Last time I wrote about The Sims, I had just discovered my purchase of The Sims 4 and dived into the game, a little late to the party as always. I finished off that post saying ‘The trick now is to not let it take over my life while I see what it’s all about.’ I think I finally managed to get a good Sim balance in my life - it’s not an addiction that sucks up too many hours, but I do check in on the game regularly and get a quick fix of micro-managing those little idiots.
I’ve got most of the expansion packs and enjoy playing little and often, I’d definitely say I was a fan. So I was intrigued by the game’s first big conference called ‘Behind The Sims Summit.’ It seems like everyone wants to have these big celebratory days to look back on achievements and announce or tease upcoming projects, and why not? If you’ve got something to talk about, do it in some style!
This Summit announced The Sims 4 base game would become free to play, which makes sense at this point in the game’s lifecycle - there is so much extra content that you want to get users in the door to start them on that journey. For existing users, there was some free content given to try and appease them, and whilst I’m 95% okay with the whole thing, I’ll admit it’s always annoying to have something you’ve paid for become free.
There were some teasers of new expansion packs and updates to the baby stage of the Sim lifecycle but what people really went wild for was the teaser of The Sims 5, or what they’re calling it in its current very early stages: Project Rene. It was the most basic of sneak peeks and clearly this is a project in the incubation stages, but it showed players really being able to customise a room, furniture, patterns, and taking things off that building grid we know so well. I can see why many people were excited by this glimpse of the future but I’m not big on the building part of the Sims so it kind of flew over my head. Very occasionally, I’ll get the urge to have a Sim wandering around in a layout that I’ve pulled together to be more usable for their current needs and get building, but most of the time I stick to the furnished pre-made houses, and then just swap in and out furniture as it makes sense for their current journey.
I’m more interested in the gameplay, the skills, the careers, the link between the two, the various gestures, secrets, activities you unlock as you start building up those skills within a Sim. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of that in the future but for now, for me, the Sims 5, or Rene, can go back to the drawing board. I’ll stick with what I’ve got and look forward to the new expansions coming next year instead.