The Sims 4 announced

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http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/new...

The Sims 4 web domain appears to have been registered by EA, with the game's unveiling expected on Monday (May 6).

The studio is holding a conference call tomorrow and has promised to make a major announcement related to the world-creation franchise, according to a NeoGAF forum post.

I'm interested but slightly nervous. The Sims: Medieval was sort of a disaster, and I'm not quite sure that EA understands what makes the franchise appealing. In Medieval and some of the expansions, they've attempted to add story elements, but they've made them very linear and almost at odds with the underlying emergent gameplay.

There's the usual cluster of EA concerns (always-on, micro-transactions, forced multi-player in a game that is inherently NOT multiplayer), but the actual gameplay is the most concerning bit as far as I'm concerned.

Does anyone know or have strong suspicions where most of the decisions for EA's games come from? From upon high(er management), the designers in the pit, focus groups, and so on?

For a series that is as long-lived as The Sims, or SimCity for that matter, and you could include games by other developer/publishers, it's going to be a changing thing as people leave and join, and the external factors change. I remember a few people being concerned when particular writers at Bioware left, even though it's a bloody huge studio. I guess when you get to that scale, it's hard to pick out the influence of individual people or external factors unless they're very strong, the project becomes a big huge average.

How fascinating it would have been to be in the Sims 4 management meetings during the SimCity servers fiasco.

All I want out of the Sims 4, is a difficulty setting. I want to be able to make life hard if I choose to. I know the Sims games are about simulation and creating the stories you want, but if I had to struggle to make a sim's life great, instead of struggling to make their lives horrible, there would be more immergent stories. Also, they need multiplayer. Sims Bustin' Out for PS2 was a great couch co-op Sims game that I'd still play today despite lacking all the new features. Wait... Did the other console releases have couch co-op?
/randomsimsrant

I get inexplicably minorly excited at Sims releases. It might just be for the first 48 hours of character creation and house building.

Delerat wrote:

I know the Sims games are about simulation

Wasn't this quite a point of contention in the SC5 thread?

Whatever else may or may not be true about this game, you can know one thing for sure: the design will be focused on extracting as much money from you as possible. All other considerations will be secondary.

I'd like to see bigger improvements than what we got in Sims 3. That isn't to say Sims 3 was bad, but compared to the giant leap in technology and features that Sims 2 was Sims 3 just didn't compare. I'd like to see the world change more around my Sim, so I feel less like I'm playing with an evolving doll in a static sandbox. Also AI improvements, as always, will be welcome.

I kind of hope this goes the way of Sims Medieval. We already have three huge Sims games with the same dozen expansion packs. Do we really need another? Guess that's up to the market.

Delerat wrote:

All I want out of the Sims 4, is a difficulty setting. I want to be able to make life hard if I choose to. I know the Sims games are about simulation and creating the stories you want, but if I had to struggle to make a sim's life great, instead of struggling to make their lives horrible, there would be more immergent stories. Also, they need multiplayer. Sims Bustin' Out for PS2 was a great couch co-op Sims game that I'd still play today despite lacking all the new features. Wait... Did the other console releases have couch co-op?
/randomsimsrant

I get inexplicably minorly excited at Sims releases. It might just be for the first 48 hours of character creation and house building.

Yeah, this is definitely the next step. Based on recent releases, I think they're worried about chasing off their more casual fan base with added complexity or difficulty. But without adding that difficulty/complexity, I think they're putting a cap on the appeal of the game.

The way they've been doing it in releases like World Adventures and Medieval is to include pre-baked, extremely linear storylines. These are sort of amusing, but are pretty much one-time deals, and don't add much to the base game. What they haven't done is added anything else like the Alien abduction and impregnation from the Sims 2. I have yet to see an event that completely took control away from the player in a way that wasn't just a temporary happiness or hygiene hit. The alien abduction was great because it often took a character who was very focused on something like scientific or career achievement and forced them to deal with something outside of those foci. It often caused a somewhat amusing My Two Dads scenario, where the asocial scientist and his wacky roomates were forced to deal with a weird alien baby. I suspect I'm very much in the minority on this one, because after the initial Sims 2 release, all of these experiences have been opt-in only. So maybe the market just doesn't like this kind of loss of control.

