not easy being a horse, especially a horse covering the wildlife beat here at
GamesRadar. If there’s one human being I can relate to, it’s non-horse comedian
and actor Rodney Dangerfield. We both get no respect. Every day, my slovenly
game journalist co-workers ride me hard, teasing me with press releases for
pitiful pet-centric titles targeting the tiny human girl gamer market. One day,
I will trample them all and ride off into the sunset to start my own games
studio, one that only makes hardcore games for hardcore horses. But I digress.
It seems that Electronic Arts has beat me to it, showing that the studio truly
recognizes the importance of its non-human audience. The Sims 3: Pets, the
fifth expansion for the series, puts players in charge of canines, felines, and
most importantly, horses. And it’s about damn time. If you want to read an
interview where a REAL horse asks REAL questions about EA’s latest pet friendly
expansion for The Sims 3, read on.
Above: You can now play as horses in The Sims 3. Finally
understand that horses were the most requested pet ever from Sims fans. Why
Sims 3? Why didn’t you give us horses what we wanted with The Sims 2 pets?
Vaughan: 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.
Buttercup: In the real world, horses
are much more complex creatures than common canines and felines. I don’t mean
to brag, but we never eat our own poop. Was introducing horses more challenging
than everyday cats and dogs?
Vaughan: 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
Above: Humans have inferior jumping skills. You can prove this fact by visiting the Equestrian Center
Buttercup: So I’m a horse, playing
The Sims 3 as a horse. What can I do?
Vaughan: 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!
stop at dogs and cats and horses? How did The Sims 3: Pets team decide which
non-humans would make the cut?
Vaughan: 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.
Above: A behind-the-scenes look at some of the horse tech that went into The Sims 3: pets
Buttercup: Horses actually don’t
like carrots. We just recognize the value of beta carotene. But I digress. For the most part, horses appear to move and
behave very realistically in The Sims 3: Pets. How did your team research my
Vaughan: 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.
the deal with unicorns? Can you create one from the start?
Vaughan: 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.
You may not realize it, but horses have been
making important contributions to the games industry for years. So it’s
refreshing to see an influential studio like EA taking equines seriously with The Sims 3:
Pets. As a reward for both horses and non-horse Sims fans alike, EA is offering
all kinds of platform specific exclusives to anyone who pre-orders The Sims 3:
Pets before its October 18 release.
Sep 27, 2011