One of the first gaming related panels at New York Comic-Con also happened to be one of the smallest. Some of both games designers were on hand showing off their latest expansions. Both focusing their games into the future. The panel was short but very interesting as it described the creative process that went behind their futuristic designs.
The Future is Now
Not technically. SimCity decided the expansion should only be 50 years into the future, so technology could advance but not be over the top. The developers decided jumping too far into the future (i.e. flying cars, tall stacked buildings) would be jarring to the gamer and not feasible to accomplish.
The most amazing part of the game’s design to me was how much it relied on pop culture. They spent several minutes discussing the films that inspired the games. Films such as Wall-E, Looper, The Fifth Element or 2001: A Space Odyssey all help shape the environments in each game. Whether the end result was discarding the film’s futuristic ideals (Looper was deemed not different enough from present day, also depressing) or a big influence (Gamers are allowed to create a town like BnL in SimCity aka mine resources and drive the city into the ground).
***Magrails will also be a thing in SimCity and The Sims (kind of pictured?)***
When it comes to The Sims, the design team decided to create a future Utopia. The world is clean, bright and full of friendly robots. This was done so current Sims players didn’t have to, A.) have long load times when “portalling” to the new area; B.) once in the new area, it still seemed familiar; C.) When you do “dirtier or more promiscuous things,” it still maintains its sense of humor.
SimCity had similar reasons for its changes. They wanted to add a lot of content without polarizing current fans. It added futuristic things such as hydro power plants and a place where sewer water can be recycled into drinking water (yummy).
Both expansions seem to be adding enough content worth a look if you’re a fan of either game series. Anyone think they’re picking up the expansions when they release on October 22nd (Sims) or November 12th (SimCity)?