Humanity Is So Last-Gen: The Sims 4 Announced

By Ben Barrett on August 20th, 2013 at 5:30 pm.

EA have decided it’s time to hit the reset button on their DLC sales machine long running franchise with the official announcement of The Sims 4. The big plays this time around are focused on the titular little beggars themselves, promising “these Sims have evolved into beings whose every action is informed and affected by interactions and emotional states.” Creepier still we’re gifted with enhanced “ability to affect the mind, body and heart” of the poor dears. The promise of never before seen godhood over ever more realistic humans is mighty tempting, I’ll admit. Trailer after you’ve drowned in the pool with no ladder.

And if you truly, boastfully loathe yourself there’s also this live-action gem alongside. I’d embed but I’m worried I’d never scrape away the shame.

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77 Comments »

  1. dE says:

    I kinda like the Sims. There, I admitted it. The wife loves it too but the whole decision about purchasing 4 will depend on one singular aspect: Multiple families in the same city, at the same time, without having to bypass, hack and mess around so much.

    /edit:
    Added the kinda important part. You could have different families in Sims 3, but getting them to interact in the same city was a real nightmare, unintended on their side and bugged a lot.

    • sinister agent says:

      There’s nothing wrong with the sims apart from the skinflint way EA milk it, and their habit of reusing wonky code. They’re fun games, dangerously so in fact. And though I’m loathe to encourage the sloppiness, some of my most memorable experiences of playing the Sims 2 were when unexpected bugs caused all manner of creepy shit.

      F’instance, the time my lot had a house party, and halfway through a police car pulled up and a woman got out and rang the doorbell. My avatar went to answer it, and when the door opened, the police woman stood there silently for a moment, then slowly faded into nothing. Then there are those times in the middle of the night, with the house eerily quiet but for the slight wind and strange hums and clicks of the fridge, when some dead-eyed automaton will wander up beside your house and peer at your son through the window as he sleeps on the sofa.

      Or when two people get into a jacuzzi and become irrevocably frozen in place until they starve to death, the water forever bubbling around their motionless corpses, which are surely now nothing but bones from the waist down. Then there are the times that the teddy bear floats around the house, its jaw flapping noiselessly as you instruct your character to mourn her lost lover of several years ago, which prompts nothing but an indifferent shrug from the whole house. You are forgotten, but the teddy bear still sees. The teddy bear sees all.

      And those babies… brrr.

      • SayNoToDRM says:

        The Sims 3 is a broken mess, made bearable with AwesomeMod, NRaas MasterController and the overall dedication of the modding community. I can reel off a long list of bugs that every subsequent patch has brought in, but I’ll just stop at the endless running, the broken lighting, the misplaced Ambitions lots in vanilla towns and the godawful attraction system that saw my sim form a relationship with 200 other sims (including NPCs) all whilst she was asleep in bed. On the first day of her existence.

      • MadJax says:

        To be honest, Sims is one of my guilty pleasures during the slow gaming months. However I wish EA would actually attempt to fix the bloody things BEFORE they throw out cash cow #737656735 which breaks even more of each game.

      • squareking says:

        I’ve never once had the desire to play a Sims game, but this…this makes me want you to start a new Lonely as a Mushroom Cloud story.

        • sinister agent says:

          Heh, thanks, but it’s not likely. I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s a dangerous game.

          In fact it’s the first one I did a diary sort of thing, back in my livejournal days (shhhh, no-one must know. Nobody reads RPS anyway, so we’re safe here), and it was tremendous fun, but even more never-ending than Ymelda is turning out to be (seriously, I have SO MUCH to get through, the sheer volume of images to sort through is an obstacle in itself), due to the utterly open nature of the game. Past a certain point, you effectively have endless money, which leaves you endless free time with which to make your sims happy. Make your sims happy and they can literally live forever.

          They are very compulsive games, in a similar category to Minecraft for me, labelled “will take over life”.

          I can link you to the piece that inspired me to buy it though, if that helps. It’s rather excellent: It is here.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      What the others said. Nothing to be ashamed of! The Sims is great, if a bit abused by its leaseholders. I loved The Sims 1 & 2, and what they’ve done for gaming, like bring in a ton of female gamers for one thing.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I love The Sims. Also Animal Crossing. Because they’re good games.

