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The Sims 4

is an upcoming life simulation game. It will be the fourth installment in The Sims series. Electronic Arts announced the game on May 6, 2013, and it is scheduled to be... read more

6.4
Genres Simulation
Platforms MacPC
Engines
Status: Released
Release: 01-Sep-2014

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is an upcoming life simulation game. It will be the fourth installment in The Sims series. Electronic Arts announced the game on May 6, 2013, and it is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows on September 2, 2014. A Mac release has been confirmed, but a date not announced, and 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.

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.

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Gameplay

The Sims 4 is built upon the same concept as its predecessors. Players control their own Sims' activities and relationships in a manner similar to real life. The gameplay is open-ended and does not have a defined goal. New to this iteration, Sims will be able to do multiple tasks at once, such as talking and strolling at the same time. Traits, actions, and social conduct combine to influence the emotions, personality, and later actions of Sims. Emotional state is reflected in the user interface and in the Sims' expressions.

Characters with a higher skill set can mentor peers with lower skills to provide faster skill leveling.

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New methods of demise have been included in the game, including death by laughter.

The Create a Sim tool has been redesigned to allow manipulation of Sims' physical features by clicking and dragging the body part. The ability to customize a Sim's voice, walking style, and preset a clothing style has been added. Combinations of traits aggregate to create a hidden trait that is available to only Sims with that set of traits.

Willow Creek and Oasis Springs are included as the default neighborhoods in The Sims 4. Oasis Springs is set in a desert oasis, while Willow Creek showcases gardens and hills as part of its terrain.

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Build mode includes the ability to place predesigned rooms and then modify them, add foundations after a home has been built, place all windows simultaneously, and reshape windows. Rooms and houses can be moved as a whole after completion.

Players can import Sims, lots, and rooms from a user-generated database. The downloaded Sims retain their custom personalities and emotions as before they were uploaded. Shared rooms and houses can be also be moved as a whole with all original objects.

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Development

Like The Sims 3, the game was developed by The Sims Studio and distributed by Electronic Arts. The Sims 4 will be a single-player game, and will not require an internet connection to play, but players will need anOrigin account and internet access during the initial installation process. Ilan Eshkeri serves as the composer for the game's orchestral soundtrack.

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.

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.

It was suspected that The Sims 4 was scheduled to be released in early 2014, but it was later revealed it would in fact be released September 2, 2014.

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 theElectronic Entertainment Expo on June 9, 2014.

On June 28, 2014, a video was released showing the "originality" of each sim and their emotions.

Mac development

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] PC" and had "no updates on the Mac at this time", indicating that the Mac version of the game would come at a later date from the September 2014 release on Windows, perhaps similar to the Mac development of SimCity, released by EA earlier in 2013.

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Controversy

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 July 27, 2014, the petition holds over 20,000 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. From the previous reputation of the franchise, it could be assumed that many new features would be released through paid expansion packs and downloadable content, 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.

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Promotion

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.

It has been announced that the Create A Sim demo will be released prior to the release of the game, free of charge.

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Classification

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.

n 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".





This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Sims 4, which isreleased under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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