The Sims 3 Impressions - Character Creation, Socializing, Careers, and More

Get a sense of what this highly anticipated sequel will have to offer.

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The Sims started off as an experimental game concept that designer Will Wright reportedly had to fight for. After it was released in 2000, it became a smash hit that went on to occupy top spots on computer-game best-seller lists for years to come, along with a good number of expansion packs and its in-depth sequel, The Sims 2. Now the team is getting ready for an impressive round three with a new sequel that will offer much more in the way of customization options, social options, character behavior, and in-depth careers. We got an up-close look at the game and have much to report.

The Sims 3 will offer much more of what you enjoy from the series.

The Sims 3 will apparently be the product of both the development team's desire to push the series forward, and also of the many requests that the series' fan community makes on a regular basis. For starters, though The Sims 2 took place in a virtual neighborhood that was split up into separate lots for housing (where your sims would live out their home lives) and downtown areas (where your sims could go shopping and socialize) that required you to sit through loading screens, The Sims 3 will have a continuous neighborhood that you can traverse seamlessly without any loading screens. The game unfortunately will probably ship with only the one neighborhood (rather than the numerous neighborhoods that The Sims 2 offered), and you most likely will not be able to build out new lots, but this area will be absolutely massive and should afford you more than enough space to putter around in.

In addition, the sequel will expand on the previous games' gameplay by enhancing your characters' personalities and their life goals. In previous games, you'd create your family of little computer people and determine each one's personality by assigning points on various personality meters, such as sloppy-to-neat and athletic-to-lazy, which would net them a specific horoscope sign and an approximate personality. This time around, you'll actually be able to directly choose up to five "traits" from a large pool of potential personality types, such as grouchy or clumsy. In addition, the new game's "motives"--personal needs that each of your sims has--have been streamlined down to the four major needs of sleep, food, fun, and potty breaks to cut down on situations that require you to stop whatever you're doing to fulfill this or that condition. In addition, the motives have been streamlined in the interface to simply change color from red (a state of dire need) to orange, yellow, and finally green (a state of complete fulfillment), instead of filling up little meters--again, to reduce the emphasis on micromanaging your little family's lives.

You'll also have more-directed gameplay for each character if you care to use it, in the form of enhanced "wish"-based gameplay and "lifetime achievements"--a step up from The Sims 2's "wants" and "goals" system. A lifetime achievement is essentially your sim's single life goal, and if you care to, you can choose one for each sim that you create, or not...and let life fill in the blanks. For instance, a child sim, in the course of his young life, might use a telescope item and suddenly become smitten with the desire to become an astronaut as his lifetime achievement. In addition, the "wants" system from Sims 2 has been streamlined down to a new "wish" system with up to three active slots. Wishes are short- to long-term goals that you'll uncover over the course of your sims' day, and they'll often occur much more naturally and organically. In addition, your characters will feel "moodlets"--small emotional boosts or potholes that happen as the result of various events in their lives. For instance, if your sim has recently fallen in love, she might constantly experience a slightly elevated moodlet for some time that puts a little more spring in her step on any given day.

Falling in love can lead to marriage, children, or just a constant high all day long.

We watched a demonstration of the game in action that showed two roommates having a house party with guests. Like in previous games, you can throw a party by having your sims pick up their home phone and using the "throw a party" option, but this time around, there will be many more types of parties you can throw, including a political fundraiser, which one of our sims held in the hopes of raising some campaign donations in accordance with his political-career aspirations. Like in previous games, your sims will be able to choose careers for themselves and will need to leave their homes for several hours each day, then reappear some hours later with a paycheck. You can still increase your sims' various skills, such as physical fitness, through repeated study (for instance, hitting the gym to increase your physical fitness), which will better equip you to get ahead in the rat race. In The Sims 3, you'll be able to climb the ladder at least a few times either by increasing your skills or simply by networking with enough people. (However, to get to the very top of the career ladder, you will need to grind away on those skills.)

Choosing the political career track unlocked the ability for one of our sims to hold the fundraiser at home, inviting over other friends and acquaintances to chat, schmooze, and ultimately, to leave behind a couple hundred simoleans to further the cause. The Sims 3 will do a better job of arranging your characters' relationship into various groups (love interests, family, friends, and others), and will also have social options that make more sense in context. For example, depending on your relationship with whichever other sim you're talking to, you'll be able to take your conversation in different directions, from romantic options (that will appear only for sims you have a romantic interest in) to more-hostile, argumentative options for sims that you don't quite get along with. You won't be required to repeatedly use the same social option over and over to build up a better relationship, as in previous games. Furthermore, though sims will still talk using cartoon speech balloons that have various graphical icons in them, there will be many more icons and they'll be tailored to fit the context of the situation, so you'll be able to get a better sense not only of who's connecting in conversation, but also on which topics they agree.

