EA has released a behind the scenes community blog detailing the Hair Salon experience released recently for The Sims FreePlay.
We sat down with The Sims FreePlay Producer, Joshua Birse, in Melbourne to learn more about the update. While Josh enjoyed his own hair experience, he shared where the team’s creative inspirations came from, and why they decided to do a Hair Salon event.
Why did you decide to do a Hair Salon experience in The Sims™ FreePlay?
One thing I know about our players is that they love hair! It’s super popular, and players love seeing what new and fresh styles we have on offer. However, in real-life it’s not just about the hair, it’s also about the lifestyle and experience that surrounds it. A new cut is not just about the end result, it’s about the whole experience!
We wanted to translate this experience in to the game and allow players to pamper their Sims and give them the full Hair Salon experience. To me, this is the natural expansion on a very popular fantasy in The Sims FreePlay.
How did you ensure the update was fresh and relevant within the fashion industry?
One of the best things about my job is the time I spend researching fashion, pop-culture and celebrity gossip. What’s even better is that I get to share this with people on the team. We have a number of EA Firemonkeys employees that are up to date with all the latest in fashion trends and celebrity sagas, so they’re always good to bounce ideas off of.
Social media (and the internet in general) is the melting pot of inspiration for themes and content. We work through these as a team and see what neat ideas we can come up with that can bring a new experience to the game. Once we have a pool of ideas that we think players would love, and an idea of how to build it, we collaborate with our Sims FreePlay community. They let us know if our ideas are on point, if they need a little more love, or occasionally if it’s not something they’re too keen on (hopefully not too often!).
What are some of the features players can expect in the Hair Salon experience?
“It’s not just hair, it’s a lifestyle” was our internal tagline for the update and we used this to guide the team into thinking big! We know players love hair, but what can we do to expand the fantasy? How do we go bigger and make it more than just hair?
The idea started with making a hairdressing community lot, which would be awesome – but what’s even better is giving players the flexibility to create and customize their own Hair Salon! The Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow event leverages the creativity of Build Mode and gives players all the bits and pieces they need to build their own Hair Salon studio. Oh, and a bunch of the latest hair trends of course.
What are some of the small details that The Sims FreePlay players will be excited about when they customize their Hair Salon?
The event allows players to collect all the necessary items to build their own salon, ranging from the smaller bespoke items like the product shelves, magazine rack and the waiting room seats to the larger iconic pieces such as the barber’s chair, hair dressing vanity and hair washing station (each with new actions). What’s awesome is that you can use anything else in Build Mode to customize your salon and make something truly unique.
How did you collaborate with other teams on this update?
The Fashionistas are a group in the EA Firemonkeys studio that are really into fashion and design. I use this team quite often to sources ideas and reference materials.
For the hair event I gave them the afternoon challenge: Give me the top 10 hair styles currently on trend.
We would then sit with the art and design team to work through which styles are artistically viable and how they fit into the game design.
I’m always surprised to learn what’s happening in the high fashion industry (there’s some crazy catwalk looks out there!) through to the subtleties of contemporary hair dressing. Such a fun job!
What was your favorite part of the development process?
Like in every update, I love seeing the development team getting excited about creating new content. Even though The Sims FreePlay has been in live service for five years now, the Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow event is a testament to how fresh, relevant and on trend our update content is. Our hair game is strong.