The Sims Medieval preview

The Sims Medieval Preview

The 2010 Gamescom was held in Cologne last august, and Sunset Valley Times was invited by EA to join the party. During our day at one of the largest Game conventions in the world, we were allowed to get a sneak peak of upcoming expansion pack Sims 3: Late Night, and the new Sims Medieval game.

If you want to know some more about The Sims 3: Late Night, you’ll need to be at another page (right here), cause we’re only going to cover Medieval right here.

During the Gamescom EA officially revealed the Sims Medieval to the public. Though it wasn’t a total surprise due to some ‘incidents’ that happened earlier on which no-one-should-ever-speak-of-again…
After the announcement during the EA press event earlier in the week, Sims sites from all of the European Sims community were invited to a behind-closed-doors presentation of the game. Here’s what we managed to find out about The Sims Medieval:

First off: The Sims Medieval is not an expansion pack. It’s an entirely new stand-alone PC game within the Sims series. So you won’t be able to ‘beam’ your existing Sims families to the dark ages to play around in castles and ‘ye olde pub’, it’s completely different.

Your own kingdom

So, what is The Sims Medieval? Well in short, our impression was that it’s some kind mix between an Fable-ish RPG and a light version of the Sims 3. Though the producers will probably deny any accusation of the game being an RPG…they get annoyed when you say that.

tsm-castle

Anyway, in The Sims Medieval you’ll get to play a ‘hero’ in a romantic version of a typical European medieval kingdom. It’s got everything you’d expect to be there: A huge castle, a village where all the peasants live, a church, even a village square with a pillory for an unfortunate Sim who’s getting to be punished by angry mob of tomato throwers.
They’ve made a lot of effort into making this a completely new world. Apparently, every single object is designed from the ground up exclusively for this game. Not even the trees were copied from The Sims 3.
You’ll be able to build your entire kingdom from square one, but you’ll need to do some work before you can get a decent version of your own Camelot. That’s where your hero comes in.

Heroic heroes

Heroes are basically the fundamental element of the game. As a hero, you’ll need to do quests to earn all sorts of points and money. You can use these points and money to expand your kingdom and unlock new features.
You’d expect a hero to be some kind of knight in shining armor, but there’s actually multiple sorts of characters you can play based on their professions.  Next to being a knight, your Sim can also be a wizard, a peasant, a priest, a merchant, a ‘nobel’ person, even the king him- (or her)self and more. And of course this being a Sims game, you’ll also be able to completely customize your hero in a medieval version of CAS.

tsm-swordfight

Heroes are the only playable Sims in the Sims Medieval. While it is possible to have multiple heroes available in the same kingdom, you can’t control entire families of Sims like in the ‘traditional’ Sims games. You can however get in love and marry with an unplayable Sim, and get loads of unplayable kids together. Kids who by the way will never grow up. So you’re basically back to Sims 1 when it comes to playing with generations.

During the presentation, we got to see a female hero who’s a doctor living in the castle. Of course, medieval medicine wasn’t as advanced as it is today. So her treatments usually involved herbs and potions, but also leeches to drain blood, and beds which looked more like torture machines to me. Like any other citizen in the kingdom, it’s your hero’s responsibility to keep doing your daily job. If you don’t, your Sim might get fined, punished or even worse: get the death penalty. It might sound a bit harsh, but essentially it’s a perfect way to keep unemployment down.
Anywho, it’s good to keep this in mind when you play the game: you can do quests and all, but you still have a responsibility at your day job. In dr. Hero’s case, she needs to keep local peasants healthy next to doing quests.

Quests

So what are quests anyway? Well they’re pretty much what you might think they are: they’re assignments inside the game where your hero needs to do certain things in order to complete the quest and get rewards. And like we said earlier: these rewards are points and money which enable you to advance in the game.
The quests themselves can vary from fighting another knight and collecting things scattered around the kingdom, to big things like trying to find the fountain of youth. There are several ways to complete a quest, and you can pick whatever kind of hero you like to complete them.
A quest we got shown during the presentation was one where the king got sick. Apparently the king got sick from a nasty case of the bubonic plague, which caused quite a bit of an epidemic during those days. Though it also could’ve been some politically correct made up illness in order to keep an angry mob of ‘concerned’ parents away, we’ll never know.

tsm_accusation

Anyway, dr. Hero is sent into action to save the king! First she diagnosed the king to find out what’s exactly wrong with the guy. Next, she needed to get outside and find ingredients for a possible cure. When that’s done she tries to make a potion with the ingredients on a crafting station. A crafting station is apparently some kind of special career-related object which was in dr. Hero’s case right in her treatment/torture room thingy. When the potion’s done, she went to king to see if it worked. If it would cure the king the quest would be completed, if it didn’t…well let’s just say it depends on the kings mood to determine what happens next.
Fortunately for dr. Hero, she was able to cure king just fine, and thus she completed the quest.

So this is basically the gameplay in a nutshell: You create a hero, choose a profession and complete quests. If that doesn’t sound like an RPG, then what is? Well, according to the producers of The Sims Medieval it’s not an entirely goal-based game. You can do loads of things in and around the kingdom (without completing quests) in the typical Sims sandbox style of gameplay we all know and love. But deep down we still got the feeling that quests are the main focus in this game. We’ll just have to wait and see if this is actually going to be true.

The creative part

‘But what about the other Sims players?’ You might wonder. ‘Builders, designers and stylists who’d love to make some medieval content.’ Well yes, we all know the entire Sims series is built on people exchanging content and creating stuff. And in case of the Sims Medieval, there’s some good news and bad news.
The good news is that you will be able to decorate houses in buy mode and customize Sims with all kinds of stuff in Create-A-Sim. The latter one is packed with all kinds of medieval clothing and hairstyles, with something for every type of career you might choose. Sims even look a bit more realistic in the Sims Medieval compared to Sims 3 Sims. For example, they’ve got a more refined skin tone which lessens the cartoony look we know from the original game.
Even better news is that Create-A-Style is back as well. So you’ll be able to recolor everything just the way you like, but with some limitations on what kind of patterns you can use. For instance, leopard patterns weren’t exactly all the rage in the middle ages, so they kept things like that out of the game.

tsm-stocks

The bad news is that we didn’t really see much possibilities for builders. Most buildings looked like they were fixed by design and couldn’t be changed in build mode. They didn’t tell us a lot about what kind of building options you might have in the game, but we were under the impression that building stuff could become quite limited in what you can and can’t do. You might be able to build a wall inside a room, as we did spot a build mode button in the interface, but we wouldn’t get our hopes up  on designing and building an entire castle.

Conclusion

So in conclusion we’ve seen a lot of new stuff. A new game, a new world, and a new way of playing the Sims. It provides loads of new features to create an actual medieval ‘experience’ for players. Our impression was that it’s certainly got some exiting things to look out for, and we can’t wait to see some more of this game.
Fans have been requesting a medieval version of the Sims for years, and now it´s finally here. The only question that remains is: will it measure up with their expectations? It’s certainly not an exact copy of the Sims set in medieval times, so we’re still not exactly sure on how fans will react when it comes out. Only time will tell…
But for now, the Sims Medieval is set for release in March 2011.