Matters Of The Heart: The Sims 4

By Adam Smith on June 12th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

The on-stage presentation for The Sims 4 at E3 was a sinister piece of work. Forget your survival horror games and your gore-tastic third-person monster-choppers, this is the most disturbing video shown at the entire event. It begins with simple marketing buzz-speak – “In previous games you controlled the mind and body of your Sims. In the Sims 4, for the first time, you control their hearts.” This is demonstrated by showing what look like canned animations linked to personality traits. So far, so Sims 3. Then, toward the end of the video, the presenter really takes control of a poor jock’s heart.

The Grim Reaper may have a tablet to make a note of the demise, but starting a presentation by bragging that you have control of a person’s heart and then driving them into cardiac arrest doesn’t seem particularly jolly.

I want to like The Sims 4 because there’s nothing else quite like the series and the simulation aspects of it are interesting. With a lot of nudging and creative thinking on the part of the player, there are emergent stories to discover, but the emphasis on ‘weird’ stories in this video is off-putting. The Sims started as a game about life in suburbia but it’s become a game about celebrities living next door to werewolves living next door to robots from the future. I want to create Coronation Street, not Sunset Beach.

While not quite at Fifa levels, there’s little evidence in what’s shown that the new features are any different to the old features.

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85 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge RedViv says:

    His poetry is so bad that it sent him spiralling into his own demise. I don’t know if that is better or worse than Vogon poetry. Certainly more subtle.

    • Premium User Badge Anthile says:

      Maybe he accidentally wrote The King in Yellow.

      • altum videtur says:

        You’d be surprised how easy it is to make that mistake.

        • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

          Eggs.
          Sugar.
          Bacon.
          In Carcosa.
          Flour.
          Salt.
          Apples.
          Lost Carcosa hey wait I only wanted to write a grocery message damn

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      His poetry was so bad that before he could try some of it it again his small intestine leapt up his neck and strangled his brain in a desperate effort to spare civilization.

  2. TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

    Well, the presentation was cringeworthy and i wanted to kill the dudette. Let’s forget about that.

    It all comes down to how much weight you’ll give to the emotion system which was better explained in the past, it will shake things up a big deal, probably, but it might end up annoying for some people.

    The creation tools are great though, both for the house and for the sim. That whole “tactile” feel though is not the only reason why the tool is more powerful for sim creation though, i think it comes down to better design in general and better modeling technology.

    You couldn’t do that with sliders in TS3, but mostly because the face gen sucked and everything looked far too plastic-y and stupid. We’re going back to TS2 style here, which is something i can totally endorse.

    I’m worried about CAS though, it seems that they want to skip it due to both performance reasons and the emotion system, which is affected by colors aswell.

    • tailzdru says:

      After the recent Assassin’s Creeds Bro-Gate incident are you sure it’s safe to direct any type of negative comments at any woman?

      Just saying…

      You could end up like the guy in the image above.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Actually, i had no idea about the implications of that term ( if that’s what you’re pointing out ), i just always liked how it sounds. Sorry about the misunderstanding.

        I’d still want to kill anyone who’d handle a presentation like that, female or male, even if honestly it’s not the presenter’s fault and more how EA handles this sort of stuff.

        • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

          It’s a stage enactment of how they do the other developer presentation videos. It translates awfully, yes.

        • tailzdru says:

          I was talking about you wanting to kill the dudette not the term dudette itself :)

      • GameCat says:

        “After the recent Assassin’s Creeds Bro-Gate incident are you sure it’s safe to direct any type of negative comments at any woman?”
        It’s perfectly safe, because there aren’t any female assassins that could kill him.

        *zing*

    • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

      >>Well, the presentation was cringeworthy and i wanted to kill the dudette.
      I’m sorry, but what the hell was wrong with the presenter herself again? Just watched the whole video to find anything annoying (and nothing was even remotely close to the ubi disaster), so please give me a reason for justifying those wasted 4 minutes of my free lazy time.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I felt the whole tone was stupid and aimed at idiots and i tunnelvisioned on the presenter regardless of gender, while in truth i should just blame EA for how they do their PR.

        I just didn’t like this particular show, it’s a simple as that. I didn’t mind other TS4 trailers, but this one felt dumber to me.

      • Stromko says:

        They tried to present incredibly staged footage as though it had anything to do with the game they’re marketing. That’s the worst crime it commits. What she’s showing is a teaser trailer, it doesn’t even resemble a Sims game except in visuals.

  3. SanguineAngel says:

    The header image is a wonderful thing.

  4. Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

    Is that Cara orating at the breakfast table?

    • Ross Angus says:

      Cannot unsee.

      • waltC says:

        That presentation was sick… Ugh. Hurl. Barf. Etc. The success of this software has amazed me since the first title shipped many years ago. It’s horrible–it’s unbelievably boring–it is so idiotic that “idiocy” pales in comparison. I had always pictured the main audience for this software to be ten-year-old girls who’d put Barbie aside to fire up their Sims. That is almost rational, but…

        I really do want to know…does this software actually appeal to anyone older than ten?….????

