and then set off to find the treasure. You will need to decipher clues and also do a bit of trial and error work before you will get rewarded. We had a lot of fun creating the rewards. They are great! Some of the rare items are incredibly cool like the Ethereal Grim Reaper Armour.
- Will we notice any changes in the UI or in-game graphics since The Sims Medieval release?
- There were no major UI changes, but you will notice the new War Meter. It keeps track of who is winning the war, whether that is the pirates or the nobles. Aside from lots of new décor items, clothes and the addition of make-up, there are no new visual features in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles.
- Will The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles adventure pack include some new music?
- Yes, there is new music and new themes for the Pirates and the Nobles.
- What is your favorite new feature added by the expansion?
- I love the epic story we are telling in The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles. Telling a traditional story within The Sims framework is a challenge, but I have to say that I love what we were able to do with this adventure pack. The writers and designers did a great job on it.
- What are your most memorable moments of The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles making?
- One of my fondest memories from the development of the game involved two of our designers and one of our animators. Our designers decided to create a pirate handshake. I watched the entire process as the designers choreographed and acted out the handshake in person and as our animator videotaped them from all the different angles. It really showed me how lucky I was to be in the video game business.
- How do you see the perspectives of delivering The Sims Medieval to consoles?
- That is a question we get a lot and I will give you the answer I give everyone. We have been completely focused on making The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles as good as it can be. No more news for now.
- Do you remember your first Sim?
- I remember Veronica from The Sims 3 (2009) the most. She was a punk rocker who later became a rock star and then fell in love with a cop and eventually settled down. It was strange to care about a little, virtual person, but I did.
- What video games have you enjoyed playing in 2011?
- I’m a big fan of Dragon Age II (2011) and I love L.A. Noire (2011). I’ve been known to play a lot of Rock Band (2007-2011). I also thought Portal 2 (2011) was brilliant.
- Name 3 things you associate with Russia.
- The first thing that comes to mind is a tall, blond woman with an interesting accent. Second is the book «The Russia House» (1989) by John le Carré. And lastly is the book and movie - «Nightwatch» (2004).
- Thank you, Aaron!
P.S. We are also grateful to Debi Coster (EA) for making this Interview possible.
The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles
The Sims Medieval: Pirates & Nobles
Experience an epic adventure of Pirates & Nobles. This Adventure Pack introduces new quests, treasure hunting, and hundreds of new objects for your medieval kingdom! Your epic story starts when the Pirates of Aarbyville and the Nobles of Tredony arrive in your kingdom, followed quickly by sword fights, love affairs, grand adventures and mysteries. Go treasure hunting to uncover hidden objects. Embark on new quests to help your kingdom achieve a new ambition. Stylize your kingdom and Sims with new pirate and nobility themed objects and wardrobe.
Key Game Features:
- Pirate and Noble outfits and hats;
- New Traits and a Legendary Trait;
- Quests that follow an epic story arc;
- Over 140 Pirate and Nobility themed objects;
- Signature Objects: The Interrogation Chair, Pet Falcons and Parrots;
- Kingdom Ambition letting you end the war between Tredony and Aarbyville;
- Treasure Hunting, complete with maps, shovels, rare treasure and some surprising dangers.