Available: November 2003
Best Price: n/a
Developer: RotoBee
Publisher: Koch Media

Interview by: James Kinnear

"SINGLES" is the latest life-sim game to put the lives of electronic human beings in to the gamer's hands. Koch Media are set to release the game later this year. Our own James Kinnear got the chance to talk to the development team about this upcoming love sim...

Hi there, and thanks for taking this opportunity to speak to us. Could you introduce yourself and explain your role in the development team?

Hello, I'm Dennis Franken. As manager of RotoBee, my duties are to take care of the everyday needs of the development team, like ordering coffee and pizza, planning the game and assigning new tasks, solving technical problems etc.

We haven't heard much about "SINGLES" yet, since it is still fairly early on. Could you give us a brief overview of what the game is all about?

The game invites players to enter the lives of Mike and Linda, as they apartment share in a busy European city. They start with a minimal budget, with which to purchase the necessities. The player must control both characters during the day, making breakfast, going to work, recreation, sleeping ? in general satisfying their everyday needs.

In addition, the goal is to develop a relationship between Mike and Linda, which is only possible if both are happy. What kind of relationship is up to the player, there are five different aspects: Romance, Friendship, Sex, Fun and also Trouble ? not doing the housework will cause friction!

With "SINGLES" described as a "life simulation", it sounds as if the game could be similar to The Sims. How similar is it, and was it an inspiration?

Yes, ?SINGLES? has been greatly inspired by ?The Sims?, which I believe is the first game of the new ?life simulation? genre.

Players will be able to relate easily to the everyday setting, but the main focus is the romantic relationship between the couple ? from friendship, to flirting, to intimacy and ?erotic? actions!!

How is the game played? Is "SINGLES" a mission-based game, or a freeform title?

The games premise is to create a strong and intimate relationship between Mike and Linda. This is divided into various different chapters. The player can also play freeform, creating their own story as time progresses.

The screenshots available look pretty impressive. What is "SINGLES" like graphically?

The surrounding for the characters was very important to us, in order to create a cosy, romantic atmosphere. We have used a feature called radiosity lighting, to give the game that ?soft focus? look and feel.

Both characters are extremely detailed, including a full range of realistic facial features. Over 30,000 polygons per character are used in the highest detail level, so you can zoom in close when they are talking or kissing each other. The game will also run smoothly on older computers, with less detail of course.

From what I've seen of the game so far, it looks as if it is set indoors. Is the player able to take the character outside?

The player can build a garden and take the characters outside, have them lying in the sun or swimming in a pool. The possibility to take them into the city and to different places might be something we consider in an expansion pack.

I've heard that you can play as either Mike or Linda? What are differences between the two characters?

There are 16 different characters to choose and customise, with completely different personalities and careers. The personality has an effect on their everyday needs, their favourite activities and the kind of relationship they prefer. So you can throw together the femme fatal with a best friend, or a charmer with the cute librarian, and see how things develop :-) its like your very own interactive ?Big Brother?.

Are they based on real people?

Definitively not! Any similarities to real people or celebrities are completely accidental. But the characters represent generic hero prototypes that often appear in movies or games, so everyone will find typical characters that they can identify with.

It looks like there are 3 main categories: Comfort, Social and Hygiene. Can you tell us about these?

The first graphical demo had a rather experimental G.U.I (Graphical User Interface) and colour style.

There are now 8 different personal needs like food, relaxation, sleep, fun, relationship, hygiene, room and libido for the player to manage.

Is there any building or designing involved, or does the player have more control over the characters?

You can easily build your own home, building new walls and rooms to your hearts content. You can buy furniture in three distinct styles, old wooden, colourful modern and very stylish designer. You can also choose different styles for the walls, floors and windows.

A unique feature will be the ?photo session? mode, where you can pose Mikes and Linda?s body easily with the mouse, make a photo and save the image to disk.

How does this game differ from other simulation games on the market? Are there any major differences?

?SINGLES? is different in that you can play a relationship between two characters. The game is also fairly ?adult? in nature so erotic scenes are also possible. The graphical style is also unique, as you can see from the screens.

With a release date set for the end of the year, roughly how far are you through completing the development of the game?

About 80%.

Are there likely to be any expansion packs or sequels released?

Yes! We have lots of ideas, but it's too early to say something.

If you could sum up the game in 3 words, what would you say?

Funny love simulation.