Producer Antonio Romeo of EA talks to StarWars.com about a new game pack that lets players live their Star Wars dreams.
If you've ever wanted to join the Resistance or First Order -- or live your best scoundrel life -- this is your chance.
Lucasfilm and EA announced last week that a galaxy far, far away is coming to The Sims with The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available September 8, the pack will take players to Black Spire Outpost, the location featured at Disneyland® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where they can create their own story with an allegiance of their choice.
As seen in the reveal trailer and a new features overview trailer, Journey to Batuu centers around a detail-by-detail recreation of the Star Wars-themed land, from the layout of Oga’s Cantina to fun Easter eggs like the diagona that pops up in a water fountain. (And of course, the ultimate dream come true: lightsaber building!) There are main story missions, side missions, and even some familiar faces in Vi Moradi, Rey, and Kylo Ren, as well as the chance to pilot iconic ships, including the Millennium Falcon, TIE echelon, and T-70 X-wing. Of course, it’s all through the fun and funny lens of The Sims, meaning friendships, relationships, and the occasional dance party are all possible, too. Ultimately, it looks to be a more than worthy addition to one of gaming’s most vaunted simulators. “As a huge Star Wars fan, I have always loved the stories that have been told in this universe,” producer Antonio Romeo tells StarWars.com, “but being able to take the reins and play out my own stories with the Sims is such a unique experience no other game can offer.” StarWars.com caught up with Romeo to talk about bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life in video game form, visiting Disney Parks for research, and having lightsaber duels over dirty dishes.
StarWars.com: This pack is such a fun idea, but one I never would've really thought possible. Can you talk about where the idea came from and how it evolved?
Antonio Romeo: We have a lot of Star Wars fans here on The Sims, and we have always wanted to incorporate it into a larger, more fleshed out gameplay experience. When we learned more about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we thought it was such a unique setting that has so much more to explore. This was a perfect opportunity for us to jump in and provide fans and players with an experience that coincides with their experiences at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
StarWars.com: What strikes me as something wholly unique about this project is that the fantastical world you're building actually exists in Disney Parks. Did you get to visit in preparation for development?
Antonio Romeo: The goal was to build an authentic Star Wars experience and the only way to fully incorporate the sights and sounds into The Sims was to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge first-hand. Myself and a small group of artists and designers spent three full days there capturing reference for rock formations, textures, audio, guest behavior, and just trying to get a sense of what it would be like to translate Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge into our game. It was a lot of fun and I am excited to be able to bring that experience to fans in a unique way.
StarWars.com: What other resources and reference were available to you?
Antonio Romeo: The Star Wars vault is massive! Anything that we could think of where we needed a reference was only an email away. As a huge Star Wars fan myself, I was in heaven. I learned so much from working with the great folks at Lucasfilm. Additionally, the Disney Parks team was extremely helpful in providing us with true-to-life audio to ensure the experience in Journey to Batuu is as authentic to the real place as possible.
StarWars.com: What were your ultimate goals for Journey to Batuu once you started development?
Antonio Romeo: Star Wars is all about storytelling, and The Sims provides players with an opportunity to tell their own stories. When we were developing Journey to Batuu we wanted to ensure players had all of the tools they needed to create their Star Wars story on Batuu. We also thought of the many ways Star Wars could blend with your everyday Sims gameplay beyond Batuu. This last point was extremely important to us as Sims fans. In the end, we landed on a great balance of The Sims style of fun and authentic Star Wars moments. Who doesn’t want to duel their roommates to decide who has to wash the dishes that night? These are the types of moments that excite me as both a Star Wars and Sims fan.
StarWars.com: I love how you can choose your own allegiance, be it Resistance, First Order, or Scoundrel. It's actually one of the few Star Wars games to give you that freedom.
Antonio Romeo: Absolutely! I myself am a diehard Scoundrel player. I have always loved the stories of scum and villainy in Star Wars. However, The Sims 4 is all about player choice and storytelling. We knew we couldn’t provide players with just a single path, there needed to be an option for Resistance and First Order. Each one of these groups provides you with unique gameplay that helps you understand what each of the three groups are about. For example, the Resistance will have you sneaking into the First Order District to uncover information, disrupt comms, and even sabotage the main headquarters of the First Order. The First Order, on the other hand will have you checking IDs of Batuu citizens, hunting down criminals for information, and even arresting Resistance sympathizers. The Scoundrels…well, they play by their own rules and do not have an agenda beyond earning galactic credits. Players that want to fall in with the Scoundrels will find themselves helping Hondo Ohnaka gather supplies, recruit crew members, and tackle a heist on Canto Bight for all the credits you could ever want. I am really excited about the three different groups and the different types of stories the players will be able to tell.
StarWars.com: When it comes to side missions that other Batuuans might give you, how did you develop and write those?
Antonio Romeo: Each group has a main story to guide you through exciting moments, but we wanted to ensure that you get to see all that Batuu has to offer. The side missions are a way for you to have never-ending storytelling opportunities that also fill in the gaps for the Story Missions. One of my favorite side missions is actually one you can get from Savi’s Workshop in Black Spire Outpost. When you visit his shop, you can request a lightsaber challenge. This will allow you to have fun and exciting lightsaber duels on Batuu to earn rare lightsaber parts, credits, and even build your fitness skill in order to be more proficient at wielding your own lightsaber.
StarWars.com: This seems like a great gateway into The Sims for those who've never played it. What would you tell Star Wars fans in that category?
Antonio Romeo: If you have ever wanted to explore the world of Star Wars and create your own story, this is a perfect experience for you. You have the ability to customize your Sim to prepare for your Journey to Batuu. Once you arrive on Batuu, there are so many authentic Star Wars moments and objects, you are only limited by your own imagination and creativity. When you return to the Sim’s world, the creativity doesn’t stop -- you can use the build and buy items to construct your very own Star Wars inspired homes.
Watch The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu trailers below!
The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu arrives September 8.
Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.
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