    • The Random One says:

      I liked the first one, but there was nothing that made me want to buy the others. Tough I might try 3 since I have it from that bundle.

    • Banana_Republic says:

      Nothing wrong with that. I was a Sims fan way back when Maxis ACTUALLY had creative control over it. Unfortunately, Sims 3 left me tasting ashes after the way EA monetized the holy hell out of it. There were other problems with the game and with EA at the time too, mostly related to bugs and tech support (or lack thereof), which brought me to swearing off the franchise along with EA for good. I’d always loved Maxis so it was sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful game series, but I’d also loathed EA for a long time too, which made it much, much easier to cut those ties permanently.

      EA, die in a fire. Die in a fire and then burn in hell forever you bastards.

      /mopsbrow

      Bastards.

    • Leb says:

      I used to have an awesome time with Sims 2 + community creations

      Have gotten 3 in the recent origin humble bundle but I’m scared it’ll taint my good experiences

    • laijka says:

      No shame in that. The SIms are fun games. It’s the having to buy the same DLCs/expansions all over again that sucks.

  2. Synesthesia says:

    The sims can get enjoyable, sucks about the dlc rain.
    I remember reading some blog about a small social experiment with a very cranky old man, which was hilarious. There were this close-up screenshots, wher ehe put his angry face, it was kind of hilarious. Anyone know what i´m talking about? I want to know where that went.

    • Brayduck says:

      I don’t know if this is what you ment, but…

      http://aliceandkev.wordpress.com/

      A really great story, set in Sims 3.

    • katinkabot says:

      I love the The Sims. The problem that I’ve always had with them is that the simulation and their interactions weren’t deep enough so the “stories” you create can only really evolve around soap opera level of friendship, romance, enemy. There are some interesting things you can do now but only because of the supernatural stuff that they’ve added into the game so it’s more absurd than it is actually meaningful . I wish the interactions were more intricate i.e. the simulation recognized race, sexual preference, employment status, education, wealth etc etc. All the things that we use(consciously or sub-consciously) to interact with people in the real world. That would be a lot of fun and could generate a lot of intresting gameplay stories.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I suppose the problem is that you’re modelling human interactions, which are hugely difficult to capture in code. I’m unsure that EA could sell race wars to the market for the Sims, but I agree that there’s a lot of work to be done to capture a human’s desires and motivations. It’s fascinating hearing how the AI design worked, though – I was lucky enough to see a talk by Richard Evans a couple of years ago on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Evans_%28AI_researcher%29

      • Synesthesia says:

        oof, yes. Something a la dwarf fortress for human interactions would be awesome. Like that one dwarf who went on a killing frenzy, while on fire. Also, yes! It was that one! I have something to do at work now. Thanks for the answers!

  3. Gap Gen says:

    I’d love to see the simulation of humans in RPGs, where you can interact with large sections of the population realistically without the need for scripted interactions, or even strategy games where you can goad hot-headed generals into foolish attacks, or manipulate fellow politicians and diplomats.

  4. morgofborg says:

    Maxis will not get $1 from me till SimCity gets the offline patch.
    It was a rather weak game I don’t intend to play again online or off, but I want them to take some responsibility for the lies they spun around it.

  5. Talon2000uk says:

    A game where you manipulate a persons emotional state and this game is a huge seller with women? EA really do know its target demographic. I kid, I kid. :D

  6. povu says:

    Could be really fun. Don’t screw this up, EA.

  7. TaylanK says:

    Will it still take an hour to get out of bed and walk downstairs for coffee?

    • povu says:

      Sounds like me during weekends.

    • Bhazor says:

      The speed of time is something The Sims has never got right. Three hour showers, 40 minutes to make and eat a side salad. It was worst in Sims 3 where you had to factor in commuting time. So popping down the shops took up six hours.

      • Morlock says:

        Interesting. The way time is handled is what killed Sims 1 for me. I haven’t touched any Sims game since but was considering playing Sims 3 which I got off the EA humble bundle.

      • katinkabot says:

        Yeah. Time has always been really batty. I noticed one time it took my sim 2 hours to walk from the backyard to the bathoom of a one bathroom, one floor house. I laughed.

