The fourth generation of The Sims was announced back in May, and EA promised additional details at Gamescom last week. Among these new announcements is the relieving revelation that the game will be playable offline, leaving players without a steady internet connection safe from running into DRM problems after they legally purchase the title.
The Sims 4 is expected to release next year and details are finally starting to stream out of Maxis and The Sims Studio, and it’s the type of news that will bring a little joy to fans of Electronic Arts who struggled to play the city-simulation reboot that was SimCity, an online-only title that had a plethora of problems for the first few weeks of launch.
With Electronic Arts still considering an offline mode for SimCity, it’s no wonder they’re avoiding the controversy entirely with The Sims 4. The game will be completely playable offline from the moment it’s purchased, though the usual online options of downloading or purchasing custom houses, items and even town packs will be retained from the previous iteration of The Sims.
With The Sims 3 having over 20 expansion and stuff packs combined, it’s no secret that EA has a digital content powerhouse with their Sims franchise. Maxis has remained relatively tight-lipped on any expansion pack plans for The Sims 4, but it’s a safe bet that there’ll be plenty of content coming post-release – hopefully continuing the retail disc tradition that has kept the series offline-friendly since its beginnings in 2000.
The game will also bring the virtual emotions of Sims to new heights, with moods impacting activities and abilities as gamers progress through their virtual daily grind. Says producer Lyndsay Pearson to Daily Herald:
“The key to ‘The Sims 4’ emotions is that there isn’t anything particularly better or worse. You have the ability of what to do with that emotion. If your Sim is furious, that may seem like a bad thing, but it actually means they can write a special book or paint a special painting or go for a really good run and have a really great workout.”
Even social interactions can now inspire moods. For instance, one sim may get jealous when seeing another sim successfully flirting. They may autonomously try and flirt with that same sim too, which can lead to anger and frustration if they get denied. This kind of dynamic situation looks to add a refreshing bit of unpredictability to a series where success can be narrowed down to an easy pattern of conversation, skill work, and repetition.
Other new features include enhanced sim customization with each character having up to 18 points on their body that can be altered, and easier house-building where players can make use of pre-designed rooms that can be stitched together for quick house-building. The most exciting feature however, is the increased amount of creative locations where the sims can get intimate or “Woohoo!”
The Sims 4 hits PC in early 2014.
Follow John on Twitter @Makelevi.