EA brings home Sims 2 Pets

Animal-friendly Sims game will expand on PCs, stand alone on consoles, handhelds; content will differ between platforms.

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The Sims 2: Pets
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One of the things Sims fans have been clamoring for in the Sims 2 are pets--and they're not talking about a decorative fish bowl or a rodent spinning in a hamster wheel. The Sims community has been asking for dogs and cats to be included in the life simulator, and Electronic Arts has finally obliged.

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The Sims 2 Pets has been officially announced, after being teased at this year's E3. A promotional clip of the game was shown at EA's booth, but information was spotty at best. There was speculation that the game would be an expansion for The Sims 2 PC edition, a stand-alone console game, a booster pack, or even its own spin-off.

Those questions were answered today. The game is coming to the PC as an expansion pack, and in a somewhat surprising move, the game will also be going for a walk on consoles, namely the PlayStation 2, GameCube, PlayStation Portable, DS, and Game Boy Advance. Currently, there are no plans to release an Xbox edition. All versions will ship on October 17, except for the PSP version, which gets let out in November.

Every edition will include "dogs, cats, caged animals, and more," as well as a create-a-pet feature that gives gamers an opportunity to design their own puppy or kitty. Various color schemes, body types, and markings will be available, as well as personalities.

Owners will also be responsible for training their four-legged friends, or risk having cats claw up furniture and dogs make a mess of the house. As players progress through the game, they'll receive codes for unlockable items, such as accessories, pet markings, or fur types, which can be shared with other Sims 2 Pets players.

Several editions of Sims 2 Pets will also carry unique features. The PC expansion will let players create designer breeds and pets to earn some extra Simoleans by working in three career tracks--security, entertainment, and service. On the PS2, PSP, and GameCube, gamers and their pets can travel to the Central Town Park and the Town Center, where they can shop for cat clothes and dog duds. The DS version gives a pet store and a pet care center to players, and owners of the GBA edition can try their hand at being a vet or become a professional pet trainer and compete in a trick contest.

EA has not yet released pricing or rating information for the games. For more on The Sims 2 Pets, check back later for an interview with the franchise's executive producer, Rod Humble.

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