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E3 2014: Is ‘Sims 4’ offering anything new?

At E3 2014’s EA press conference on June 9, EA showed gameplay of their newest “Sims 4” game as well as a very short story to explain how personalities can be shaped. “Sims 4” will be available on September 2. If you missed the press conference, catch a replay in the Gamespot archive.

Sims 4 cover

To start the conference, EA touted smarter sims with real personalities. “In the previous sims games you controlled the minds and bodies of the sims, but for the first time ever, you’ll be able to control their heart.” You’ll define your sim’s personality and the traits you choose will determine those personalities.

“Personality drives behavior, creating stories.”

The example of these personalities creating stories was a sim named ‘Chuck’ who was a hot headed athlete that loves literature. He showed up at his neighbor, Gladys’ house to read her some of his poetry but he hasn’t been leveling up his poetry so ‘his poetry sucks”. Gladys hated his poetry so much she decided to start a fight over it.

The next night, Chuck was at a party. It was made a point that you could even bring other people’s sims into your game as one was brought in to play the piano and liven up the party. And Chuck ended up having so much fun he laughed himself to death. The Grim Reaper made his appearance to collect the dead Chuck while the party-goers mourned him.

Is any of this really new to the “Sims” franchise?

Chuck’s personality was composed of traits that “Sims 3” players will already recognize: hot-headed, athletic and bookworm. These traits had apparently identical effects on Chuck’s personality in “Sims 4” that they would have had in “Sims 3”, causing Chuck to become short-tempered, enjoy exercising and enjoy reading or writing.

In order to write better poetry, Chuck needed to level up the relevant skill, in the same manner one would in “Sims 3”. And because Chuck didn’t do that before reading some poetry to his neighbor, she reacted in the same way two sims who get a low relationship score would react in “Sims 3”, having a brawl.

And what about bringing other’s sims into your own game? You can already do this! Whether you want to download people’s sims off the Sims 3 Exchange website or use the social function to host a friend’s sim in your sim’s home temporarily, there are options to get new sims created by other players in your game.

Chuck laughing himself to death was definitely a new death possibility that was not available in “Sims 2” or “Sims 3”.

So what is EA really offering that’s a step up from “Sims 3”? What they chose to display at E3 2014, and what they chose to call ‘for the first time ever’ features, fail to impress those who have already played the “Sims” series.

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