Preview: The Sims 4

the sims 4 gamescom 2013 header

I love The Sims series. There, I said it, and it’s not just because I get to build houses with no doors and pools where the floors should be and move in a bunch of pregnant teens just to see what happens although that’s probably part of it. Okay, most of it, but scientific research is a totally legit reason to play a game and how else could I know that moving a bunch of pregnant teens into a house with no doors and pools where the floors should be is a bad idea? I mean, I know now but I had to put in a lot of hard work to find out. And they say games can’t teach you anything.

With The Sims 4‘s new, improved, now with more Vulcan eyebrows Create-A-Sim feature, Maxis is adding a lot of innovative options to make the ultimate test subjects, dumping generic prefabbed parts for an unprecedented level of customisation that lets you individually adjust everything from facial structure to body shape and size. In a reveal trailer shown at Gamescom this week (see below), the process is described as like “playing with clay”.

the sims 4 create a sim screenshot
Reticulating burger splines.

The game also swaps out the linear and somewhat inscrutable mood bar of previous games with a whole new emotion system spanning 15 multiple states like “inspired”, “angry”, and “depressed” to experiment and manipulate with zero ethical imposition. Even a sim’s home decor can affect their emotions, which prompts the obvious question “What if we removed the doors and replaced the floors with pools?” I know you’re thinking that’s already been done, but now we can find out whether that panicked response is maybe also just a bit “flirty” (or not).

The building tools have also been revamped and the mechanics simplified to make adding and extending rooms and even rearranging entire layouts much easier. That guy from the Saw movies wishes he had The Sims 4.

Unlike The Sims 3, the latest game is in the works back at original Sims dev Maxis and will reportedly not require an internet connection to play. According to a recent interview with Digital Spy, “players on lower end machines are going to have a much better experience on The Sims 4 than they did with The Sims 3” so that’s excellent news for the scientist on a budget.

Game’s out sometime next year for PC and Mac, and for the moment no console versions have been confirmed.