The Sims 3 improved on just about everything that the series has to offer when it comes to controlling the lives, the hopes, and the dreams of little computer people. The next expansion, Ambitions, will focus on in-depth career paths that you can play through right along with your sims. Along with the creative career paths we covered in our previous interview, the expansion will offer three new "heroic" professions--firefighter, private investigator, and an expanded version of the doctor from The Sims 3. Associate producer Grant Rodiek explains.
GS: Give us an update on the game's development. What part of the game is the team working on now?
GR: At this point in development, we're focused on polishing all the loose ends. Do careers feel exciting at the right times? Are the rewards fantastic? Can players do everything we want them to be able to do? It's really satisfying to finally see all the pieces lock into place. We're so close!
GS: We understand that in addition to the creative career tracks we covered previously, Ambitions will offer additional "heroic" career paths, such as medicine, firefighting, and private investigation. Give us an overview of these careers. Why were these particular paths chosen?
GR: Fire has been one of the most consistent menaces dating back to even the original The Sims. We wanted to take something that's been so ordinary for so long and make it epic, a little challenging, and really chaotic. Firefighting was one of the first careers we designed. We had a lot of fun crafting more story-driven adventures in The Sims 3: World Adventures, so we wanted to take it a step further. Private investigation seemed like a natural fit for our "Sims noir" style, and our open world was perfect for Sim-styled mayhem.
We love doctors (such great fiction to be had!), and we were pretty happy with the ones from The Sims 3. We saw this as a great foundation for The Sims 3: Ambitions.
GS: How does the medical career go beyond the options in the original game?
GR: Doctors in Ambitions can exit the hospital to save lives during emergencies (such as a woman choking at the bistro), provide free health clinics and inoculations in the community, or provide experimental medicines to the community. Not everything is entirely ethical, but who are we to tell players that?
GS: Tell us about the challenges that firefighters in The Sims 3 will face. Are there new disasters from which they must rescue their neighbors?
GR: Of course! Firefighter sims will encounter small fires (that often escalate if you aren't careful), huge infernos that require dramatic rescues and smooth hose operation, or even earthquakes. Firefighters face two challenges--preparing for emergencies by training and maintaining equipment, and handling them when they occur with speed. Players are required to make quick decisions (do they save the sim or smash the chair before the fire spreads?) to earn high scores and save lives.
GS: What exactly goes into being a private investigator? Going through other people's mail and trash? Taking incriminating photos?
GR: You're going in the right direction! There's the less-honorable side of things, such as going through a suspect's mail or trash. However, private investigators can also conduct stakeouts, assist the police, snoop for clues with their trusty magnifying glass, or dust for prints. There's also blackmail, bribery, fisticuffs, and a handy lockpicking kit for other case-related issues.
GS: What are some of the new traits that help support these new professions?
GR: The best private investigators have the "perceptive" trait. They see things others might miss and generally rise more quickly through the ranks.
Favorites from The Sims 3, like "athletic," "brave," and "daredevil," are perfect for firefighters!
GS: Tell us about the new lifetime rewards that can be earned for players who choose these career paths.
GR: We have a new lifetime wish for players who want their firefighter sims to truly be the best. These sims need to save a large number of sims from death in a fire, which means a lot of emergencies and smart decisions.
We also have a lifetime wish for private investigators who solve a lot of cases. This won’t be easy--there are lots of sims in the neighborhood with many cases to solve!
Once you fulfill these wishes (as well as the smaller wishes we have to support these features), you can purchase new lifetime rewards. One of these is to permanently fireproof your home so you never need to worry about fire again. Another is a cash booster so that you earn money for every job included. This means you can really rake in the dough as a private investigator.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about these careers, or about Ambitions in general?
GR: We're really delighted that careers like firefighter, private investigator, and doctor provide such unique gameplay moments compared to the creative ones. I love snooping through the neighborhood as a private investigator to spy on people, break into homes, and occasionally solve cases. It's such a different Sims experience.
GS: Thanks, Grant.