One of the biggest names in music has partnered with one of the most successful video game franchises of all time.
Specifically, a Katy Perry-themed Collector's Edition of the game is now available for Windows PCs and Macs, featuring exclusive in-game items that celebrate the "California Gurl" and her colourful clothing, hairstyles, accessories and stage props.
Since 2000, Electronic Arts' The Sims games let players take control over the lives of little simulated people, including their love interests, career choices and home décor. More than 150 million copies of the games have been sold worldwide.
"I've always thought of myself as a cartoon, so I thought it wouldn't be so bad to be a Sim," said Perry, in a sit-down interview in Los Angeles. "I'm involved with 'The Sims' because it's pure fun, and creative."
"And you can change my hair colour even more than I do in real life," Perry adds, while flicking her blue 'do.
Along with downloading Perry as a playable character in The Sims 3 Showtime Katy Perry Collector's Edition ($40), gamers can also play her signature guitar, wear outfits and use stage props from 2011's sold-out "California Dreams" tour (yes, even the giant banana).
Requiring The Sims 3 ($30) to play, the "Showtime" expansion disc focuses on four performance-based careers — singer, DJ, magician and acrobat — each of which require the Sim to work their up from rags to riches. Perry says she likes the fact there are no shortcuts to achieving success in the game. "I started out playing at coffee shops and on the side of the street with my guitar case open, and that's how you start in 'The Sims'." "I don't think people should think success comes easy, on a silver platter, and in 'The Sims' it doesn't — you have to work for it," explains Perry.
And things will likely go wrong as Sims climb the ladder of success, be it a singer falling during a performance, a magician accidentally catching on fire or dissatisfied audience members tossing vegetables towards the stage.
A first for the series, "Showtime" gamers can send their Sim to friend's virtual neighbourhood, or vice-versa, and bring back items and experiences from the other person's game.
"Showtime" isn't Perry's first involvement with The Sims. The 27 year-old Santa Barbara native recorded a special version of her song, "Hot N Cold," for The Sims 2 in 2008. The song was sung in "Simlish," the gibberish language spoken by Sims, and went on to become a YouTube hit. Other video game collaborations include Ubisoft's Just Dance, played by partiers in Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" music video in 2011, while a year earlier Disney Mobile released a Katy Perry Revenge music game app for Apple devices.
"With anything I do, I'm involved to an annoying point; I'm a bit of a control freak [laughs]," says Perry, regarding her participation on "Showtime."
"Katy has been very involved throughout the creative process in developing the unique fashions, furniture, hairstyles, props and marketing materials together with The Sims Studio," says Corey Higgins, vice president of marketing on the game. "The end result truly celebrates her distinct personality and imagination and we think fans are going to love it."
Higgins says the partnership with Perry is the most "elaborate" in the franchise's 12-year history. "The pairing between The Sims and Katy Perry is the most elaborate and creative collaboration we've ever had with any artist or celebrity in the history of The Sims."
While not confirmed by Electronic Arts, Perry's involvement with "The Sims" could help expand the brand to female tweens and teens, though the video game franchise already skews more towards female players than males.
Even though Perry sings about throwing away her phone in the latest single "Part of Me," the pop princess says she considers herself quite tech-savvy. "I was always found on the Internet though MySpace, I've had a blog and I'm Twitter-savvy…if you don't adapt or adopt, you're going to miss the boat." Perry says there are video game systems on her tour bus.
Music, of course, remains her top priority, however. On March 27, a supersized version of her hit album "Teenage Dream" will be released. Dubbed "Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection," it will include all the original songs from the recording-breaking album, which produced five no. 1 hits -- a feat equal only to Michael Jackson's "Bad" -- but also features three new tracks, as well as remixes, an acoustic track and a 20-minute megamix "mash-up," says Perry.
"I felt like I had more to say on 'Teenage Dream,' plus I couldn't include all the songs I wanted to on the original record," says Perry, on the 19-track "Complete Confection." "And it's an opportunity for my fans to complete their song collection, too."
While she wouldn't reveal the name of the track, Perry said she was most excited about one of the new songs in particular. "I wrote and recorded it in only two days…I had to literally slap myself in the face while in the studio and tell myself to stay awake to finish it."
Perry was also secretive about a new song she was to record following our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, but strongly hinted it was for another collaboration with The Sims that will allow you to turn your world into "Candy-fornia," teases Perry.
Here are a few CNN clips of my interview with Katy Perry: