Sims 3: Ambitions – Revealed

Don't forget to lay tarpaulin before chainsawing!

With the release of Sims 3 last June, EA delivered a revamped, gorgeous, if somewhat empty feeling Threequel to their obscenely popular franchise and sales, predictably, went through the roof.  Close to one and a half million units sold in the first week of release alone and the game dominated PC sales charts in 2009; it has been riding consistently high in many territories ever since.

As a long time fan of Sims 2, I was somewhat disappointed with Sims 3, but given that I had come into the franchise when Sims 2 already had two fantastic expansions under its belt in the form of ‘Nightlife’ and ‘University’, I was rather spoiled in terms of what a fresh Sims experience was like.  A new game of course, means that every expansion had been rubbed out and for me, the bare bones were disappointing after the former rich feast of eight expansions and numerous stuff packs.

The game was undeniably gorgeous, with some fantastic features, such as collectable items,  fishing and gardening hobbies, and perhaps best of all, a truly open neighbourhood with a blissful lack of loading screens.  However, this being the base game, the gameplay felt somewhat thin on the ground and I was still sore from the loss of my beloved ‘University’, ‘Open for Business’, and ‘Seasons’ expansions.  Not only that, but there were only a handful of deaths with which to torment my Sims, so all I could do was huff and puff and wait impatiently for the first expansion; The Sims 3: World Adventures duly followed six months later and we were off.

If Sims 3 is to follow the form of previous incarnations, the pattern of expansions roughly runs to one every six months with a stuff pack in between.  Barely was ‘World Adventures’ out, than the internet rumour mill creaked back to life, and speculation swiftly became rife about the possibility of either a magic expansion or a hobby and career pack.  All I could do was cross my fingers and hope for either Uni or a true-to-the-original version of ‘Open For Business’. With EA’s cloak and dagger stance doing little to scotch the rumours, the fever grew, spreading through top sites such as and various Twitter feeds until March 4th’s sudden announcement.  Penned in for a release date on the first birthday of Sims 3, this June, comes the eagerly awaited Sims 3: Ambitions.  It seems that surprisingly, for once, the rumours weren’t far off.

Firefighters... one of the few jobs where you get to run around mental with an axe in the air without the risk of incarceration

With Ambitions, players can pursue a variety of careers, maintaining direct control of their Sims while at their jobs, giving them control of how their Sims spend their days.  As always, how you play is up to you, so while the player has the choice of being a valiant doctor, saving lives and being as sparkly eyed as Dick Van Dyke on meds, others can fulfil their deliciously evil ambitions by testing out experimental medication on their patients, presumably with some nasty yet-to-be-revealed side-effects.

Firefighters can tackle blazes and after effects of earthquakes (a touch of Sim City creeping in here!) or choose to smash everything in their victim’s homes with an axe…hey, they were going to claim on the insurance anyway, so you may as well have fun.  Investigators can follow clues to solve dozens of cases and can either sweet talk their sources or duff them up in dark alleys to get the information that they require.  Crumpled Fedoras and chewed matchsticks on standby.

As for one of the most buzz-creating reveals so far, for those desperate to don a boiler suit and live out their Peter Venkman fantasies, there is a ghost-busting career just waiting for you to bring your tools and talent to the fore, hunting down vengeful spirits and making sure that any flowers are still standing.

Play out your fantasies as Venkman and co... just make sure to keep "dickless" away from the oversized power switch!

Aside from the more dramatic careers, players can opt for their Sim to be an inventor, creating brilliant or destructive gadgets, or a mellow sculptor, producing breathtaking masterpieces which can then be sold for profit.  For the artistically minded, the stylist and tattoo systems allow players to make over their miserable neighbours, bringing them to either the cutting edge of fashion heaven, or for the more sadistically minded, sending them plunging off the precipice into fashion hell.  Fancy a neighbourhood of green mohawked leather lovers?…it can be yours.

For those who haven’t dared to wet their feet with the powerful ‘Create A World’ tool which is free from the site, several elements have been included in this expansion, namely the ability to change the look and feel of the town, adding or changing lots with Build/Buy tools, and placing sundry decorative objects.

