My personal opinion and remembering how each The Sims base game was received
I realised it is time to speak up about the latest controversies surrounding The Sims 4 and share with you what I think. I’ve been keeping quiet about the latest complaints about no toddlers/pools/open world for two reasons.
1) Really busy in Real Life.
2) I simply don’t know enough about the game to judge it fully. I try not to judge something unless I know the full story. Remember how many times you were judged unfairly in RL (especially job-hunters will know this feeling) – what I learned from that is to not do that to anyone/anything and instead try to understand the other person’s perspective.
Though, at this point in the year with the release date coming closer I would have thought we would know a lot more about The Sims 4 already!
Reasons for Decisions
They must have reasons for this especially for the blackout period of ~8 months of literally no news. Anything like this cannot be taken personally though, Electronic Arts/Maxis is a huge company with hundreds of experts in their fields working for it.
Talking to SimGurus on twitter, EA people at events, you realise how incredibly smart they are and how much respect they deserve. Every (game design) decision will most likely mean hours of design, debate, planning, frustrations, inspirations, everything. Some of the decisions EA makes might not make sense to us fans because they are done with a business perspective in mind. EA of course wants to make money and The Sims does do that for them, a lot. Before you complain about this, a company making money means they can hire people to make stuff and (unless they avoid it) pay taxes. My personal theory in life, I like other people paying taxes, means I can pay less ;).
Today I was accused of basically being a sell-out towards EA and that I would never be negative about them in case it meant I would lose whatever I have with them. I can assure you, I tell them when I don’t like something. I just try to understand the story behind the decision/reason first and in general it is hard for me to dislike something, [chemistry joke: glass is always full, please comment if you got it], I always see the positive side of things, it is my personality and I’m fine with that!
Also, The Sims game/community is a hobby for me, why would I ever let a hobby upset me so much that I would be mean to someone about something they’ve spent a lot of time on? In the last month I moved to another country, started a job and had to adjust to a whole new life, that is stressful enough as it is. Sims is not here to stress me out.
While I am writing this, I also wanted to take the time to discuss how The Sims evolved from the beginning and how hard it was each time to adjust to a new base game. And bare with me, I’m going to compare The Sims to fruit because I like fruit and it fits.
The Sims 1 is like a banana – sweet but plain
Way way back in the beginning, The Sims 1 was one of a kind, no other game compared to it. But if you look at it now. It is an incredibly difficult game.
Keeping your Sims happy is HARD, it surpasses challenging and goes to “I can’t remember how I played this without cheats”. Careers meant the Sim just left the lot, and came back the end of the day. Children didn’t age up (later this was slightly added and you could get adults, it doesn’t compare to how we know aging now). Everything in the game was quite robotic, however there were many career options including a ‘profession’ (superstar) and people had the best time building amazing houses.
I’ve spent countless hours on this game, I absolutely love(d) it. Next to it being a unique/wonderful game I personally think custom content made this game the success it was. It was easy (compared to nowadays) to make custom content and to download it, it was everywhere in the community. Naturally it is hard to know what would have happened with The Sims if we didn’t have custom content. Cannot change history.
The Sims 2 is like strawberries – awesome and sweet
The Sims 2 gave us aging up, wishes&fears, aspirations, a proper create a sim, better build mode with swatches and in general (imo) was a good update of the game. However, there were people that stayed with The Sims 1. I believe they stayed with it because custom content was easier to make and they enjoyed that part the most.
The Sims 2 introduced 3D meshes for new objects and clothes which requires a lot of skill to make. However the uproar of this game was quite silent, we didn’t have the means really (other than forum posts) to share our opinions, no social media and having your own blog wasn’t easy.
Again, I’ve spent countless hours on this game and think it is still awesome.
The Sims 3 is like kiwi – completely different than strawberries/bananas
Open worlds, Create a Style and personality traits are just some of the features The Sims 3 added.
It might be recent history but it seems to have already been forgotten, was The Sims 3 received well? 50/50 I think, I had a lot of friends who thought they lost control of their neighborhoods because of storytelling progression.
I remember that I wondered why base game did not have Hot Tubs or Pool Tables and your Sims can only have 1 single Lifetime Wish. In the Sims 2 once your Sim finished 1 aspiration, they could go to the next one.
With The Sims 3 I surpassed countless hours and went right to a shameful amount.
What will The Sims 4 be like? Watermelon? Passion Fruit? Mango? Apple?
So we will not have open world as we know it with The Sims 3, nor will we have create a style, pools or toddlers. We will have a build mode that looks so easy, even I can handle it. Create a Sim with push/pull technology (watch my words, every future rpg type game will copy that from The Sims 4), emotional gameplay and my personal favourite so far: aspirations can give you bonus traits and once you’ve done one aspiration you can move onto the next.
Many things I will have to see in person to tell you what I truly think about. But to ‘combat’ the lack of create a style, I really really hope for a maxis-made tool comparable to Bodyshop from The Sims 2.
All these games belong to the same family – The Sims franchise or fruits in RL ;), but each of them are completely different and wonderful on their own. I wrote short summaries, but I hope they give you perspective. A base game is not perfect, it will not have all the content you, I or the developers want. I’m including developers in this list because if you ask them about The Sims 3 (Expansion Packs) right now they will have answers about what they wanted to add to the game but couldn’t because of many reasons.
Final conclusion: EA/Maxis have made 3 versions of The Sims that I absolutely love and have played an insane amount of hours. They get my trust that I will enjoy The Sims 4 too.