In my Californian E3 daze, I accidentally walked into one of the less popular rooms at EAâs booth. It was unlike any of the others. Instead of the smell of male journalist body odour and the sound of gunfire, I found myself surrounded by easily excitable women and a couple of camp looking chaps. Looking up at the screen I realised I was in the room for The Sims 3: Pets demo.
By this stage the door was closed and I was trapped, seated next a rather large lady, dressed entirely in black and wearing a human-sized dog collar. As I sat there, watching a digital cat with the shakes in a room full of âawwwâsâ and high-pitched giggles, I began to realise something. I could actually end up enjoying this game, if I had my balls removed.
I was pleased to see however, that The Sims 3: Pets isnât just a quick add-on that adds a bunch of cats and dogs to your virtual neighbourhood. Instead, every single animal in the game becomes a new playable character that not only interacts with your Sims, but has their own life story as well. Personally it was quite fun just running around as a Bull Mastiff defecating on things, digging holes in peopleâs yards and attacking mailmen.
Your Sim pets will have a multitude of âhelpfulâ objectives and goals that will improve the quality of both your pet and your Sims around them. Apart from cats and dogs, The Sims 3: Pets will also include an infinite assortment of horses, lizards, turtles, snakes, and birds. And donât worry, you wonât need to spend 3 hours waiting for a door to be opened. Dogs and cats have somehow all mastered the ability to open doors. Not too sure how snakes manage, but weâll see closer to the time.
Every pet has their own personality traits for you to customise, such as loyalty, laziness, intelligence, and so fourth. You can even make them hydrophobic, skittish, clueless and aggressive, like my stupid cat, if you want. As Sims fans would expect, youâll have full control over your pet's appearance too. The game includes a huge assortment of idenitifable preset breeds, each with distinct fur attributes, markings and body types. EA also mentoned fantasy creatures like Tiger Retrievers (half tiger, half Labrador) and Skunk Birmans (half-Skunk, half-exotic cat) being available. Not to mention the sickening number of accessories, hair-cuts, dye jobs, and clothing items that you can buy for your unfortunate pampered pet.
It was around this point that I asked about inter-species breeding. The demonstrator laughed before saying that animals of the same species can breed and you can then take control of their babies. He then showed us a variety of insanely cute kittens and puppies, each one resembling both their parents in a logically genetic manner to a chorus of vile cooâs from the audience. I considered putting my hand up again and asking âhow about we get that frisky looking cat and that lizard together and see what happens?â but decided against it.
The other great news for Sims 3 fans is that the Pets edition will be available on PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles as well, later this year. The Sims 3: Pets on the Xbox 360 will even include some handy voice activated controls. It makes perfect sense to be able to exclaim âSit!â, âRoll over!â and âCook me some eggs!â to your pet (you laugh but your pets can actually make your Sims breakfast now).
As we left the room I was given a human-sized studded dog collar with the trademarked Sims green jewel attached to it. It was at this point that I realised that this was the same collar the woman sitting next to me was wearing and that she must have sat through the demo twice. Keen. But even for a non-Sims 3 fan like myself, I can see that this new Pets edition will certainly cause a stir amongst the Simolean community. Look out for it this October and NZGamer.com will be back to bring you more details soon.