Q&A with Ryan Vaughan on the Sims 3: Pets

EA has held a small Q&A session with Ryan Vaughan, producer for the Sims 3: Pets. In this Q&A we learn more about horses and unicorns in the game and what went into that to get them into the game.

Together with the Q&A are also some new screens of the expansion!

Q&A With Ryan Vaughan, The Sims 3 Pets PC/Mac

1)     We heard that horses were the most requested pet ever. Why did you decide to bring them into the game now instead of The Sims 2 Pets?

With The Sims 3 Pets, not only did we want to include an animal that our fans have been requesting forever, but we wanted to feature a pet that could really take advantage of the vast open worlds that The Sims 3 provides. Because of their ability to explore and cover large distances in no time, as well as their special capacity for befriending other pets and Sims alike, we felt horses were a perfect choice to include in the game.

2)     What went to in creating horses for PC? Is it more difficult than creating cats or dogs? Explain.

Being that The Sims 3 Pets is the first Sims game ever to include horses as pets, it presented some very unique challenges for the development team. One of the biggest challenges was getting Sims to actually ride the horses. For the first time in Sims history, we need to have two player controlled characters interacting and relying on each other to get from point A to point B. This meant all new interactions and animations needed to be perfectly synchronized between the Sim and the horse. Needless to say, we were very excited the first time we were able to see Sims riding horses!

3)     What are the unique gameplay features about the horses?

The racing and jumping skills are two of my favorite new features for horses. Using the really cool variety of different horse jumps and training posts you can place on your lot in Buy Mode, but the coolest thing about these skills is that you can actually have your horse compete in equestrian competitions at the brand new Equestrian Center. If your horse has high racing and jumping skills you can actually win a lot of money. You can also build the new riding skill for Sims while practicing your horse skills as well!

4)     How did the team decided which animals to make controllable and which not to?

One of our goals in creating The Sims 3 Pets was to get the player to think about what it would actually be like to be a cat, dog, or horse. What motivates a dog to dig holes? Why do horses like carrots so much? We wanted players to play with life as these pets and while we would have loved to make all of the animals in The Sims 3 Pets controllable by the player, we really wanted to create a focused experience and make sure that the three animals that are player controllable –cats, dogs and horses—are the best they can be. Players will be able to experience life as one of these pets, while still being able to interact with tons of different and unique animals like turtles, lizards, rodents and birds.

5)      Where did the team draw inspiration from when bringing in horses and unicorns? Did you look at westerns?

We watched a lot of movies featuring horses – especially westerns – but one of the coolest things we did was actually go spend a day at a horse ranch! We got to watch and see how horses moved, what their different mannerisms were and how they interacted with each other. It was a great learning experience and a great way for us to really get the right feeling of a horse in the game.

6)     Explain unicorns. Whose idea was it and how did it get integrated into the game? Can I create a unicorn from the beginning of the game?

We chose to include unicorns as The Sims 3 Pet’s occult creature because not only did they fit in perfectly to the game, but just like horses they’ve never been done before in a Sims game. Once in-game, the mystical unicorn will often appear around the world you’re playing in and your Sims will have the opportunity to invite the unicorn to join their household. Once under your control, unicorns have all these awesome special abilities like being able to teleport around the world, bless Sims, or even spark fires! They’re tons of fun to play with.

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