Ultimately, the game with its raft of new careers, jobs, and customisation options presents the ability to be as good or bad as a gamer’s heart desires, while filling in a hole that has long bothered Sims players the world over.  Let’s just hope that it eliminates those frustrating ‘rabbit holes’ that Sims disappear into while at work, leaving players staring at the shell of a building checking their watches while the Sims go about their business or snooze in odd cupboards.

As one of the resident Sims players here at Gaming Lives, I contacted EA with a few quick questions, particularly with regards to the expansion’s integration with the current game and careers:

With the promise of more immersive career gameplay, it will be interesting to see how it will be integrated, for example, when a Sim goes to work in the morning, it would be interesting to know if the expansion elements kick in as they pull away in the car, allowing the player to play from there, or whether  it is  an almost ‘stand-alone’ format,  similar to World Adventures.  Grant Rodiek from EA had this to say:

Nobody ever said that a home brewery was going to be easy!

“In The Sims 3 Ambitions, you control your Sim the entire time they are at work! There is a large variety of careers to choose from including investigator, personal stylist, firefighter, ghost hunter, architect, doctor and more! To give an example of how these new career options work, we’ll use the firefighter: During the day your Sim will be at the fire station.  Between emergencies your Sim can improve their career performance by working out, befriending fellow firefighters and maintaining the equipment at the station.  However, there will be emergencies like fires or even earthquakes and when this occurs your Sim needs to get to the scene of the emergency quickly and resolve it.  This ranges from putting out simple fires to saving multiple Sims, clearing rubble piles and dousing huge infernos with a special hose.”

According to Grant, “…each career will have its own set of tasks associated with it and this is just one example of the many jobs to choose from in The Sims 3: Ambitions.”

With Sims 2′s popular ‘Open For Business’ expansion being  top of many fans’ want list for Sims 3, being able to own an run a variety of retail led businesses would be a wonderful feature, especially given the open world nature of Sims 3, as opposed to the loading screens which somewhat hamstrung Sims 2.  After chatting to EA, it appears that while these features sadly won’t be available, there should be enough to keep career minded gamers happy.

“The focus of ‘Open for Business’ was creating and managing a retail establishment.  The Sims 3: Ambitions is more about your Sim’s personal venture.  Each career presents a unique experience.  Firefighters need to develop relationships and maintain their equipment while at the firehouse, but as soon as that alarm rings they need to get to the fire, clear rubble piles, carry out children, stop gas leaks, put out the flames, and be the hero.  Your town may fall victim to small fires, huge infernos, and even earthquakes.  Stylists will be hired by neighbours to offer fashion advice and provide partial or complete makeovers.  You can choose to make Sims look really good or just terrible. It’s a lot of power to put in the hands of our more deviant players, but the ability to give the entire town a facelift is fantastic. And profitable!”

“Investigators will have cases to solve by any means necessary. Investigators are great for our more deviant players. For example, if you need information you can bribe a Sim, convince them to give your Sim the information, or even beat them up.  You can break into homes for clues, or other nefarious purposes like stealing their items for “evidence.” Many cases have a lot of humour within them – some “Sims Noir” so there will still be lots of laughs.”

Bring me a pocket protector, STAT!

One of the big concerns was the question of what will happen to the current jobs and careers of everyone’s Sims.  For those who have already picked out a path, it would be interesting to know if and how these will be expanded upon, but perhaps more importantly, the big question doing the rounds is whether or not the ‘rabbit holes’ are still present.  While this was still a little unclear, it sees that there has been much that has been expanded upon.

“There are some careers from The Sims 3 that will be enhanced with The Sims 3: Ambitions.  The new doctor career takes the medical career from The Sims 3 and adds new tasks for you to do outside the hospital.  This includes holding free health clinics, inoculating citizens, and dispersing questionably viable medication to the community.”