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          It appeals to me, and I’m a 40-year-old male. You have a problem with that?

  5. dE says:

    There’s only one thing I want from Sims 4:
    Re-implement multiple households in one city.

    I know it was possible to play different households in Sims 3, but the procedure was absolutely roundabout and buggy as all hell with inventory disappearing and random nonsense like that, because it wasn’t intended. My wife and me wanted to play in the same city, with different families. Couldn’t be done without constantly overwritting each other’s save, losing this or that in the process and similar shenanigans.
    If Sims 4 fixed that, that’d be great.

    • milton says:

      This and being able to make your own neighbourhood from scratch.

      It was incredibly difficult to make your own neighbourhood, requiring you to do a few workarounds to even get regular facilities which you couldn’t simply make yourself because the tools were not given to you.

      Instead you either had to canabilize a previous neighbourhood or actually settle in one.

      I hope Sims 4, even though that presentation was definitely creepy and awkward, manages to resolve the annoying issues of Sims 3.

      If it were to be absolutely fantastic no payments and no stupid shop microtransactions, and instead just gave all the expansions for free (a guy can dream right?).

      • Archonsod says:

        It didn’t require any workarounds to put the facilities in there, in fact EA regularly used to boast at how they utilised the in-game tools to create the content. What they didn’t do however was document them very well or make the interface easy to use, so it’s yet again a convoluted process to get anything done.

        In fact I think that’s probably my main complaint about Sims 3 – the interface wasn’t particularly great to start with, and quickly collapsed under it’s own weight once you added a few expansions in there.. Hopefully something they’ll sort out with the next one.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Theoretically this should be less of a problem now since you’ll never have the whole neighbourhood loaded at once, so the lives of sims outside of your family will not be creating that inevitably muddy sloggy experience when the neighbourhood has been going for a while, despite your not seeing them or interacting at all, requiring the game to drop “unimportant” information just to spare you that for the first ten or so hours.
      Bonus: Allows for visitable lots of all kinds since building interiors can just be streamed in when needed now. Slight drawback of possible loading times for bigger lots on less modern systems. But I’d vastly prefer that to the four minutes of waiting for a game to load in the 85% of the town I never visit.

      • dE says:

        That sounds like good news. Because that was some of the most fun we had with the older titles in the series.

      • socrate says:

        yeah the sluggish experience you got as the game went on was just horrible to a point were it was unplayable and buggy as hell…that said the sims 3 was horribly written tons of really poor decision and also overall bad engine

  6. Einhaender says:

    Never played the sims but basically you just build a house, create some people and then watch them right? You sit there and watch them do whatever their ai personality does right?

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      Well, you could and they’d probably wander about autonomously quite happily for a while. To actually get anywhere though you’ll need to order them to do your bidding.

    • hjarg says:

      Well, this sums it up pretty nicely: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/09/27/ad-infinitum

    • Turkey says:

      No. You lock them in a room with only a chair and you watch them pee all over the floor. Then you install a phone and watch the pizzaman wander around aimlessly cause the house doesn’t have a door. After a few days of sleeping on the pee-stained floor, your sim dies of starvation and dehydration and then you uninstall the game.

      • Premium User Badge particlese says:

        Or you could actually give the simulated creatures a chance at life and give them an outhouse with a convoluzed maze to the toilet and food near the entrance. Then watch them get lost in the maze, pee on the floor, die of indecision, and leave the game installed because your sister has so much more fun playing it. (And because she’s kinda the one who owns it.)

    • Premium User Badge Anthile says:

      It is a game about disproving the idea of god and how power corrodes the human heart.

  7. almostDead says:

    Love that dude’s expression

  8. Brinx says:

    They should just make this a game entirely about men. The extra effort to include female animations and voices is just not worth it. It’s a ressource better spent on the core elements of the game.

    • Premium User Badge tumbleworld says:

      The Ubibros.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Nah, won’t work. The core is heart, emotions. We all know mens have no emotions at all, which is why they do not need counselling or anything after killing thousands of other mens.

      • Premium User Badge particlese says:

        Yup. I even got a fortune cookie yesterday which read, “Emotion hinders your true self.” Fortune cookies never lie.

        • Berzee says:

          That’s not even a fortune. That’s, like, *advice*. Someone gave you an advice cookie.

          (my favorite Chinese restaurant also hands out advice cookies instead of fortune cookies and it is one of my most persistent pet peeves; come on, cookie, make a vague and wild prediction about my future for once!)

        • altum videtur says:

          I liked the one that said “The innocent are cut down with the guilty; the brave die beside the craven.”
          Made me chuckle.

          • Premium User Badge particlese says:

            Nice! And yeah, these things are totally advice cookies. They still manage to be excellent from time to time, though, even before the “in bed” is appended. My favorite is one I recently got from the same place as that other one, and it reads, “Enjoy yourself while you can.” I’m moving to another country soon. Definitely advice, but also interpretable as an amusingly sinister fortune!

