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The Sims Medieval was an interesting addition to the best-selling EA franchise when it was launched in early 2011. Rather than sticking little pixel people into a contemporary world, the game went back in time, taking a quest-based approach to kingdom building.
Now, it's time for the game's first adventure pack, Pirates and Nobles, which introduces two new groups to the world. They might become your friends, they might become your enemies, but they certainly don't like each other very much.
We had the chance to catch up with Aaron Cohen, the game's producer, and got him to answer a few hard-hitting questions about just what's in store.
GamePron: Can you briefly sum up the most exciting new things that are in The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles adventure pack?
Aaron Cohen: The big things in The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles are pirates and nobles! These two groups show up in your kingdom and are clearly having issues. Your job is to work through the epic story of two warring factions where you’ll be tasked with picking a side. You can escalate the conflict or even seek to resolve things peacefully.
We’ve also added some great new features. You’ll be able to own, name and train pet parrots or falcons. You’ll also get an interrogation chair with an amusing array of techniques with which to glean information for unfortunate Sims. And with our new treasure-hunting system, you’ll have a fun way to discover and collect rare and powerful objects.
Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles introduces a much more story/quest-based style of gameplay to The Sims Medieval - why did you decide to go with one major plotline this time, rather than little bite-sized chunks?
AC: We really liked the quests in the base game and wanted to take that feature even further by telling a deeper and more-involved story. Players wanted the opportunity to have a more expanded relationship with the world and its characters, and the best way to do that was to build an epic story.
Will the story play out differently depending on which side you may choose to ally yourself with?
AC: Yes! You can align with the pirates, the nobles or try to stay neutral. Each of those choices will lead you to a different ending.
Many, many people love to torture their Sims by messing with the game, removing swimming pool ladders and the like - can you tell us about the Interrogation Chair that looks like it does their job for them?
AC: That is one very fun chair, but not for your Sims. There is tickling with a feather, the mysterious box containing unknown things, the dire chinchilla attack and much more. Designing the interrogation chair was probably more fun than it really should have been while at work. Players will be able to use it to get important information out of other Sims in order to move ahead on quests.
There are all sorts of new items in the world - the Booty throne looks particularly impressive - what's your favourite new item or object that we'll find in The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles?
AC: I love the booty throne just because it’s fun to say, and it is also quite beautiful.
More than any single object, I love seeing the entire room decked out with all of the new styles. A pirate room looks like fun. It reminds me of a great dive bar where a party could happen at any time. And then there is the noble style where it looks like there could be haute-cuisine dinner involved.
This expansion introduces animals to the world too - of a sort, anyway. What is there to know about the falcons and the parrots? What sort of special abilities do these birds have - do they vary by species?
AC: The falcons can hunt for game and the parrots can help search for treasure. Both birds come in a variety of colors that will be fun to collect. You’ll be able to feed them, name them, send them off to attack Sims and a few other fun things as well.
There's a new creature in the world too, the Baby Pit Beast. What can that get up to?
AC: That is a bit of a secret! I will say this, be careful while digging for treasure.
When not following quests and executing complex traditional pirate handshakes, what new mini-games have been introduced this time around?
AC: Treasure hunting is a fun mini game where you’ll collect a variety of maps -- some rare, some common – and then you’ll set off to find treasure by deciphering the clues and also doing a bit of trial and error work. The rewards are great, with some rare items being incredibly cool, like the ethereal Grim Reaper armour.
With the recent success of The Sims Medieval, and this new adventure pack proving that fans are interested in more of a role-playing element to the game rather than the open-world sandbox we've seen for so many years, where do you think The Sims might go next? Where would you most like them to go?
AC: I think The Sims Medieval proves that the Sims can go just about anywhere. So long as the little, living people stay alive and have a certain level of autonomy, we can experiment with a variety of genres and settings. In the future, you’ll see them come alive in new ways and do things you’d never thought you’d see them do.
Finally - what's next for the Nobles of Tredony and the Pirates of Aarbyville?
AC: They will try and resolve their issues, but will have a hard time of it, alas.
The Sims Medieval: Pirates and Nobles is due out on August 30th. You will require the original The Sims Medieval to play, and the game brings with it new quests, new objects, new traits, new legendary traits, treasure hunting and - of course - pirates!
I like video games, fishing, Depeche Mode, long walks on the beach, writing discussion papers and cups of tea. Not necessarily in that order.
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