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Maxis on growing together with the community in The Sims 4

We caught with a couple of developers from Maxis Studios to chat about the latest expansion for the long-running simulation game, and likewise what's next for the franchise as a whole.

Audio transcription

"We are at Summer Game Fest Play Days and we missed The Sims happy hours.
I'm sorry about that, but we are happy that we got to do this interview and we are here with you.
So, after so many years, how would you define the current status of The Sims and its community?
Yeah, the community is thriving, we have 70 million players that have played our game now and they're just looking and asking for more and more from the team and we're just providing."

"Yeah, we're very excited about the community.
What are you providing us of late and in the near future?
So, we've been doing lots of updates and we've got many, many more planned as well.
Most recently, we've actually just released two new kits."

"One's Grunge Revival, so if you're kind of like looking at kind of modern trends now, but also like myself, if you kind of grew up in the grunge era, it gives you a great opportunity to kind of tell stories using those kind of elements.
And then the other one was Book Nook, which is another kit, which is for our build by players."

"So, being able to build these Book Nook kind of builds, I've just seen some incredible builds from the community.
It's absolutely so inspiring.
So, there's some of the most recent updates we have and also, like I say, there's many, many more plans for The Sims 4 in the future."

"Could you give us a couple of examples of what players are doing to express themselves with the new content, the stories they're telling and how they are expressing it into the game?
Yeah. So, with a lot of our content, players are really discovering kind of who they are.
We have such a wonderful player base that gets to figure out who do they love, who are their friends, what are their family dynamics."

"And so, we just, we came out with Growing Together earlier this year and they get to explore also what happens when you raise a child and it's not, you know, it's not all wonderful rainbows and easy, right?
They get to kind of see and understand the challenge, what happens when you nurture a baby and how does the baby grow and become an adult one day and how do the decisions that they make in the game help change what's happening to their Sim?
Yeah."

"That's for what the game is right now.
So, how would you guys picture The Sims going forward?
I don't know if still The Sims 4 or future entries into the series that you kind of talk about probably, but how do you picture the experience?
How do you think it can evolve further with a game that has evolved so much, even in its business model, the way it's distributed, the way it's multi-platform?
So, what can you tell us about that, both of you?
Yeah. So, we still have a lot of stories to tell."

"I really personally want to dig deeper into relationship building and seeing how that can evolve in the game.
Also, with our audience, they are always exploring something different in their lives and so we try to look at how do we tackle that in The Sims and help them express and tell that story."

"How about you?
So, for me personally, I always think that The Sims kind of draws inspiration from what the community is creating, but also just from the world around us.
And so, the world's constantly evolving. It's constantly changing."

"And so, looking at seeing, okay, how can we give players the ability to tell stories that are personal to them today? Like, what does that mean?
And so, I'm really excited about all the potential that we have for The Sims 4, about kind of looking at what the community is really excited by, what they're using today, and then what more we can do to build upon that."

"But also, understanding the world around us and saying like, you know, how are trends evolving?
You know, what's expectations?
And that goes right the way through from, you know, the clothes that people are wearing to the food that people are eating to the types of relationships and their own personal identity as well."

"So, I'm just like incredibly excited about kind of all the potential to continue evolving in that space.
Is there something that you just mentioned that you cannot do right now?
Or you feel like you guys have the platform to keep adding that sort of content for them to tell those stories?
No, very much feel that we've kind of got this kind of platform and this kind of foundation and we just want to keep building on top of it."

"So, earlier this year, we did some kind of updates to improve representation, such as adding things like hearing aids.
And that was so incredibly important because we saw players then say, I can finally see myself and I can see myself represented."

"And then also when we looked at things like when we recently just gone free entry, so it's actually free to play the base game.
So, more players from around the world are now playing The Sims 4 for the very first time.
And that's inspiring us to go, okay, what can we do for more people around the world so that they can tell those personal stories about what their life can be like, but also giving them that opportunity to then go into the fantasy world as well."

"So, they might say start by telling the story of their family and then end up telling stories about vampires and werewolves and bringing that together and how they interact in those dynamics.
Fantastic, that sounds incredible. So, thank you so much for your time."

"Much appreciated.
Yeah, thank you.
Thank you so much."

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