Our fundraiser ended successfully with our black-tie-and-ball-gown guests filing out the door and leaving some nice chunks of change for us. We then took our character to head down to SimCity hall in the center of town by driving our car directly there. Once there, we observed a civic demonstration of unhappy sims, who were waving picket signs and hollering in The Sims' trademark nonsensical gibberish, simlish, about their concerns. Their grievance this time around: hamsters, apparently. After watching the demonstration, we were then given a career-based opportunity to steal a bit of money from the campaign contributions that we had garnered. You'll apparently get these open-ended choices to pop up every so often, along with various tasks that may require you to travel across town or gather one of dozens of different items that may include food items, fish, and other stuff to build out your sims' personal collections. Unfortunately, our would-be political maven got caught in the act of stealing and was fired from his job.

Oh yeah, and you can catch fish, too.

On that happy note, we switched over to the character creator, which will be far more robust than the previous games' tools. The Sims 3 will have a gradient tool that will let you select a more-nuanced skin tone for your characters, along with new slider tools to select your characters' builds, from fat to thin, and from flabby to muscular. Plus, the game will also offer many more prebuilt facial features (eyes, eyebrows, nose length/height/width, and so on), along with plenty of sliders and meters and doohickeys to let obsessive players tweak to their hearts' content. In addition, The Sims 3 will have many more clothing options, including not only shirts, pants, and one-piece suits, but also hats, glasses, shoes, and other accessories (such as wristwatches, bracelets, and other types of jewelry). Like in The Sims 2, if your sims give birth to a little bundle of joy, the new addition to the family will share facial and body features from both parents, though the genetic makeup of your children will be a bit more consistent this time around. (Sims 2 players will remember that every so often, due to random genetic matching, children ended up looking a bit...off.)

With so much new and so much improved, by all appearances The Sims 3 will have plenty to offer. The new game's improved social aspects, streamlined motive system, and enhanced career paths will likely make social butterflies extremely happy, and the sequel's expanded character creator and new collection-based gameplay will give completists plenty to do. The game is scheduled to ship next year.

Discussion

115 comments
Chicken_fun
Chicken_fun

@ curetheworld666 by "a bit... off" they mean that the children would look freaky. Like they might have thier dad's low chin and mom's high eye making them look a bit... off.

Proman84
Proman84

This game screams for adult content.

mouse_b
mouse_b

just a thought but on the console versions on sims 1 & 2 im sure you was able to have a 2nd player join you, but can you get a 2nd player to join you on sims 3 if its on the pc?

luvbunny892
luvbunny892

it means they would look nothing like their parents lol

Kaotik_Gamer
Kaotik_Gamer

I m quite optimistic about the Sims 3, I am justly slightly worried that making micro-managing simpler they actually dumb down the game.

incredibleman
incredibleman

i can't wait 4 this 2 come out ^^ i can ask 4 it 4 my b'day. ^^ like i said, i can't wait ^^

TerStone88
TerStone88

LOL. Wow. I'm seeing comments like "This is no better than The Sims 2" and "This looks just like the Sims 2, there's no difference" all the time. People aren't thinking before comment. The jump from The Sims 1 to The Sims 2 was already a HUGE jump. There's only so much that can be done with the look in The Sims 3. There is actually a really big difference. If you can't see the BIG differences between The Sims 2 & 3 then there is something definitely wrong with the information intake portion of your brain. Lol

commandokiller
commandokiller

I really love this series, but from the screens it looks almost exactly like Sims 2... and ever since Spore came out, my faith in Will Wright is somewhat shaky...

bjbj11
bjbj11

i hope they do something to improve sims' personalities, everyone in the sims 2 seemed to all act the same regardless of individuality. performance was very bad in sims 2, i can play crysis fine but go downtown on sims 2 and it crawls, so i hope this is something they improved, i like the idea of less loading times though. i hope they also include something like the university and open for business in the standard game though

xtoda7
xtoda7

i just like building different houses,hopefully they have improved this part of the game too.

honeymist204
honeymist204

im an absolute fan of the sims 2 and i absolutely love the game play, i thought it was awesome! i am really looking forward to the release of the sims 3 because it sounds so awesome! hopefully it is as good as it sounds!

