Electronic Arts launched life-simulation game “The Sims 4” just over a month ago to lukewarm reviews, but producer Ryan Vaughan says the game is still a work in progress, so don't write it off just yet.
“We just did our first free content update last Tuesday. It added ghosts and some really cool new ‘Star Wars’ outfits. We have a great relationship with Disney and we were excited to be able to bring that stuff into the game,” Vaughan told IBTimes at an EA event in New York City on Wednesday. “We also have pools coming as a free update. We know players wanted this really badly.”
Since Vaughan started working with EA in 2007, he has produced previous “Sims” installments “The Sims 2” and “The Sims 3,” among other projects.
Vaughan wasn't insulted or surprised by the number of users who openly voiced their dissatisfaction with the game, and that the passion for the series is what inspires him to roll out updates and pay attention to player feedback.
“I’m never really surprised; I’m often more humble or impressed by [how passionate people are]. That people love the ‘Sims’ so much and care so much about it. It makes my job so much more fun, honestly,” he explained. “At the end of the day, we want to make a game that people want to play. It’s almost more meaningful that way, that want to be vocal about what they want in the game. That’s what makes it special and keeps it fresh.”
Vaughan is grateful that new technology allows EA to easily add updates and downloadable content, a feature missing from its predecessors.
“One of the really exciting things about the ‘Sims 4’ is that the game’s been out for a month, but we’ve actually updated it three or four times. In the short amount of time, we’ve been able to fix bugs. And that was something that was hard to do on the ‘Sims 3’; patches took a long time. But now it's really easy to do and we’re really excited about keeping the game relevant,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan says EA wants to continuously add new, free content to “The Sims 4” while retaining and catering to its hardcore fan base.
“The hardest part about releasing a new game is that we’re essentially competing against ourselves. ‘The Sims 4’ is the last five years of content and expansions we’ve made for the game. We want to take the game and improve it and make it a new fun game while still retaining that core and adding a new element.”
How can players let EA know what they want to see in "The Sims 4"? Is the Redwood City, California-based developer actually paying attention to what they have to say?
"We’re already listening to fans and I want to encourage them to keep telling us things, keep yelling at us online. We love that. Not just from a business perspective; I’m a video game developer and I want to make the most fun game possible. Keep up what you’re saying and tell us what you want.”