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Producer Interview with Graham Nardone

(Deutsche Version / German Version)

Daniel, What’s your part and job at EA´s The Sims Dev Team especially on “The Sims 3 Generations”?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: I am one of the producers on The Sims 3 Team. I’ve been on the team for about 2 years now and worked on every expansion since “World Adventures”. As part of the production we really kind of oversee what is going into the game - all way from the creative conception progress to the final implementation.  We have all these different people who work on the game and they go through these various processes of getting stuff into the game. But as a producer it’s my job to make sure that it is the best experience possible for our players and to our community.

Daniel, After some special themes like “World Adventures” and “Late Night”, the Fans will get an expansion pack that expands the core-gameplay. Why did The Sims Dev Team decided to develop the "Generations" theme next?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: For us it is a really exciting opportunity. As you know we haven’t done a similar expansion like "Generations" before. It’s really about letting the Sims be themselves. It’s really cool for us to have this opportunity and were definitely interested in seeing how the community response to it. I think they’re going to have a lot of fun with it because it’s really about telling the stories of their Sims that they love.

Daniel, With The Sims 3 Generations we will get some objects that the fans had asked for in the past - Tree Houses, Rounded Stairs, Bunked Beds and so much more. That's really cool! How do the developers decide to add these objects and how does the community influence their decisions?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: There are a few different things we get inspired by. With “The Sims 3 Generation”, we had a lot of fun developing it because as a team it was kind of an opportunity to think about our own lives and what we'd like to see in “The Sims” to tell the stories we want to say. For example the tree house; I worked on the tree house and I always wanted to have a tree house as a kid. I spent hours on designing, developing and drawing them on paper but I never lived somewhere in which I could have a real tree house. It’s just so cool to getting that feedback from the Dev Team what they would want to see in The Sims. And at the same time we are thinking about our Community. The Community is very important. You are a big part of that what makes the Sims successful and ultimately you’re the ones who are playing and enjoying the game. Of course we want to make a product for you guys to enjoy. As we develop different expansions, you’d seen that we bring things back from older Sims games that the community really wants. And “Generations” at particular was an opportunity for us to explore something new. But there is still stuff in there that the community loves. The Wedding Arches for example. We know people in the community wanted them back for a long time. It’s great to finally bring those back to them.

Daniel, There are so many new objects and activities. What's your personal favorite and could you please explain your it in depth to me?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: This is definitely the tree house. I really love the tree house. It’s just personal to me as I got a chance to work on it very closely when we were developing it. It’s so cool when the kids hang out on the tree house. They can now have slumber parties. You invite your friends over and they will sleep in the tree house. But not only that, they play with each other and have fun as well. Depending on which tree house they’re in, they’ll be able to do different things. You saw the clubhouse in which they can look out with their spy glasses and see what the neighbors are up to. But we have different ones like the castle tree house where the have great adventures in there. There is the pirate attack and all these explosions going off with this really cool music. I personally like the Sci-Fi one as well. I like the look of the UFO engines. I put my kids in the astronaut outfits and have them go up in the Sci-Fi tree house. It’s so much fun to play around and watch what they’re going to do.

Daniel, We heard that an imaginary friend feature will be added with The Sims 3 Generations. Is this the new "Creature" or "Special Sim" in this expansion?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: Yes it is. That’s really cool because we never had the opportunity to add the imaginary friend in “The Sims” before. I like how the children play with their imaginary friend but at the same time when you switch to another Sim, the imaginary friend disappears. The other Sims are watching and start thinking “what’s going on there?” when the kid hugs the imaginary friend for example. The others just see that the kid is hugging the air. But you can bring them to life later and can fully control them and have more options on interacting with them.

