The newest video for SimCity (opens in new tab) features franchise creator Will Wright sitting down with Designer Ocean Quigley to discuss how citizens react to player's benevolent and malicious actions. Quigley tells the sim legend that he wants the player's emotional investment with a populace to stay high throughout his or her mayoral career.
"One of the things I wanted to do with SimCity was to make you feel more responsibility for the the little people that lived there, because you can do all these horrible things to them," explains Quigley. "You can poison them, burn down their houses, and because of your crappy economic decisions, they go homeless.
"So when that happened to them, you would have this guilt, you would feel this twinge of emotion about your responsibility for the life opportunities for these people in this world that you created."
Like its predecessors, SimCity eschews a moral compass in favor for greater player control to fashion blissfully happy settlements or disaster-wracked hives of hell. Quigley's comments echo what Lead Designer Stone Librande told us on the topic of torture (opens in new tab) : "It's less like torture in The Sims, and more like messing with an anthill. So you can tell a story like, 'I'm the mean mayor, I killed them all,' or you can tell the story like, 'I evicted them all and they left.'"
Back to the video discussion, Wright jokingly suggests Quigley's intention is to "make SimCity a guilt-driven experience," but Quigley fires back with his belief that "guilt is an underxploited emotion in videogames." I might feel some guilt-pangs after letting my city become a sewage-flooded mess, so maybe I'll keep that within the sanctuary of SimCity's sandbox mode (opens in new tab) .