The Sims fans were up in arms last month when it was revealed that two seemingly fundamental aspects of the series--pools and toddlers--would not be included in The Sims 4. More specifically, they won't be included in what EA described as the "base game," fueling concerns that, like with past games, The Sims 4 owners would be inundated with premium expansion packs (some of which would invariably include these missing features). Developer Maxis has now shared some of the thinking that went into its decision, explaining that the omission of pools and toddlers stems not from greed, but a desire to create new technology.
"The fact is, we owe you a clearer explanation for why pools and toddlers will not be in The Sims 4 at launch, so here goes," writes executive producer Rachel Franklin on the official Sims blog. "It begins with new technology and systems that we built for this new base game for The Sims--a new AI system, new animation system, new audio positioning tools, new locomotion logic, new routing intelligence and much more are all entirely new in this game. The vision for The Sims 4 is a new experience that brings your Sims to life in deeper and uniquely personal ways--through emotions, personality traits, behaviors and interactions. To do that, our technology base needed a major upgrade."
To do this, however, requires "trade-offs," which Franklin notes Maxis knew "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." This focus came in the form of an emphasis on Sims and their emotions, as well as new (and admittedly fun-looking) ways of building houses.
As a result, Franklin says, "The Sims 4 is a completely new game, and it feels different to play. You'll notice the new technology base the first time you play." She cites examples like the wide variety of new animations, including 75 different walking styles, as well Sims' ability to multitask and interact with groups, rather than just individuals.
It all sounds a lot less nefarious than some had suspected when we first heard about the absence of pools and toddlers. Of course, there's only so much reassurance EA and Maxis can offer through words, but they'll aim to win fans over in the lead up to launch on September 2, starting with the release of more than 15 minutes of Live mode game footage sometime in the next two weeks. Following that, a demo of the game's Create-a-Sim mode will be released. A select number of people will get to go hands-on with this "very soon," with everyone else getting access "later this summer.
Has today's explanation had any effect on your interest? Let us know in the comments.