I enjoy Maxis games. Sim Tower, Sim City and The Sims are some of my favorite games, especially The Sims. I recall spending countless hours in The Sims 2 training my character to do yoga just so he could learn the teleport skill.
The Sims 4 comes out next week and I’m disappointed to learn that it will be missing many features. Obviously, I was not expecting it to come with everything that The Sims 3 has - that would be overly optimistic and naive - but I was definitely not expecting it to be missing key features such as swimming pools and toddlers. And I was also not ready for they are calling a "stripped-down" version of story progression - it was this that made The Sims 3 fun and unpredictable to play.
Maxis cited time constraints and a shortage of developers as reasons for not including these features. And fortunately, or not, Maxis also said that such features will be available later via updates or expansion packs.
Ah, the dreaded expansion packs. The Sims are really masters of this art, because The Sims 3 had no less than 11 expansion packs and 9 stuff packs. Like downloadable content (DLC), expansion packs, in theory at least, should allow developers to ship a game early and then add on additional content later. However, one cannot escape the feeling that some developers are actually withholding content, only to include them in an expansion pack later and then charge for more money. I actually wrote about this two years ago in another blog post - DLC: Just Another Way to Milk Gamers?. So who is that say that Maxis won't reinstate the features they omitted now in future and then charge for it? It would be the unpopular thing to do, but hey, it fattens their wallets right?
I may be a fan, but I'm not blind. I see the omission of such key features from The Sims 4 as glaring, completely unacceptable and borders on being sacrilegious. I don't think I'm alone on this and I suspect that there are many like me who would like to continue the time time-honored tradition of drowning your pesky neighbors in swimming pools.
As a result of this, I am going back to play The Sims 3 again - I stopped somewhere around the time when the Pets expansion pack came out - and I realized that now is actually the best time to play the game. Because all the expansion packs are out and I can have the "full" Sims 3 experience. What's more, because of The Sims 4 arrival, it is likely that the expansion packs for Sims 3 will be available on discount - a win-win situation.
So Maxis, while I get busy re-exploring The Sims 3, I expect you to get your act together and give fans The Sims 4 they deserve.
Kenny Yeo / Associate Editor
Don't get too caught up with specifications. If you do, you are going to have a bad time.