Soon on TBS: a reality show where the best Sims players from around the world compete to show off their creations. Today EA announced a new series called The Sims Spark’d, which follows a fairly traditional reality format: the candidates are assigned a specific objective, and a panel of three experts will judge their creations, with $ 100,000 in prize money. The difference is that instead of designing a dress or to make an extravagant cake they will tell stories inside The Sims 4.
“Something that has always been so special for The Sims is the community and how well our players connect with each other to celebrate, share, collaborate and show what they have been able to do or share their stories “, Lyndsay Pearson, Executive Director of The Sims openness, tell The edge. “What we do with Spark’d is a really interesting evolution of that. It’s the same DNA, the same motivation. “
The four-episode series will begin on July 17. The episodes will be broadcast on TBS on Fridays and Saturdays, while an online version will be available to watch on BuzzFeedMonday’s “multiplayer” YouTube channel. There will be 12 candidates – EA says they are “familiar online personalities” – as well as a panel of famous judges. These include singer Tayla Parx, YouTube personality Kelsey Impicciche and game developer Dave Miotke, who worked on The Sims franchise for over a decade. Former American Idol competitor Rayvon Owen will be the host.
Pearson – an avowed reality TV junkie – compares the show’s structure to other creative competitions, like Top chef or Project track, where players are given a set of constraints and then judged on the creative way they handle them. She says that the idea behind the show was to present not only what is possible in The Sims but also how things are done, hoping to introduce a new audience to the game.
“There is an advantage in putting something that previously seemed unattainable into something as accessible as a TV show,” she explains. “It can seem intimidating if you don’t know a game like The Sims, and you’re going to see these people doing something amazing on YouTube. But by putting it in a format that introduces you to the people behind these creations, that introduces you to the smaller steps through the challenges and gives you an overview of how they approach them, I think that will break down some of these assumptions and some of these obstacles. ”
There will also be links to the game itself. From July 17, The Sims 4 will offer a series of in-game challenges directly linked to the show. The idea is to give those who have just learned the game an invitation to get started and build something, in the same way as watching someone on Cupcake Wars could inspire a spectator to cook. “I myself am a fan of a lot of reality TV, I watch baking shows in particular, and I love that in many of them, I say ‘I can go and have a cookie. Sure, ”says Pearson. “So what was that moment for The Sims? This is what we are working towards. The challenges of the game are props to trigger this creative moment. (The challenges will also be used to find new candidates for the second season.)
Pearson says the 12 candidates were chosen in part because they had an existing online presence, which would give their subscribers someone to search for at the start. But an important aspect was to find players who play the game in different ways – those who are good at building, creating characters or telling stories – in order to show the extent of what is possible in The Sims.
Watching people build virtual houses doesn’t necessarily look like the most compelling television – Pearson promises “it’s not just watching someone on the computer” – but she thinks the producers have found a way to value the creative side of the game in a way that is interesting to the average viewer. If glass blowing and gardening shows can become popular, why not The Sims?
“It’s not the same as watching something catch fire in a kitchen,” says Pearson. “But you get a lot of surprising drama from” Oh my God, how am I going to make this thing do what I want? And how will I do it in time? The creative process is always presented in a truly convincing way. “