The Sims 4
|The Sims 4|
The Sims Studio
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
The Sims 4 is a 2014 life simulation video game developed by EA Maxis and The Sims Studio and published by Electronic Arts. The Sims 4 was originally announced on May 6, 2013, and was released in North America on September 2, 2014 for Microsoft Windows. A Mac release has not been confirmed. There are currently no plans for a console release.
The game has the same concept as its predecessor, The Sims 3. Players control their Sims in various activities and form relationships. The game, like the rest of the series, does not have a defined final goal; gameplay is nonlinear. The Create-a-Sim and Build Mode tools have been redesigned to allow more versatility when creating game content. Emotional state plays a larger role in gameplay than in previous games in the series, with effects on social interaction, user interface, and personality.
The Sims 4 is a life simulation game, similar to its predecessors. Players create a sim character and explore different personalities which change the way the game plays out. Sims can multitask such as talk while doing a task. Sims' moodlets also change the gameplay. For example, a sim can do a task while being either angry or totally excited.
A lot of furniture and a detailed build-and-buy system are present along with neighborhoods and landscaping.
The Sims 4 also includes a lot of social features, such as importing Sims and houses other people have made into your game. This impacts the world around your sims.
The Sims 4 was developed by The Sims Studio, a division of the Electronic Arts subsidiary EA Maxis, and was distributed by Electronic Arts. This is similar yet different to the development of The Sims 3, which was developed by The Sims Studio standalone from the (at the time, diminished) EA Maxis. This is the first Sims game since The Sims 2 that EA Maxis has been involved with since inception of the base game, having only taken over The Sims Studio's operation towards the end of The Sims 3's development life.
The Sims 4 is a single-player game, and does not require a constant internet connection to play. Players will however need an Origin account and internet access during the initial installation process for game activation. Ilan Eshkeri serves as the composer for the game's orchestral soundtrack, for which he recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the London Metropolitan Orchestra.
On April 25, 2013, several screenshots from mock-up flash videos of the user interface were leaked online. On May 3, 2013, Electronic Arts sent out an e-mail to several fansites stating that there would be a big announcement on May 6, 2013, which many speculated would be The Sims 4.
On August 20, 2013, The Sims 4 was revealed via gameplay demo and release trailer at Gamescom. Previews of the building and character creation systems debuted earlier in 2014. Additional game footage and the release date were revealed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 9, 2014.
Gameplay was unveiled during Gamescom 2013, held at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany. Unveiled features focused on the improved Create-a-Sim with an all-new click-and-drag feature omitting the use of sliders and the addition of emotion-based gameplay. Select players called Yibsims who mostly manage fan sites and YouTube videos were invited to Sims Camp to see the game before the public and press, consequently the game received minimal coverage outside fansites. Maxis stated the game would run better on lower-end PCs than The Sims 3, which was plagued with performance issues on low-end and high-end PCs.
On May 14, 2014, producer Ryan Vaughan unveiled another Create-a-Sim trailer on the official The Sims YouTube channel. This included a preview of what the premade Sims Bella Goth and Mortimer Goth would look like in The Sims 4. The development team unveiled another trailer on May 28, 2014 that showcased the new Build Mode features. Players will now be able to choose between three different wall heights and adjust the location of a window on a wall, as well as be able to move an entire room from one position to another.
EA unveiled another gameplay trailer including more gameplay footage and announced the release date of the game, September 2, 2014, during a press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 9, 2014. The Sims 4 will be released on the 2nd of September for North America and 4 September for EU, Australia and Brazil.
On June 28, 2014, a video was released showing the "originality" of each sim and their emotions.
Upon first announcement, EA stated that The Sims 4 was in development for both for Mac and Windows, both to be released in 2014. However, closer to release date, the company stated that they were "focused [on] Windows" and had "no updates on the Mac at this time". In October 2014 further information was disclosed suggesting the future release of a mac version. Vaughn told International Business Times that the team was "working on a Mac version right now.”
On June 25, 2014, EA and Maxis announced the omission of several gameplay features in The Sims 4 that had been included in previous games. These omitted features include swimming pools, swimming wear, and the "toddler" life stage; this announcement also noted the lack of an open-world found in The Sims 3, stating neighborhood gameplay would be separated by loading screens. Earlier in the development process, a fan-site interview with a producer had revealed Create-a-Style (CASt), a customization feature introduced in the previous Sims game, would not be added to The Sims 4 in lieu of other features. The developers then announced through a series of tweets that the game would ship with a 'stripped-down' version of story-progression (a gameplay mechanic controlling neighborhood autonomy), and that basements, grocery stores, and school and work locations would not be featured in the game. While careers and schools would still be featured, they would be represented differently from The Sims 3, more akin to the way they were featured in The Sims 2.