Rather interestingly, Grant also mentions a new option for those job loners who prefer to collect and sell gems or home grown produce or even catch fish for a living:

“We’ve implemented something we call “Skill Careers” so that players who have Sims who are fishermen, inventors, writers, and more can now register as self-employed at City Hall.  We’ve added the consignment store venue in town so that players who create things like paintings or find things like jewels can earn a profit and take advantage of their Sims’ entrepreneurial spirits.”

And for those players who like their Sims to have a fat property portfolio to keep the riches rolling in while they potter around in their underwear, playing computer games, the real-estate system has been given a makeover:

“Finally, we did an overhaul on the real estate system that lets you purchase community buildings.  Now, you can purchase any community lot in the game, then customise and upgrade them to earn Simoleons long-term. There is something for everyone!”

It's too cool to only mention once... you can be a GHOST HUNTER! Here we see Solid Snake (in a skirt) being captured...

Quite a lot for one expansion and some interesting features to look forward to it would seem.  Ever since I became immersed in playing Sims 2, years ago, fans have clamoured for a way to play their Sims at work, guiding them through their daily slog, making decisions on the fly, and playing an active role in that previously hidden element of their Sims’ lives.  It seems, that after all this time, EA have served up exactly what they wanted, with a healthy dose of ‘and then some’ for good measure.

While it isn’t exactly what I had personally hoped for, the more I read about it, the more intrigued I become I am sure that once I delve in and rummage around, my disappointment will vaporise.  After all, I have half of what I wanted and the ability to be entirely evil in my choices, so I’ll be getting my pre-order in with whatever retail outlet offers the best unlockables or collector’s edition gubbins.

In the meantime, I’ll be trying to glean as much as possible about this release and eyeballing the calendar until early June.  Now, how about some more Sim deaths while we wait?

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  1. [...] = 'simprograms';Lorna from Gaming Lives contacted EA for a few more juicy details on the upcoming expansion pack, The Sims 3 Ambitions.  [...]

  2. [...] da Gaming Lives contactou a EA para mais alguns detalhes sobre The Sims 3 Ambitions, e nós do SimsDomination [...]

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  4. [...] Sims 3: Ambitions – Revealed – Gaming Lives [...]

  5. Pete says:

    First! lol

    I’ve never really got on with the Sims…. I did have it on my old eMac and iBook but got bored with it after a while!! Creating new buildings and stuff was fun but the whole semi-real-time watching them living their lives didn’t grab me :)

    Had it for the old PS2 as well but that was so limited compared to the Mac (and PC) version it was disappointing even to me who didn’t really like it!

    Having said that, being able to take on a career of Ghost Hunter…..LOVE IT!! :D

    Still not sure it’s enough for me to go buy it though….. even if Colossus could handle it!! ;)

  6. [...] did with World Adventures but it’s all up to luck i’m afraid. Make sure you check out Gaming Lives piece. I’ll collaborate the new facts onto the features page. Rather interestingly, Grant also [...]

  7. [...] did with World Adventures but it’s all up to luck i’m afraid. Make sure you check out Gaming Lives piece. I’ll collaborate the new facts onto the features page. Rather interestingly, Grant also [...]

  8. The idea of playing with the popularity, good and evil, and the surprising inclusion of professions, such as Ghostbusters make The Sims 3: Ambitions a title too to take into account the saga lovers.
    Cant wait for june 2010…

  9. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I can totally relate to what Pete said… I wasn’t overly keen on The Sims, but really enjoyed Sims 2 for quite a prolonged period of time. I was more enthusiastic over playing Open For Business than I was Sims Uni… but ended up enjoying the Uni more than Business. I did what I’d set out to do – create an arcade as an extension to my house, charged people entry and even had a few machines for sale (shame there was no Mach 3 or Firefox!) but the constant juggling and monitoring was just getting to the point where all I was doing was watching these people convince customers to buy arcade machines… and I was going nothing else.

    Ultimately, I stopped playing Business and sent another sim to Uni to spend some more time in the more enjoyable atmosphere of the learning establishment… hazing, drinking a lot, studying, drinking more, having sex, drinking, drinking whilst having sex… it was fun. Oh yeah and started a band too, that was awesome. I called them “SIMple Mines”. Only ever did one good song, “(Don’t You) Forget About Peeing”.

