The Sims 4! As much as I try to stay at least a little bit on top of gaming news, this one went completely past me. I honestly have no idea how I could have missed the announcements: I have always been a huge fan of the Sims franchise, and I think since I am registered on their website I should be getting some kind of newsletter or something. Seriously, they send these out for everything, why not for this?
So here we have a first look at the gameplay of The Sims 4, which is due to arrive some time next year. It looks good, although not vastly different from the predecessor. This was already true of Sims 3 compared to 2, and I don’t think it matters much. The graphics are already as good as I’d expect them to be, really; there is a limit to how much a normal PC can handle with simulations, and if this restricts the graphic options, I think it’s fair enough.
I do like the character building – just clicking the face or the body sounds much more intuitive than using the sliders. Configuring the Sims’ voice is nothing new, but I like the idea with the walk. In Sims 3, the Sims already walked and behaved differently according to their traits, which made for some nice variety. If this increases, and becomes less clumsy, good.
The build mode looks awesome. I’m one of those interior design people – I love building and furnishing houses probably more than anything else in the game. So I’m really looking forward to that, and the changed they’re making seem smart and useful. I do hope they’re sticking with the pattern idea from Sims 3!
On to the emotions, the most important new feature. I find it interesting that this seems to me like the developers are reacting to what the fans have been doing with The Sims ever since the beginning: tell stories. Introducing emotional states is only one step up from the moods from The Sims 3. They were still crude and limited, and storytellers in the Sims Forums and everywhere else have always used a great deal of creative liberty to “interpret” their Sims’ “feelings”. People have complained about the trait system, a lot, and I’m curious whether that will remain in the game.
It will be interesting to see how the actual scripted emotions will “work”, and whether this creative liberty will no longer be needed. However, a lot of the game mechanics in Sims have always been a bit random and unpredictable, which lead to many, many weird and unwittingly hilarious situations. You know: people crying collectively in the street or something. I wonder if that’s true for Sims 4, too – imagine you were playing the violin at random anywhere you go, just to make an entire town depressed!
Hm, you know what? That actually sounds fun! Let’s see where they go with it. By now I am actually getting a little excited.