These announcements sparked unrest among many fans who speculated that the exclusion of arguably core features were rapaciously intended by the developers or parent company to be left out for later paid content, or in order to make rushed deadlines. A petition was launched by some fans to have the features restored for the initial release, even if the release date were to be pushed back. As of August 21, 2014, the petition holds over 22,000 signatures.
Maxis contended that it was not possible to include every feature in the new game that had been added over time in the 6 years The Sims 3 was in development, and that these could always be added at a later date, although they did not confirm exactly how this would be done, or whether it would be free or at a cost. Some have speculated that many new features would be released through paid expansion packs, but others speculate that some of the more "basic, core" content (i.e. pools, toddlers) may be released as free patch updates, similar to how some new features were patched free into The Sims 3, such as basement features.
Questioned as to why some features, such as a cupcake machine, were implemented over what many viewed as key gameplay, Maxis and The Sims producer Graham Nardone attributed the sacrifice to time constraints, the workload and distribution of developers (and the comparative lack of available developers to some areas of production to other areas), as well as risk factors:
"You can’t weigh features by how much you want them in the game, you have to consider how many development resources it takes to create them. The tram? A couple of days from one of our FX guys and it’s finished... very low risk, very low complexity (using entirely existing tech), and adds a nice visual punch to the neighborhood. I can’t recall ever scoping against FX... they always have time to be adding more stuff.
"Our FX folks submitted their own long list of things they wanted to work on because there wasn’t enough for them to do. Now, you can’t take the FX team and ask them to add pools to the game. They don’t have the work skills to do it; neither do I. Pools, toddlers... they’re extremely complex features that require months of man hours of work across multiple disciplines and introduce significant risk.
"If we were to have added one of those to the game, there would have been two choices for us... cut many small features, or cut one other significantly large feature."
Maxis and The Sims producer Rachel Rubin Franklin later elaborated in an official blog post, acknowledging the concerns of fans, and explained the issue on the developer's focus on The Sims 4's new core game engine technologies, and that the sacrifices the team had to make were a "hard pill to swallow":
"It begins with new technology and systems that we built for this new base game for The Sims... the vision for The Sims 4 is a new experience... to do that, our technology base needed a major upgrade.
"...when we sat down and looked at everything we wanted to do for this game, all the new tech we wanted to build into it, the fact was that there would be trade-offs, and these would disappoint some of our fans. Hard pill to swallow, believe me, but delivering on the vision set out for The Sims 4 required focus."
Franklin stated new features such as Sim emotions, advanced Sim animation, interaction and behaviours, as well as the new Create-a-Sim and build mode tools as a large part of the reason that detracted focus from features such as swimming pools and the toddler life stage.
However, on 1 October 2014, Maxis confirmed that one of its missing features, swimming pools, along with other new updates and features, would be added into the game through monthly free update in November.
Marketing and release
SteelSeries and Electronic Arts announced a series of themed peripherals to promote The Sims 4, including a pair of headphones, a computer mouse that lights up in accordance with Sims' in-game emotional states, and a mousepad featuring a render of various Sim groups.
A demo was released to the public displaying the new Create a Sim partition of the game in which is supplied, free of charge to anyone. TV spots were also produced narrated by actor Charlie Day.
On May 9, 2014, it was reported that The Sims 4 has been rated "18+ (Prohibited for children)" by Russia. This decision was based on the game's portrayal of same-sex relationships contravening the Russian LGBT propaganda law that prohibits portrayal "of non-traditional sexual relationships" to children (see also LGBT rights in Russia). Previous entries in The Sims series have routinely been rated as suitable for lower ages; for instance, The Sims 3 was considered suitable for ages 6 and up in Germany.
On July 8, 2014, the Australian Classification Board classified The Sims 4 as "M (Mature)" for "violence and sexual references". An "M" rating defines the content as having a moderate impact, and recommends it suitable for teenagers aged 15 and over, although does not legally restrict access or use of the game for any age. This rating is in line with previous titles in The Sims series, although no other Sims game in Australia has attracted consumer advice for "violence".
|Features||Standard||Limited Edition||Digital Deluxe||Premium Edition||Collector's Edition Game.co.uk Exclusive Only|
|In-store or Origin download||Origin download only||In-store only|
|Additional downloadable content
|Life of the Party|
|Awesome Animal Hats|
|Up All Night|
|Creators' guide book|
|USB interactive plumbob by SteelSeries|
EA did not provide review copies of the game until September 1, meaning that critics were unable to review the game before release. In the absence of initial reviews it was indicated that players were generally dissatisfied with the game, especially the ones who were familiar with the previous games in the franchise.