    • ShatteredAwe says:

      Ubisoft… is that you?

    • Distec says:

      Could you just not resist having that dumb crap spillover from Ubi’s “controversy”?

      • Brinx says:

        I just want a decent fraternity simulator. Is that really too much to ask?

    • almostDead says:

      Nah, this is where all the women numbers come from when they tout how many women play games.

  9. Wulfram says:

    I’ll wait until they release the Base Game + Things That Should Have Been In The Base Game Expansion Pack bundle

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      You mean 200 euro after a 75% discount?

    • Brinx says:

      SUch a bundle will never exist. Just look at the previous games. Seems they are still making too much money with them.

      • Archonsod says:

        Funnily enough Sims 3 was the first in the series where the expansions actually made significant changes to the core gameplay. Of course, that might be down to the fact that they split out the ‘extra stuff’ into stuff packs and in-game transactions, so actually needed to do something to make you buy the expansions beyond adding five new wallpapers and a re-skinned toilet ….

  10. JFS says:

    God that was ultra-crepy.

  11. cpy says:

    The Sims: fantasy game simulator where you can have a job and a house!

  12. LuckyLuigi says:

    That was amazingly creepy

  13. Tayh says:

    I love how the presenter goes, “So I made this guy and this girl and this other stuff.”
    Right.
    Just like the previous demo that also had 10 different people claim “so I made this guy, he just got friend-zoned so he’s super-depressed.”
    Stupid marketing-speak.

    • MkMax says:

      sure its bad but i still find the division and rainbow six’s extra fake scripted “party banter” much worse

  14. MkMax says:

    love the character creating and hope to see it in future games, dont care much about the sims but ive read about/watched several lets plays where the players let that inner psychopath out, the sims seems to do that

  15. rapier17 says:

    “…then driving them into cardiac arrest doesn’t seem particularly jolly.” Reminded me of this;

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Why do I get no sound with this on google chrome?

    • P.Funk says:

      Brits are so much funnier. 5 minute sketch about laughing to death. North American presenter “He laughed to death”. Might as well be McBain. “That is the joke.”

  16. botd says:

    I think there is great hypocrisy going on here at RPS when this article and its accompanying header image are right next to the long article about the lack of female characters in AC Unity. This header image is a classic stereotype that buttresses many a marketing advertisement. A typical naggy women chatters on at her cool and longsuffering boyfriend/husband while he looks at the audience for empathy/sympathy. And of course it works as evidenced by the many positive comments about it in this thread. However, it’s perpetuating a very common and negative female stereotype and yet do we see any outrage here?

    • Hahaha says:

      The fact a daedalic game is under that article is more amusing… seems they don’t mind advertising for a type of people they apparently hate.

    • Premium User Badge Lexx87 says:

      Let us just make the world grey.

      All of us on the omnibus, grey, eating grey sludge. That’s what you guys want isn’t it.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        No I think botd wants another one of those articles where there are so many outraged comments that each one posted in the first few minutes becomes it’s own elongated thread on it’s own page of the comments after an hour. Thousands and thousands of people arguing from all viewpoints with no one able to keep track of what anyone else is saying, even though a foolish few are trying to be reasonable amidst all the screaming, but even the loudest aren’t “winning” the “debate” despite their best efforts to drown out opposing views because this is a comment section on a website and there is no actual sound.

        And none of it matters, because everyone with any brains knows that Hammerstein could totally beat Nemesis in a fist-fight.

    • Premium User Badge Jackablade says:

      The narrative that I came up with at first glance was a sitcom scene where the bearded fellow is just coming to the realisation that he’s done something foolish. We’re at the moment the punch line is delivered as he stares into the camera, coupled with sad trombone sound effect.

      • Geebs says:

        The lady in the picture is using gestures to describe her previous boyfriend, who was the bearded guy’s brother.

        • Archonsod says:

          Given it’s the Sims I suspect she’s actually complaining that there’s no room to use the bed despite it being in an adjacent, empty room. The guy just soiled himself because making pancakes was momentarily more important to his primitive AI than doing anything about his redlining bladder bar.

          Just under the table is the corpse of the third member of the household who somehow managed to electrocute themselves while changing a light bulb.

      • Premium User Badge Harlander says:

        Interesting. I got the idea that he’d just heard something that shocked him into a fugue state. The camera zooms in on his vacant stare while the sound of blood rushing in his ears drowns out whatever she’s talking about.

      • Brinx says:

        This! Now everything else is going to freeze and he will talk directly into the camera.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      Or maybe he’s just him hating his life after getting friend-zoned.

  17. SillyWizard says:

    When did it become okay to present at a major PR event wearing yoga pants?

    • Arglebargle says:

      No! We should all continue to kowtow to the cheap ghost of Beau Brummel! :(

    • Premium User Badge JamesTheNumberless says:

      You’re right, surely there’s a more appropriate thing to wear when presenting a game that’s mostly about lounging around at home.and going to the gym.