GenVidTh
GenVidTh

@booksons 1.) I think it can't importable. Because EA ussualy make a totally new settings. 2.) Absolutely yes. I guarantee it 100% :) 3.) Of course it will.

booksons
booksons

I haven't been able to find any information on the following questions... 1) Will Sims2 content be importable into Sims3? 2) Will there be expansion packs and stuff packs as with Sims2? 3) Will you be able to create custom content as in Sims2 and import it into the game?

Skylark2012
Skylark2012

Can't wait! takes about a week for me to get bored. But then I always come back to it every year.

hanlinyang1992
hanlinyang1992

I've loved this series for years so I'm pretty excited - so long as it still has the Social Bunny, aliens, Cassandra Goth, etc., then all is well.

henrik02
henrik02

Damn, next year? It's probably worth the wait though...

Mrizvi
Mrizvi

Cant wait, one of the few series that has remained faithful to the PC

harley2463
harley2463

CANT CANT CANT CANT CANT WAIT UNTIL ITS OUT. how long will it take till its out?

wroledan
wroledan

This game better be out on PS3 coz it really needs a powerful PC to run it,but when it comes out on consoles there is no problem

white_jaguar
white_jaguar

any idea what kind of pc specs it will require, cuz my pc is not really much of a gamer pc.

Gloryfinder
Gloryfinder

This game will keep me entertained for a long time. Its looking very very good. It will be fun making a huge variety of different characters.

mike1146l
mike1146l

I WILL GET THIS GAME WHEN I GET MY LAPTOP

HighNMitey
HighNMitey

I am so excited it looks awesome. No loading screens is a HUGE improvement and I love the pop up career opportunities. This looks like its going to be great I am agonizing waitng 5 months though!

Dana13
Dana13

No we don't need anymore Sims online. If parents didn't let their young children play, it would be ok but parents are so unaware of the raw content of online games. But anyway...I am looking forward to Sims 3 very much. I am looking forward to the open cities and the freedom. I love building the houses more than playing, though, so we'll see how it goes...

frios302004
frios302004

unfortunately this game cannot be online, most of the people and the community itself are kinda traumatized ´cause of Sims 1 Online, and maybe it wouldn't be free.. Oh yeah Sims 3 Online just would be opened wide doors for child molesting and all that stuff...

KakashiMorph
KakashiMorph

Sounds intriguing and more fun than the previous ones. Will have to grab it when it comes out.

fragtech
fragtech

This looks like the best Sims yet.

louisg0
louisg0

Hmmm, i'll have to see how this goes. Looks interesting though.

AwA-soldier
AwA-soldier

I like they game but, like the others you get bored very fast.Maybe they could make it online play, that you could play with other people.

rushad_patel
rushad_patel

yeah even i get kind of tired of sims after the first few days....really love it first but start loosing interest soon

Danny_Kearney
Danny_Kearney

'I suppose I will get hooked for a day or three. Just like the other sim games. But I get tired quick' So true The Sims is brilliant for a few days and then you lose interest

lapette
lapette

I suppose I will get hooked for a day or three. Just like the other sim games. But I get tired quick

forhekset
forhekset

Instead of reinventing the wheel each time they should be pushing for more of an exciting 'anything can happen' take on life, with either automated or player choices on ethical questions (such as skimming off the top, as mentioned) and scenarios that dramatically shape a characters personality, demeanor and preferences. Surely getting caught a corrupt political figure would ruin your social life. And I hope they make the auto-AI better, so we don't have Sims having 9 baths a day.

yatatabien
yatatabien

I'd like to play this game. But I'm not dying for it.

T-g4amer
T-g4amer

The "not be able to build out new lots" was a bit of a downer, but overall this game seems decent enough. Anyways I'm still getting this game.

EdibleFood
EdibleFood

Ughh letdown graphics look exactly the same it might as well be an expansion

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

Looks really promising, but the single neighborhood option is a letdown.

ZacherWol19
ZacherWol19

Still wanting more info and screenshots :(

Nharia12
Nharia12

Though its great seeing all the wonderful images for Sims 3 it'll be even better knowing the system requirements for the game.

bioghost
bioghost

How about you put some riot, or something that makes it like GTA4 or any kind of violence

iffrithda
iffrithda

dudes.... i liked the sims and the sims 2 but, the game after a while becomes boring... doing the same things, not having much of a challange, let's see how this turns out...

cru3
cru3

The Sims always have expansion packs, it's the way the game works.

anthonettex
anthonettex

hope this doesnt come out with 100 of expansion packs to follow up on.

anthonettex
anthonettex

hope this doesnt come out with 100 of expansion packs to follow up on.

qwertykeys
qwertykeys

This game sounds awesome. Loved Sims and Sims 2, cant wait for the third!