Rumor no more, The Sims are indeed going medieval in Spring 2011, shifting the series out of suburbia and into a fantasy-like world of castles, magic, intrigue, war, and romance. For the first time in The Sims franchise, the press release tells us, players of The Sims Medieval will have the opportunity to create their own heroes, take up quests, build their own castles, and take care of their own citizens as a ruler.
You'll be able to control a lot of people integral to of medieval life, King or Queen, pauper or Blacksmith, wizard, or even knight. You'll also be able to decide if you're down with controlling a small empire or a vast one, as the game promises to have some sort of system that allows you to conquer other in-game Sims civilizations via force or simple internal expansion.
While those ideas seem like dramatic departures, I think the fact that The Sims Medieval focuses more on a whole rather than the individual is the biggest. The press materials notes that the user/creation relationship might not be defined by sending Sims to the toilet or having them put out kitchen fires or exercising. You'll be expected to, instead, micro-task an entire kingdom by doing things like "healing the sick," trading, creating armor, or sending adventurous dudes on quests.
You'll also be able to switch from one Hero Sim--the controller avatar (user customizable)--to another, making it possible to play the whole board.
The hook, as always, seems to be in the individual narratives you'll be able to share with others. What will your kingdom be like? Barbaric? Pleasant? Will your knight be able to forge, as the press materials suggest, a legendary sword? Did you box in your queen and leave her to die in medieval bathroom because of that foxy lady who just moved in beyond ye' old road?
The Sims Medieval, as of this moment, is only a PC and Mac release. It's being developed by The Sims Studio.