    What I really REALLY love about Sims 2 though, and hopefully Sims 3 if what Lorna’s told me already is anything to go by, is that building period. When life for your Sim grinds to a halt and you go into a sort of bullet time… everything ceases to move forward while you wave your godlike cursor around… building mansions, rooftop swimming pools, bowling alleys surrounding a raised ice rink… you name it, I tried it. I ended up spending more time just building than anything else… then I’d let my Sims see the new building, roll my eyes at their lack of appreciation… and demolish everything, placing them in a shack with mustard walls and an avocado bathroom suite.

    My new gaming PC will be SO happy to play Sims 3 though, I know it. Well done on the scoop Ms, I may let you play with my Ghost Hunter costume ;)

  10. I hope we could also display our gems in that venue store too like in the Gallery…

  11. Rook says:

    I’ve never played The Sims, and don’t see that changing. I have trouble getting myself to do stuff that trying to influence the life of a Sim would result in some sort of SIMocide.

    Well done on getting in contact with EA peeps to get information to add to your article, and super well done on getting it picked up by so many sites.

    You certainly show us what the writing business is all about.

  12. I can’t wait until this expansion comes out, I love playing the sims!
    I wish the expansions would come out faster -I know it takes time to make the games good, im only saying I wish!!! I reallllllly want more stuff packs haha I’m such a sims addict!! :D

  13. Lorna Lorna says:

    I know what you mean, Tahlia! Six months between expansions seems like far too long…getting trinkets from the Sims store is like trying to live on hors d’ oeuvres.

  14. Amanda says:

    i hope the consignment stores are not rabbit holes. it would be cool if sims can walk into the store and leave their goods at the store for sale.

  15. Boss says:

    This is ridiculous. All these ppl who never played sims and dont like the sims shouldnt be up there. This page is clearly for sims fans or just for people who are fairly fond of sims.

    I am an extreme sims fan out there searching and buying every expansion that was released. Me and my sister teamed up so that we could get as many games togerther so that was a big help. I cant wait till this game. I first found out about this game from my sister. I went searching for days about information on the release. Originally, i heard it was in the summer. After searching, i finally found that it was being released in june which made me so optimistic looking forward to everyday that passed by.

    I know i sound like one of those people who sit at home all day and do nothing but play this game, but i am not. Also, I really miss sims 2: uni and seasons. they were awesome. I lvoed going out in the fall raking up those leave or playing in the snow if the winter. I always loved business. Open for business was the perfect pack. I loved the fact that i could open up my own store.

  16. Lorna Lorna says:

    If you are referring to the comments in your opening paragraph, then I’m afraid I strongly disagree. This page is absolutely not just for people who like or play Sims, it is open to anyone with an opinion, just as it should be. There are no articles on the site which are geared towards ‘fans only’ or which prohibits any other gamer from commenting constructively.

    GamingLives doesn’t restrict people from commenting just because they have something negative or contrary to say – that is a disturbing attitude to take. Whether people play Sims regularly or not (and at the moment, I am not one of them) and/or can see and point out the flaws, or even dislike one of the games for whatever reason, then they should be free to say so.

  17. june says:

    i love all the sims but i have to say i got bored with sims 3 very quickly i was disapointed that u could not go into some of the buildings on the community lots, hopefully in the future the creators will sort this out!! and come on we need appartment life back again. and also more people moving into the towns!!

  18. Lorna Lorna says:

    I’m with you there June…Sims 3 got very boring alarmingly fast. I missed having the wealth of expansion packs from Sims 2 and was pretty much twiddling my thumbs after a few measly hours. World Adventures wasn’t a ‘proper’ expansion in the usual sense which is why I have higher hopes for Ambitions, though I am still disappointed that it isn’t more retail driven…most of the careers on offer in Ambitions are of little or no interest to me. Still, we shall see if the rabbit holes open up…fingers crossed.

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