kazooka wrote:
Delerat wrote:

All I want out of the Sims 4, is a difficulty setting. I want to be able to make life hard if I choose to. I know the Sims games are about simulation and creating the stories you want, but if I had to struggle to make a sim's life great, instead of struggling to make their lives horrible, there would be more immergent stories. Also, they need multiplayer. Sims Bustin' Out for PS2 was a great couch co-op Sims game that I'd still play today despite lacking all the new features. Wait... Did the other console releases have couch co-op?
/randomsimsrant

I get inexplicably minorly excited at Sims releases. It might just be for the first 48 hours of character creation and house building.

Yeah, this is definitely the next step. Based on recent releases, I think they're worried about chasing off their more casual fan base with added complexity or difficulty. But without adding that difficulty/complexity, I think they're putting a cap on the appeal of the game.

The way they've been doing it in releases like World Adventures and Medieval is to include pre-baked, extremely linear storylines. These are sort of amusing, but are pretty much one-time deals, and don't add much to the base game. What they haven't done is added anything else like the Alien abduction and impregnation from the Sims 2. I have yet to see an event that completely took control away from the player in a way that wasn't just a temporary happiness or hygiene hit. The alien abduction was great because it often took a character who was very focused on something like scientific or career achievement and forced them to deal with something outside of those foci. It often caused a somewhat amusing My Two Dads scenario, where the asocial scientist and his wacky roomates were forced to deal with a weird alien baby. I suspect I'm very much in the minority on this one, because after the initial Sims 2 release, all of these experiences have been opt-in only. So maybe the market just doesn't like this kind of loss of control.

I don't see a lot of risk in adding choice though. The Sims already has quite a bit of customization in their options menu. A difficulty setting and check boxes for certain random events that default to easy and off would be nice. The only worry is that that content will go unseen to too many players.

kazooka wrote:

Yeah, this is definitely the next step. Based on recent releases, I think they're worried about chasing off their more casual fan base with added complexity or difficulty. But without adding that difficulty/complexity, I think they're putting a cap on the appeal of the game.

How can you say that when the franchise resets itself with every release? The release cycle is the following: release the same game as last time with marginal improvements and lift some minor ideas from the expansions. Then, spend the next 4 years re-releasing all the expansions from the past iteration with minor improvements and hope no one notices.

Prediction - neighborhood level interactions (like your sims attending selected events while you are offline) will "require" an always-on connection to EA servers. Innovation, you know. My guess is that you'll be able "join" a neighborhood populated by your friends, and interact with them to achieve coop goals (community gardens, maybe, or swim teams, or dance parties, something like that.)

Robear wrote:

Prediction - neighborhood level interactions (like your sims attending selected events while you are offline) will "require" an always-on connection to EA servers. Innovation, you know. My guess is that you'll be able "join" a neighborhood populated by your friends, and interact with them to achieve coop goals (community gardens, maybe, or swim teams, or dance parties, something like that.)

I feel like The Sims is a much more dangerous franchise to risk doing always online with, considering how it just went with Sim City, and the large established fan base of The Sims they don't want to scare off if there are issues.

Robear wrote:

Prediction - neighborhood level interactions (like your sims attending selected events while you are offline) will "require" an always-on connection to EA servers. Innovation, you know. My guess is that you'll be able "join" a neighborhood populated by your friends, and interact with them to achieve coop goals (community gardens, maybe, or swim teams, or dance parties, something like that.)

Has me wondering how big the relative audiences are of SimCity and The Sims, and if they just might make it to be scaled this time.

Delerat wrote:

I feel like The Sims is a much more dangerous franchise to risk doing always online with, considering how it just went with Sim City, and the large established fan base of The Sims they don't want to scare off if there are issues.

Well, the balance against that is what they gain by getting all those people onto their service. That said, while a potential TS4 has probably been in the works for a while now, I'd imagine the recent shakeups at EA and what happened with SC5 have made them all ultra-cautious over there. I'd like to think they'd learn from experience too.

Scratched wrote:

Next year: https://www.ea.com/news/maxis-unveil...

