Contrary to how it may seem, my time at Gamescom 2011 has not just been spent playing The Sims 3: Pets. I have also spent time listening to people talk about The Sims 3: Pets and I would like to share what I have learnt with all of the Sims fans out there.
At a presentation for The Sims 3: Pets on PC we were told about the advanced create-a-pet mode in which the player is able to fully customize their pet beyond anything that has been available before in a Sims game. This is accomplished by using “layers” (in a similar manner to the car customisation in Forza that gives such jaw-dropping results) which can be added to your pet to create a totally unique colour scheme, and sliders, which can be used to adjust pretty much any feature of the animal, resulting in some incredibly strange looking creatures. It is important to remember that the dogs, cats and horses in the Sims are fully Sims in their own right and can be played as such, allowing the player to see their world through the eyes of a pet. There is a limit of six pets per household, but with the maximum ten Sim total, players will have to work out their combination of up to six pets and eight humans to the ten total.
A new town will be available with The Sims 3: Pets, called Appaloosa Plains. This town has been created using completely new buildings which have not been seen in The Sims before, and is the perfect place for pets. There is a cat jungle, a dog park and a horse ranch. There is also the Equestrian centre where horses can compete in races, show jumping events and cross country. It is also possible to buy, sell and breed horses at this centre.
In the console version, pets can have jobs and contribute to the family. Although there are no new careers for the Sims or the pets in the PC version, there are still ways for them to contribute, such as the horse racing or dogs putting on trick shows.
We have all seen that the magical Unicorn will be available in The Sims 3: Pets, but did you know that it is also fully customizable? No details have been given about how to get a Unicorn in the game, beyond that it is not available at the beginning and players will have to invest some time to unlock this creature. It will certainly be worthwhile though, as the Unicorn comes with some impressive skills, such as the ability to start fires or make flowers grow, curse or bless Sims, and even teleport.
A couple of other interesting bits of information – Pets in the PC version can only die through old age and if you don’t look after your horse, a social worker will visit with a horse trailer and take it away.
For the console versions, it is interesting to know that on the 3DS players will be able to play as a pet without a human Sim needed.
For the home consoles, cats and dogs both come with abilities that can help them earn money, such as cats can detect and trap ghosts, whilst the dog can track scents and dig for treasure. After a pet dies, they hang around for a few days as a ghost and can be brought back to life using the Divine Intervention Karma power. There are also two new Karma powers that look like they will be a lot of fun. The feral Possession Karma power will cause the cats and dogs to wreak havoc across the town. The other Karma power turns human Sims into animals and animal Sims into humans. How much fun will that be?