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The Sims

18 Nov 2020

The Sims 4 Snowy Escape Interview: Producer discusses Mt. Komorebi's secrets & future Expansion Packs

The Sims 4 Snowy Escape dropped on 13 November, and the world of Mt. Komorebi is everything we hoped for and more!

Here at RealSport we got the chance to speak with lead producer of Snowy Escape, Graham Nardone - he chatted about everything from easter eggs, to new cohesive injury mechanics and what's up next in the franchise.

Keep reading to see what he Nardone had to say.

Will Lifestyles and Sentiments be included in the base game or will players have to buy the Snowy Escape expansion to receive this feature?

“Sentiments is actually coming to all of our players in the base game update.

Of course, Sentiments is all about shared experiences between sims, so as part of that you have to have those experiences and some of those will be exclusive to Snowy Escape.

That one’s a little bit of a tricky one for people to understand, but the key thing there is that core system and a lot of those life experiences and the big moments that sims can share together, that’s something that all of our players will get for free.

the sims 4 snowy escape bath
BETTER TOGETHER: Sentiments are available for all Sims 4 players

If you want sentiments with things like hiking or enjoying a time in the hot springs together or going to the top of the mountain together, those are exclusive to Snowy Escape.

Now for lifestyles, we have 16 new lifestyles and those kind of reflect the lived experiences of our sims.

They really influence the way our sims behave within the world and help differentiate and distinguish their personalities a little bit further, and those 16 lifestyles are all exclusive to Snowy Escape."

You’ve switched things up a bit, are we right in assuming you’ve made all worlds residential as well as vacation locations?

“Let me clarify something there, we didn’t make all worlds residential. 

Essentially we have the three destination worlds that have come with some of our previous game packs and those are going to exclusively remain destination worlds, so you can’t live in those ones.

What we did do is we took all of the residential worlds and made them function as destination worlds as well, so now all players will have the ability to go on vacation in any of those”.

What is the main benefit of turning all residential worlds into destination worlds?

“Oh honestly, I just think it opens up so many possibilities for players to utilise the content they have even further.

You look at something like Sulani and obviously, I could live there previously, I could travel there, but I couldn’t vacation there.

And you know I could sure getaway to a nice tropical beach right now that sounds pretty great!

the sims 4 snowy escape house 1
WINTER GETAWAY: Don't fancy living in Mt Komorebi? Visit on vacation instead!

I think Mt. Komorebi and Snowy Escape is kind of the other side of that, heading into winter here and thinking ‘man, wouldn’t it be nice to go skiing or snowboarding’.

Now I can actually vacation there, I can have my rental property and you know it’s just another tick in the simulation for people to enjoy.”

You spoke previously about the new woohoo opportunities whilst exploring Mt. Komorebi, are there any other less intimate hidden activities or easter eggs in the new world?

“[*laughs*] Yeah, there’s a ton of different activities in the world. When I think about some of the stuff that’s a little more remote that you have to explore to get to, I would generally think of hiking.

We have that in two different destinations within Mt. Komorebi. 

the sims 4 snowy escape japan 1
GET HIKING: There's plenty of secrets to unveil whilst hiking

There’s the neighbourhood of Senbamachi, which is this beautiful, leafy, mountain town - and as you explore the remote edges of it and go on these beautiful hikes, you can find locations like the bamboo forest and the mountain temple.

You can explore those locations, take in a bit of the culture, maybe leave a wish on the ema board.

the sims 4 snowy escape interview 1
HOT AND COLD: Mt. Komorebi features both warmer and cold environments

Our other destination in the pack is Yukimatsu - that’s where it’s always cold, there’s snow on the ground and as you wander off to the outer reaches and go on a hike there, you can find this nature cove that has a lot of collectables to capture for sims. 

You might find a monkey statue set up within the entrance of a cave that you can go explore a little bit.

There are lots of opportunities to get out in the world, poke around and see what you find.”

We know that using a vending machine or going rock climbing can prove fatal, but can any of the other winter sports prove a dangerous activity for your sims as well?

“Yeah, so when you’re playing Snowy Escape, it’s pretty cool because it’s all a cohesive experience that ties back together.

So if you are going down the slopes, skiing or snowboarding, and you have a nasty fall, your sim might get an injury.

But the same can be true of having a vending machine fall on them like you mentioned, or going rock climbing and falling off the rock climbing wall because your skill wasn’t high enough.

All of those injuries feed into each other, so as a sim becomes more injured it actually becomes a little more of a dangerous experience for them.

the sims 4 snowy escape deaths
SAFETY FIRST: Doing an activity injured increases risk of death!

That’s what leads to some of the deaths that you’ve mentioned. 

Whether it’s having the vending machine fall on them or whether it’s falling off one of the tall rock climbing routes in the world, if they’re injured when those things occur, that’s what can lead to death.

All the experiences in the pack kind of build upon each other in that way and you’ll actually see that with the sim themselves.

They’ll act like they’re hurt, they’ll stop and clutch their head, they’ll twitch a little bit because they’re not feeling good, so it’s all an experience that ties together.”

Mt. Komorebi is so beautiful and unique, what is it that inspired you to create a Japanese-themed world?

"So for us, I think it was the right place, right time - we were thinking about doing this winter activity themed expansion pack for close to a year now, but we always like to subvert expectations a little bit.

Increasingly for us on The Sims, it’s been more about how do we bring more culture to the game, how do we represent more of our players and our audience around the world in authentic ways?

sims 4 snow escape mt komorebi
AIM OF AUTHENTICITY: Nardone explains how EA look to represent people's lived experiences

Our players kind of knew we were working on something winter activity related because we’ve done some surveys with them about it so this has been in the back of their heads.

A lot of them were assuming ‘oh sure they’re just gonna go to the French Alps’, that’s the natural destination for this.

So I think it’s fun to play with those expectations sometimes, and we said hey Japan has incredible winter activities, there’s a fascinating culture there that’s not really represented in The Sims currently, why don’t we bring those things together?

sim 4 snow escape skiing
OLYMPIC ROOTS: The postponed Japanese Olympics inspired Snowy Escape

Also, honestly, with the Olympics planned to take place in Japan this past year, that caught our attention and made us think about that further as a potential destination.

It all came together with those three things in mind, and it just turned into an absolutely beautiful location."

Is there a possibility that you could be exploring more cultures in the future, possibly in another expansion?

“Yeah, as I mentioned a moment ago, that’s something that’s key to us, it’s one of our pillars within the studio, that we are going to reach out to more of our communities, more of our players around the world and represent them in authentic ways, ways that really bring their lived experiences to life within the game.

We’re never going to be able to explore every aspect of a particular culture, cultures have such rich histories.

sims 4 snowy escape lifestyles sentiments
MORE TO COME: The Sims will continue to explore new cultures and lifestyles in future

But what we look to do is bring a slice of those cultures, consult with people who have more lived experiences with those cultures than certainly we do on our own and do that in a way that feels authentic, so players can enjoy those experiences, especially if it's something that’s close to them.

As we move forward, there’s certainly a lot more that we want to do with The Sims and it’s not just going to be about culture moving forward, but about many different aspects of our players’ lives and how we can represent those.”