      • sharkh20 says:

        Had the same problem with SimCity (among many other things). In the Sims, there would be things that are done in real time such as actually moving around while everything else is on a sped up cycle. It doesn’t give you enough time off to do anything with your character. Wake up, bathroom and eat food for 3 hours, go to work, come home, bathroom and eat food for 3 hours, sleep. SimCity had the same thing where sims would go to work or school in sped up time, but traffic was all done in normal time so they would never get there. By the time they did (if they did) it would be time to leave.

    • Tayh says:

      That’s when you install the Relativity mod (http://nraas.wikispaces.com/Relativity) which allows you to tweak how fast time is running, amongst other things.

  8. Bhazor says:

    I just hope they get rid of the fiddliness of The Sims 3. The amount of inventory juggling and the hassle of buying individual ingredients just got in the way of managing my little soap opera.

  9. Zaxwerks says:

    Well I thoroughly enjoy The Sims 3, and whilst I understand if they tried to put the content of all the DLCs into the base package the development time for the base package would be huge, but I hope the vanilla experience is not tooooo vanilla. I hope we don’t get the same expansion themes over again. I hope they code things a lot better so that the game doesn’t turn into a jerky stuttering mess the more DLC you install. And most important of all I hope there are NO MORE RABBIT HOLE LOCATIONS.

    I have spoken. EA make it so.

  10. TheInsider64 says:

    If Ollie gets too depressed, does he get a life wish to buy a rope :D?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I remember my sister got Creatures 2 for her birthday, and was incredibly depressed that none of her Norns would eat, and repeatedly starved to death.

  11. RedViv says:

    Okay, but this time don’t go away to make a game that really nobody quite asked for, leaving behind another less experienced part of the team to make expansions, and then return to find that even two multi-person cooking units can ruin a perfectly good tea. I detest when that happens. One time they used no sweetening liquorice and I hated it!


    What was I talking about?

  12. stahlwerk says:

    Okay, it has violins, but is sax confirmed?

  13. Mctittles says:

    What always surprises me about this game is that even though it’s consistently one of the top selling games of all time, no one has really made a hard effort to clone it. Every other top selling genre gets clones, so why not this one?

    • pilouuuu says:

      That’s right. I remember Singles 1 & 2 and Seven Sins and that’s about it.
      There should be some competition so EA doesn’t get as lazy as they did with The Sims 3 which was basically a rehash of The Sims 2.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        The problem I had with a lot of The Sims clones is that they all seemed to be sex-games or heavily based around sex. I don’t want a Horny Sims game, I want a competitor to the actual The Sims series.

        As to why there has not been a competitor, I can only speculate that it’s because, creating a game like The Sims from scratch has to be a coding and asset creation nightmare and probably would be very expensive. That said, I still wish someone would do it. There’s, obviously, a huge market for this kind of game and there really is zero in the ways of credible competition.

    • RedViv says:

      I attribute such things happening to a genre to its tending towards a casually hardcore nature. Meaning that the players of it could be considered truly hardcore, pressing whatever juice they can from the game, but do consume casually on and off. Which means they really only need The One Game.
      Similarly happened to RTS games, or in the wide management sector. Paradox-developed titles might count too. They similarly rely on providing more flavour and raw game to a single title over time, and are really doing well with that business and design model.

  14. Reapy says:

    There it is, had a feeling Sims 4 was coming after the humble bundle with sims 3. Really neat tech for making the characters, would be interesting to use a table / touch screen to manipulate the characters.

    I hope they make it easier to focus on messing with characters and managing these emotion states / relationships rather than managing the falling bars of peeing/collapsing on the floor. Also would be nice to add more complex relationships than were in sims 3.

    I still think it’s a cool product line, I hope they are building onto it rather than superficially moving it forward.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I had a feeling the Sims 4 was coming back when they announced it in May. ;)

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/05/07/the-sims-4-to-be-the-fourth-sims-game/

    • Hyomoto says:

      I disagree, that isn’t the core flaw of the sims, in fact it’s what made it interesting to begin with. The only reason those bars are such a trouble is because it takes your sim a half hour to get outside just to get to work. And that date you wanted them to go on? Well, you’d have been on time if their roommate hadn’t been in there and it took them two hours to sort out their confusion.

