Compared to many mainstream gaming companies starting to create more social games, Electronic Arts in particular has been delving in headfirst. The company has already created social apps, virtual worlds, and iPhone games: It built Scrabble for Facebook. It has been developing virtual worlds, such as the upcoming Littlest Pet Shop Online. And it even brought SimCity to the iPhone.
Tomorrow, The Sims 3 will be launching across a number of game platforms, including the iPhone. The game, which EA began working on in November 2007, has had the longest production time (and largest team working on it) for any iPhone title on record. Justin Taber, producer on the project, dubs it a “huge initiative with our best team inside EA Mobile.”
The game works nearly the same as the PC version. Players create their Sim, keep them happy (or sad, if that’s your thing) and explore their Sim neighborhoods. As you play, your character comes up with a few wishes. You earn various rewards that enhance your character if you fulfill those wishes. Curiously enough, you also earn points for being cruel, giving Sims 3 the depth the franchise is known for in its past versions.
There are a few differences between the mobile and PC versions, mainly pertaining to controls. Rather than using a mouse, players interact through a touch screen. Buttons are touched and cameras are controlled by finger swiping. If you leave your phone for a bit, the game will continue. While you’re away, your Sim will do whatever suits his or her fancy.
The iPhone version also makes use of the built-in accelerometer for mini-games, such as fishing and cooking. It’s quite intuitive. Players yank the phone to catch biting fish or shake the phone to stir a pot.
The Sims 3 has a pretty big production value for an iPhone game. However, according to EA, they are classifying the release of their big time franchise as a test. The company still wants to know if big budget games will be worth its while on the iPhone platform. That said, EA is already planning updates for the game when the 3.0 software is available.