Daniel, The trailer shows a feature that reminds me of “The Sims 2 University“. How deep is this new school feature?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: There are a lot of new interactions we have with schools. They won’t go to college specifically, but what they will do are the following: Children can go on field trips now.  Field trips are really cool. It is not just a new way of going with the community – they sometimes bring special things back from these field trips and have them in their memories.
Teens can have prom dances. They will be able to take their date and go to the prom and they'll take their picture at the school. You can hang these pictures at home on their walls so they can remember this day and how it was like for them. Of course if they got prom king or prom queen – that’s a very special moment for them.
In addition to those we have these specific boarding schools where you can send off your child elsewhere - you know, outside of your current world. It might be a military school, a sports school, even this kind of a hippie school. They'll have different experiences there and can come over to visit the family and tell them their experiences they made.

Daniel,  A new profession is the DayCare. What's that about? Please give a little overview about this profession.

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: Daycare is a lot of fun. The Sims have this new “Nurturing” trait. Sims with this new trait will be great in taking care of other kids; they can interact with them in a special way. If you’re in the daycare profession it's really similar to the careers we´ve added and offered in “The Sims 3 Ambitions”. It’s a very active career. You have to guide your Sims through these experiences to help them advance. So other Sims bring by their kids and drop them off and you have to take care of them. As you progress through it, it gets more difficult - you may even have a problem child. They’re going to pull pranks and get in trouble more often. But you make sure that you take care of them like they are your own kid. And as you keep going you will have more and more children and have the ability to manage them.

Daniel, The fans often asked about the features for children. They really like the stroller. How can the Sims carry their children and what happens if a family has triplets for example?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: The stroller is really cool! We have had these screenshots out before of the strollers and the fans were discussing how interactive it would be. I remember reading on a forum people chatting about how they can use it. It’s really awesome to see people that are so excited about the stroller. Of course we never had it in a Sims game before where you can walk around with it. The moms put the kids in it and they walk around the neighborhood. So there is a lot of cool stuff with that. Its fully interactive! But what if you have triplets? You can’t put triplets in a single stroller, but you can talk to your family’s teenagers and they can help the mothers carry them along.

Daniel, The Dev team usually expands things in which may not be connected to the respective theme of the expansion pack. I have seen for example body hair.
What else will we get?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: There is a really cool new feature in the catalog. If you have a lot of previous expansions, stuff packs and store content, with all of these items it may be kind of hard to find things.  We now have this new filter in the catalog where you click on it and select the icon of what product you want to see. So if you bought “Generations” and you just want to see the objects from “Generations” you click that icon and that’s the only ones you will see. But it’s a dynamic system. If you have “Late Night” as well you can click both of them you will see only objects from both of those. So you can show just the objects that you want. Another new feature is spiral stair cases. That doesn’t really relate to the Generations theme but it’s a really cool thing for the players because I know they’ve liked the spiral stair cases in “The Sims 2” as it takes less space and they are look really awesome.  So there is certainly stuff in there like that to discover.

Daniel, Are there new places to wohoo in The Sims 3 Generations? 

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: Absolutely! Sims can wohoo in the showers now. To see that is really romantic, I’ve enjoyed that. But my favorite one is in the tree house - so Sims will wohoo in the tree house! You'll see the adults climbing up in there and the tree house is shaking. Leaves are falling down off of it and birds will fly of the tree house - really funny! It’s a little devious but they are having a good time with it.

Daniel, Is there something you wanna add or would you like to tell to the fans before we wrap up this interview?

Graham Nardone, EA Producer:  I really love the video camera. I really hope players will check out and explore it as our fans have always seen the world in the typical traditional view. With the video camera, it’s really an opportunity to view the game looking through their eyes and see the world from their perspective. You can walk around the town and see how the Sims are living and interacting with each other. It’s such a cool experience from that new perspective.
We really love our fans, it's very important to get the feedback from them! We will continually monitor what they say and what they want to see so (Daniel - “pets and weather”) (Graham laughs). Well you see in our expansions that we bring in some things back from previous Sims games that people really loved. And for Generations it was an opportunity for us to bring things what we never been able to give our fans before. We like to do a combination of old themes and new themes but we always are listening to our community for feedback on what they would like to see in future.

Daniel, Thank you very much!

Graham Nardone, EA Producer: Yeah absolutely! It´s great talking to you!


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