If Maxis is listed as the developer, does that mean they've finally merged "The Sims Studio" development team back into Maxis proper? Or are they just using Maxis as the publishing label?

Also, while I'm sure this was put into the release/announcement pipeline a long time back, I'm still amazed they're announcing this so close to SimCity 5's launch.

shoptroll wrote:

If Maxis is listed as the developer, does that mean they've finally merged "The Sims Studio" division back into Maxis proper? Or are they just using Maxis as the overall publishing division?

Brand name?

Post Edit fail. Disregard this one.

shoptroll wrote:
kazooka wrote:

Yeah, this is definitely the next step. Based on recent releases, I think they're worried about chasing off their more casual fan base with added complexity or difficulty. But without adding that difficulty/complexity, I think they're putting a cap on the appeal of the game.

How can you say that when the franchise resets itself with every release? The release cycle is the following: release the same game as last time with marginal improvements and lift some minor ideas from the expansions. Then, spend the next 4 years re-releasing all the expansions from the past iteration with minor improvements and hope no one notices.

We're really only talking about one release where the franchise only had a minor overhaul: The Sims 3. The Sims 2 included some pretty major changes, particularly in the graphics department. And Sims Medieval shows that they're at least thinking about different directions for the franchise.

Offline play: confirmed. Development is still in the hands of The Sims Studio.

Maxis and EA today announced that The Sims™ 4 is currently in development at The Sims Studio for release on PC and Mac in 2014. The Sims 4 celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience. The Sims 4 encourages players to personalize their world with new and intuitive tools while offering them the ability to effortlessly share their creativity with friends and fans.

The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world. Your continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world’s most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.

As a thank you for the support of the more than 30 million fans that share and discuss stories about The Sims across global social networks, we held a special VIP briefing this morning where several of the world’s top fans were amongst the first to hear the news about The Sims 4. They got to speak with the creative team for The Sims 4 and will have special access to the development team.

Malor wrote:

Whatever else may or may not be true about this game, you can know one thing for sure: the design will be focused on extracting as much money from you as possible. All other considerations will be secondary.

Oh. You're back. Great. The Simcity thread get too slow for you?

I am interested to see what they do with this, but not OMG excited. After the SimCity debacle (I've basically abandoned my 1 town), I have no interest to upgrade from 3 to 4.

The changes they made to The Sims 3 was what took me from liking the concept to liking the execution of the series, so personally I'm pumped to see what this version brings.

Budo wrote:

I am interested to see what they do with this, but not OMG excited. After the SimCity debacle (I've basically abandoned my 1 town), I have no interest to upgrade from 3 to 4.

Also, you don't want to drop another ~$450(steam store current prices) for the base game plus all the DLC.

Well some good news: It will be single player and offline.

Malor wrote:

Whatever else may or may not be true about this game, you can know one thing for sure: the design will be focused on extracting as much money from you as possible. All other considerations will be secondary.

Because charging money that people voluntarily pay for an entertainment product is the worst thing ever. Wait, no, it's not.

kuddles wrote:

The changes they made to The Sims 3 was what took me from liking the concept to liking the execution of the series, so personally I'm pumped to see what this version brings.

I'm pretty interested to see how this one turns out for much the same reasons. Very happy to see that the game is playable in offline single player too.

I remember that playthough I read about online where someone played as a homeless guy and his daughter. It was an excellent use of the simulation, and it almost convinced me to pick up a copy... then I saw the price of the game plus all DLC, heh!

Maybe if I get in on the ground floor with Sims 4 it won't seem so bad.

I did buy The Sims 3 early on. It was a fun game.

A couple of years later, one of the Steam sales had the game and the whole slew of add-ons for something like $40. I rebought it at that point, with 6 of the expansions and add-ons. I was chagrined to see that they have not fixed a large number of bugs in the base game, while they output a new expansion pack every 6 months. No matter, I got my money's worth.

With The Sims 4, I will definitely assume a more guarded wait-and-see approach. I really don't trust EA at this point. Hopefully, I'll be able to snatch TS4 with a pack or two for $40 by the time they convince me the waters are safe. If not, well, I always got my TS3 on Steam.

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