MySims Kingdom • Page 2

An audience with the rulers.  

Erik Zwerling, who's producing the port of MySims to the PC - complete with new multiplayer features - chips in.

"MySims was originally created in order to come up with a game that would be successful on consoles, particularly Nintendo consoles, as well as in territories where The Sims wasn't as popular," he explains. "That was particularly Japan and Asia, where the Sims was seen as being too western - it didn't really take off there.

"The goal was to come up with something that would be more attractive to those consoles and those territories. MySims was the outcome of that. Other franchises like Mario and Sonic aren't necessarily kids' games - they have all-age appeal - but they have some of those Asian, Japanese tendencies."

Creating a character-driven game and using Asian inspiration for much of the artwork helped MySims to achieve that objective. "When MySims originally came out, one of the best compliments that the dev team got was that the territories we were aiming for loved the game, and actually thought it was created in Japan," Zwerling says. "They didn't think it was a western game."

Our role-model, Vic Vector, makes a welcome return - as does his amazing arcade game, Eyeball Versus Plane.

Building this Asian-themed, Nintendo-style game, however, has had a knock-on effect on more than just the sales of MySims in Japan. LeTourneau takes over the narrative once again.

"For us, is was liberating in many ways," he enthuses. "It lets you go back and say, hey - this playing field is completely different. We have a very focused, targeted idea of what we can do and what we can accomplish. Let's go do it specifically for these platforms."

"So, from the very beginning, it was a different franchise. It was never intended to be just part of The Sims - it's part of the Sims Label, but the Sims Label isn't just about The Sims. It's about games that encourage creativity, community, humour - and that can lead to a tremendous amount of variety."

One thing that LeTourneau is keen to emphasise about MySims Kingdom is that it's not - emphatically not - MySims 2. Rather than a town-building game, this is an adventure game where your construction powers are used to solve puzzles and complete quests - the same characters, the same art style, but a very different experience. So why take such a radically different direction, if they were happy with MySims in the first place? Not that we're complaining, but it does seem a little odd...

A lengthy quest line involves building a rocket for a mad (well, misunderstood) professor - which you can then take off in, even if you've sneakily built it with a pot-plant for a nose cone.

LeTourneau responds without hesitation. "Can I make a better game about building furniture? Probably not. That was the goal... And I don't mean that in a negative way at all! The goal of MySims was that we wanted a game where the player feels like they're building a little town, that they've built it from the ground up. Not only are they building the houses but they're building everything inside it. Everything you see is built.

"Can I do that better? Sure, I could probably find ways to make that better. But I think MySims is a great game. I'd rather take the characters and say, here's a completely different MySims experience. If you want that open-ended creativity, you should just go and buy MySims - it's an awesome game.

"Here's a completely different experience with MySims, which you can get just as engaged with, and as engrossed with. I'd much rather do that."

Both MySims Kingdom (Wii/DS) and MySims (PC) are out in October.

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Rob Fahey

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