A very strange interview. Well, strange questions. There must be a haze over the cubicles at PC Gamer… or something.

PC Gamer: The Sims: Child Labour?

Ben: The Sims: Sweatshop

PC Gamer: The Sims: Workhouse. Anyway… I understand Rod Humble’s moved on and you now have several studios. How is the Sims franchise managed?

Ben: My job is to look after the Sims 3 line of games. That includes the PC and console games. We report back to Redwood Shores. We moved some folks here from the team there.

PC Gamer: What are your plans with the different studios going forward? Or is that not something you’re talking about?

Ben: We’re only talking about Showtime right now. The team is split up between the two locations, which creates all kinds of challenges and lots of cool opportunities too.

PC Gamer: How do you pick the expansions?

Ben: It’s a pretty organic process. One of the fun things about working on The Sims is that you can reflect on your own life and the ideas you find are totally relevant to the game. Very few people have fortunately been at war, so there aren’t that many human beings who can relate to that experience. Everyone can relate to the idea of wanting to be a star or basically to being a human being with basic human needs, so the first step is we look inward, at ourselves. What kind of things we want to explore.We look for the absolute ideas, the things that encompass human truths within them, like the desire to be recognised is and have your worth reaffirmed, that’s at the core of showtime. Everyone wants to be noticed and be told that the person they are is valuable. That’s why celebrities do what they do. There’s a little bit of our intuition. The fans of the game have the same intuition and they’re pretty involved in the game. It’s pretty easy for us to look at the kinds of things that fans are creating on the web and they’re saying on the forums and the things they say to us directly, and get what they’d be interested in. We also look at pop culture, those human truths; what are the themes that are interesting on a perenial basis, that people really want to explore more of. All of those things inform our priorities for themes. I would say, we’re just scratching the surface of the range of possibilities, I love it.

PC Gamer: Well, it’s not restricted in anyway is it?

Ben: Everything’s on the table. As long as we can make it funny and personal, it’s ours.

Continue…

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