This First Look At The Sims 4 May Be Cool As Heck, But Will Maxis and EA Hang Modders Out to Dry (Again)?
Earlier this week EA dropped a first look trailer for The Sims 4, the next installment in the wildly popular Sims franchise. Although there's not a lot to this video, it seems like there are two big changes in store: The Sims 4 will refine the current moodlet system into something a little more natural, and will also have a much more organic and intuitive Create-a-Sim process involving direct manipulation of the sim's figure. Although these sorts of trailers are usually pretty polished, it seems like the graphics will also be a step up from The Sims 3... But maybe not as much of a step up as we saw between The Sims 2 & 3. Either way, it's looking pretty good so far.
It's not surprising. I've had my share of technical problems with The Sims, but generally speaking I think it's an appealing and well-designed game. I think most of the choices they make will turn out to be good ones.
That's not to say I'm not worried, though.
Unfortunately my top concern is probably a long way from being answered. My Sims experience just isn't complete without mods, and even though EA and Maxis often reach out to modders when a new Sims game is coming down the pipeline, historically they've done very little to help those modders get a foothold in the game after launch. It took months before the community had figured out how to plug their own custom content into The Sims 3 without overwriting a piece of vanilla content first, which was less than ideal to say the least. This wasn't so bad if you had the money and the patience to wait for new content through monthly releases on The Sims Store, but there are some items modders make that lack the broad commercial appeal to ever appear there, and categories of items like custom skins and eyes that just weren't accounted for at all. Honestly, it made my first few months of owning The Sims 3 pretty boring. I had a hard time getting invested in characters who just looked so.... Blah.
Maybe modding will be easier in The Sims 4. Maybe it will be harder. Maybe in-game customization tools will compensate-- what if you could click-and-drag your hemlines or fringe-length as easily as you can click-and-drag your features? Wouldn't that be outstanding?!
... Or, you know, maybe they'll double-down on The Sims Store content and offer death-by-a-thousand-microtransactions to fashionably restless players like me. We'll just have to wait and see.
Please share this post with people you like:Tweet
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.