      They just need to adjust the timescale and allow the sims to more easily traverse the world, as well as deal with situations is a much more timely fashion. I don’t see why two people meeting in the hall requires an hour for them to maneuver around one another.

  15. Kohlrabi says:

    In a game focused on emotions, persons and furniture, shouldn’t the character models, clothes, faces and furniture have a little more detail? I realize that this kind of game doesn’t need Crysis-grade graphics, but a bit more detail where it matters would be nice.

    Though I realize increasing the fidelity will make all user-generated content look shoddy in comparison.

    • katinkabot says:

      They did that in the The Sims 3 and the more they added to the game in terms of content the more it became a choppy, buggy mess – on amazing computers. They acknowledged that and indicated that they were sacraficing graphics for gameplay in the next iteration. There is so much going on underneath the hood that they have to give up somewhere.

    • Dark Malady says:

      I would like to interject with the sad fact that a large portion of the modding community really puts out far more attractive, usable content, sometimes even having lower poly counts than vanilla items while having dramatically increased detail.
      The Sims 1 was just about the only game i had in highschool… my copy of ages of empires having been sold off… where as the so long as you had the latest expansions disc the sims 1 would still run even if all the other discs had been sold by relatives.
      I self simmed until My sim started a relationship with the expy of my best friend and it was creepy… then I got the sims 2 and started to really power game it… I had tons of hand written notes, I knew all the cheats and debug commands by heart. It was a little insane really.

      Then the Sims 3 came out… I downloaded a… copy to see if it was as bad as I’d heard… and it was worse. the Build mode was Amazing… create-a-sim was ok… modded to hell and back it was amazing but in it’s vanilla state everyone looked moon-faced(Pudding!). and then the expansions and the damn sparkling in-game store button and the complete lack of polish and care meant I just… it made me sad man.
      So sad I can’t believe in the Sims 4, just as I wanted a new SimCIty and look what happened there… ugh.
      I would dearly love for somebody to come out with something even remotely similar to compete with them, to give us poor sods a choice, to make EA stand up and listen rather than shovel rushed out crap at us just because we’re fish in their barrel.

  16. timethor says:

    I’ve enjoyed all three Sims, but have always played them in a very “play to win” manner: optimize your life routines so you can reach the top of the career ladder, extend your house and buy the fancy pool and grand piano. All the relationship stuff always felt a bit creepy, pointless, and/or depressing (there you are behind your pc, commanding digital puppets (that you probably named after your friends, as this video also helpfully suggests..) to have sex… eh, no thanks)

    And maybe I’m just getting too good at it (compared to the 13 year old me who played the Sims 1) , but the Sims 3 didn’t feel like enough of a challenge in the “must succeed at career!”-sense. Or didn’t have enough expensive items that I could strive for (where was my grand piano?), at least not without buying $300 of DLC. I hope the Sims 4 doesn’t go even further in the “it’s all about relationships!” direction.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      My favorite part was always building. I liked building new night clubs for them to go to, new restaurants, etc. The maps on The Sims 3 were just too small to be able to add a bunch of custom buildings.

  17. Utsunomiya says:

    The Sims series really needs more murder and violence.

  18. Zombat says:

    Did anyone else notice he stabbed the voodoo doll in the crotch?

  19. pilouuuu says:

    I loved The Sims since the first game, but I think The Sims was pretty much a wasted opportunity. It was basically a rehash of The Sims 2 with an open neighbourhood. Shame that that neighbourhood was so empty and boring and that many small details were lost like sims getting into cars which instead now they just get teleported to cars or limited interactions in other age groups which are not young adults. Also there are no funny NPC like the bunny or the shrink.

    Also The Sims 3 engine was dated since the moment of release. I get the feeling the technology was not ready for such an open neighbourhood back then. Hopefully The Sims 4 is better optimized.

    What I really like about this game is that sims themselves seem to have better personalities.

  20. Geewhizbatman says:

    The way the camera zoomed into the photo of the girl riding an over-sized rocket through space when the man was being “flirty” made me surprisingly uncomfortable….

