The Urbz rollz out

The Sims' hip, urban console cousin hits the streets--and the stores.

Want to lead a virtual life, but don't care for the suburban setting of The Sims? Well, you're in luck. Electronic Arts announced today that it has shipped The Urbz: Sims in the City, "the newest entry into the award-winning [Sims] franchise." However, unlike The Sims or its successor The Sims 2, The Urbz is not being released for the PC. The PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance versions shipped out today, and the DS version will ship on November 16.

Unlike The Sims 2's malls and tract homes, The Urbz drops players into a bustling, New York City-esque metropolis. “The Urbz: Sims in the City is all about three things: cool city style, building your reputation, and living the dream in a 24/7 city that never sleeps. It gives players the opportunity to create and control their sims in a completely unique way and in a very different environment,” said EA executive producer and vice president Sinjin Bain.

What does Bain mean, exactly? Well, in the three console versions of The Urbz, players' goals are to build up their reputations on the city's social scenes. The bigger your rep, the bigger your access to said city's nine unique districts. Players with large reputations will be able to get into cooler clubs, get nicer apartments, and get to mingle with the jet set. Players whose sims are popular enough can even get jobs working for hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, which appears in the game. In fact, the first 700,000 console copies of The Sims 2 included a prepaid download card redeemable for three exclusive Black Eyed Peas songs via Apple's iTunes, as well as a single for the band’s top hit “Let’s Get it Started”.

For more on The Urbz: Sims in the City, read the full review of the console versions of the game. The "T" for Teen-rated game retails for $49.99 on all three console versions. The "E" for Everyone-rated GBA edition costs $29.99 and features a slightly different plotline and city, called "Minniopolis." No price has been officially announced for the DS Urbz, which is also rated "E."

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