Hardcore Gamer gave The Sims 4 a 2.5 score out of 5 and commented "it’s a half-hearted experience wrapped in a neat and pretty package that beams a potential to both fulfill and crush your inner-Sims’ dreams." They criticized the game for the lack of content and having many bugs.
Jim Sterling of The Escapist, in a mixed review of the game, found there to be an "overall lack of engagement". Although noting some positive changes he was critical of the game in comparison to previous entries in the series, declaring that "The Sims 4 is basically The Sims 3, but shrunken and sterile", and recommending that game be played instead. He also complained of being "harassed" by tutorial messages. His final score for the game was 2.5 out of 5 stars.
ABCNews.com's reviewer Derrik J. Lang praised the game for being "remarkably more intuitive at the start", stating that the sims are now smarter than before, have emotions that affect their moods, and are able to multi-task. Despite the praise, Lang awarded the game with two stars stating that he encountered annoying glitches and that he misses content from previous games, like dishwashers.
Joshua Bruce of Cheat Code Central gave the game a score of 3.3 out of 5. In a mixed review, he criticized the game for lacking content, that will later be added in expansion packs, and stated that "The Sims 4 is certainly not deserving of the fan backlash it’s currently receiving on the internet, but it’s not the revolutionary leap forward you would expect from a game that has had years to develop."
Kevin VanOrd of Gamespot gave this game a 6 out of 10. Despite praising the visuals, audio, and the new multi-tasking and moods system, he states that he misses the two main features of The Sims 3: "Create-a-Style" and the open world. His conclusion is: "The Sims 4's biggest problem is that The Sims 3 exists".
Other reviews were more favorable. CraveOnline.co.uk mentioned in an article that "the awful user reviews indicate a strong backlash." However, the website added that "Sims fans who haven’t paid much attention to the ongoing controversy surrounding the game may look at those Amazon review scores and, without knowing that many are immediately dismissing the game due to its cut content, decide that they won’t purchase it." In a "first impressions" article, the website's reviewer also concluded that "this is a great game that is undeserving of the hate I’ve been seeing." The reviewer stated that the only thing that really bothered him was the lack of non-social activities, which meant the most fun was to be had from social interactions.
Kallie Plagge of IGN gave The Sims 4 a 7.5 out of 10. She was disappointed by the lack of content from previous games, and the lack of "cool" objects that could adequately replace them; and the too frequent, albeit short, loading screens. The score she gave is relatively high, though, because "The Sims 4 does succeed in being a deep and complex game when it comes to Sim interactions, with lots of entertaining emotional potential [...] Plus, excellent building tools make architecture more fun than ever". Her conclusion is that "it’s a good start to what may eventually be expanded into a great Sims game, but it’s not there yet".
Den of Geek's Robert Bernstein feels that the game is more like The Sims 2.5 or even or a mobile game. He states that The Sims 4 is a major disappointment with many gameplay as well as technical issues, and suggests that players should not spend their simoleons on this game.
GamePlanet gave The Sims 4 a 6/10 score, praising the new emotion and create-a-sim systems, but feels that the game is "deliberately incomplete" to "ensure that users would want to buy many expansion packs".
The Independent's Jack Fleming praised the game for "The Gallery" feature that allows users to showcase their creations easily, the new multitasking system, the visual design, the personalities and emotions, the unusual careers (that, for example, allow the sim to travel into space), and the new build mode. On the other hand, he voiced his frustration with the loading screens, the new camera controls (while noting they can be reverted to The Sims 3 style), and noted the lack of content from previous installments (such as swimming pools and toddlers) made many fans upset. In conclusion he writes: "The Sims 4 is an easy game to get into (though the constant tutorial-ising at the start can actually get a bit frustrating) and the reasons that people love this series are still present. The game’s creators have tried to make the appeal as diverse as possible and have in most ways succeeded. However, I couldn’t help but wish I could actually go to space and drive that spaceship around..."
Softpedia's Andrei Dobra gave the game an 8 out of 10 score and noted that: "The Sims 4 is a fun experience that certainly takes great steps in improving the core mechanics of the series. The Create-A-Sim and Build Mode systems are much more accessible yet offer a lot of depth for those that desire it. Sims are smart, can multitask, and interact in lots of nifty ways. However, there are still plenty of missing core items while the existing set of options are limited, to say the least, no doubt to ensure that the upcoming expansions bring lots of highly desirable things."
Nick Tan of Game Revolution states that the game is a case study for loss aversion. He explains that the reason for Sims fans expressing so much anger and dissatisfaction with it is because people "strongly prefer avoiding losses than acquiring gains". That, combined with the hatred for Electronic Arts that greatly intensified after the release of the latest SimCity game, resulted in such a backlash. Tan gave The Sims 4 a 3.5/5, calling it "woefully incomplete, despite being unexpectedly solid and entertaining in its current state".
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|last1=in Authors list (help)
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