    • timethor says:

      And for extra effect the commentator also made a few jokes about the girl wanting to see the guys rocket.

      I always saw the Sims as an “innocent” game suitable for my hypothetical pre-teen daughter. While she wouldn’t get any rocket-based jokes, and probably wouldn’t see this trailer in the first place, it is a bit uncomfortable. Some of the actions/animations in the Sims 3 were also already quite sexualized by the way. Seems the game is more aiming at teens and up, instead of young kids.

      (edit: seems the sims 3 is actually rated Teen by the ESRB, so that makes sense -_-)

  21. ffordesoon says:

    But the important question is how horrible we can make our Sims’ lives. Sadly, no trailer wil make that clear.

  22. Didden says:

    I wonder if they played with the EVE Character Creator… oh yes… yes they totally did.

  23. Didden says:

    Its a boy meets girl meets voodoo doll world I guess.

  24. Rao Dao Zao says:

    It’s not just called “The Sims”?

    This’ll be awfully confusing.

    • Panda Powered says:

      They could at least be hip and name it ‘Th4 Sims’ or ‘The SIVms’. I was disappointed that the third wasn’t named ‘The SIIIms’.

  25. quietone says:

    I kept playing every Sims version merely because I yearn for the love I had for “Little Computer People” back in my C64.

    None of them were at LCP’s level. So I give up after playing a couple of times and wait for the next version.

  26. Kadayi says:

    Impressed with the character modeling they’ve introduced, and the moving rooms thing is long overdue, but need to see a bit more about the emotions things. I quite liked the traits system in 3, however my main criticism of it was that traits were fixed and there was no way that the personalities could evolve and change over time.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Yeah, the character modeling is a lot better. I think they did a really great job on the faces, especially. They look a lot more realistic.

  27. tumbleworld says:

    Two words: Sim City.

    Let’s see what degree of always-on DRM / stupid design / fudged “simulation” / other corner-cutting they’re trying to foist off on us before anything else, eh?

  28. Hyomoto says:

    I like the Sims in small doses, but the real question is are they going to fix the sim’s interaction with the world around them? The franchise has evolved but each expansion has added to the frustration of the game: sure we can be celebrities and scuba divers, but we can’t seem to use those stairs with a washing machine adjacent to the landing. If the sims can simply move freely about the world, pass each other in the halls without it taking forty minutes and don’t get stuck in weird places, I’m interested.

    For a game that generates such obscene amounts of revenue you’d think they could at least fix the fundamental flaws of the engine.

  29. Chiron says:

    There are going to be some truly fucked up lady Sims online within seconds of its release

  30. Jake says:

    Ok that was a dick move by Andre, clearly he must know about Ollie’s deep emotional problems, but voodoo?! That seems excessive. ‘Argh I hate Ollie and his voodoo, I better work out my frustrations on the bag’.

    One of these days Sofia will see Ollie for who he really is – a bi-polar voodoo astronaut.

  31. Leb says:

    Trailer had me at adjustable boob & butt sizes

  32. ShadowLeague says:

    Now people can finally get the ‘full’ Sims 3! You’ll still have to wait for the Sims 5 to get the whole Sims 4 game though.

  33. Megakoresh says:

    Pffft, same shit with more flair. I want an arcade mode or physics or action mode or direct vehicle control, being able to cook pancakes, zoom in behind the shoulder view and headshot a neighbour’s kid with them! Just something bloody NEW! See that? NEW? Look it up on wikipedia, woman, it’s a word your vocabulary is definitely missing.

  34. Sims-4 says:

    The Sims 4 trailer video is simply amazing to watch. I love the way the new creative and intuitive tools pay attention to details. I can’t wait to see how the so called ‘more expressive’ Sims will react during live play. I don’t know about other Sims 4 fans, but this trailer video has only made me more excited about the game!

  35. shrk says:

    I’m a fan of simulations, and the Sims series , and this trailer looks really promising!

    …Really reminds me of how promising the SimCity trailers looked!

  36. Tactmaster says:

    Those creative and intuitive controls certainly look intuitive and creative. I wonder if the sims themselves will be able to manoeuvre their environments intuitively rather than taking 2 in game hours to traverse a corridor.

    Intuitive.

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