Electronic Arts announced just yesterday that its popular PC life simulation game, The Sims 2, will be appearing on a number of additional platforms later this year. Since all versions of The Sims 2 are being designed and developed to take advantage of their specific platforms, they will vary a great deal. We recently met with Maxis-EA's Virginia McArthur to discuss the unique features of the different games, and we'll be posting our first impressions of them throughout the week.
First up are the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions, which, we're pleased to report, are completely different games--as opposed to two GBA games, with one having pointless dual-screen, touch-screen functionality shoehorned in for the DS, as is too often the case. We can also tell you that the handheld versions of The Sims 2 will be less linear than previous handheld entries in the series, since you'll have plenty of different customization options. The GBA and DS games will take place in the same Strangetown area that you can visit in the PC game and will actually expand upon the original game's Strangetown content through their storylines and interaction with non-player characters.
The GBA game, for example, revolves around a TV show set in Strangetown, which, among other things, happens to be a firm favorite of the Goth family. You'll assume the role of the show's latest star, and your mission will essentially be to play through the latest season's 20 episodes (in any order you like) and to make them as good as you possibly can so that you get good ratings from the aforementioned telly addicts. You'll start each episode in a basic house, and your goal will be to satisfy the episode-specific wants and aspirations of your character. If your show gets a big thumbs-up from the Goths, you'll be able to unlock bonus content, such as unique items, new characters, and additional playable episodes. You'll also be able to trade said items with other players, so you won't necessarily have to unlock everything in The Sims 2 yourself if you have a friend to do it for you.
As mentioned earlier, the DS version of The Sims 2 will be very different from its GBA counterpart, not least because everything in the DS game will be 3D. You'll play as the manager of a small Strangetown hotel (it has only two rooms at the start of the game), whose goal, predictably, is to keep all of the residents happy. To achieve this goal, not only will you have to expand your hotel with additional rooms, such as a lounge and an art gallery, but you'll also have to customize those rooms with content that you've fashioned using some of the handheld's unique features. The paintings in the art gallery can be created by drawing on the touch screen, while the music you play in the lounge (and pipe into the bedrooms, if you like) will be a tune you've composed using a combination of in-game sounds and stuff that you've recorded using the DS's built-in microphone. The Sims 2 will also take advantage of the DS's wireless connectivity support, so you can trade items and songs that you've created with other players.
The DS version of The Sims 2, then, will be an open-ended affair that affords you plenty of opportunities to get creative. The game does feature a storyline of sorts, though, revolving around three "boss" characters who will refuse to leave your hotel until they're 100 percent happy with the service there. The bosses will undoubtedly be among the most demanding residents in the game, and we're told that trashed rooms are a distinct possibility.
The Nintendo DS and GBA versions of The Sims 2 are currently scheduled for release this fall. We'll bring you more information on both games as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, be sure to check the site later this week for information on the PSP, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube versions of the game.