The continuing future of The Sims
Will there be a Sims 5? Miele told The Post that EA is “having conversations about the next generation” and what that may look like. One of the priorities in the years ahead is giving the franchise a straight wider reach.
“We are thinking about how exactly modern media is consumed today, and the significant disruptions we’ve seen in media in the last three to five years, whether TV media, movie media, music media,” Miele said. “We’re thinking about similar opportunities to bring content to more persons in more places on the most platforms as possible.”
In a financial call in late January, EA CEO Andrew Wilson spoke of plans for another generation of Sims “across platforms in a cloud-enabled world” and compared the idea of “social interaction and competition” to the late Sims Online.
“We certainly see interactive entertainment likely to a place of streaming and being in a location where cross-platform play becomes a priority,” Miele said. “I certainly perceive The Sims to be incredibly accessible, very global.”
When asked whether we’d one day visit a “definitive” version of The Sims that is continuously updated rather than one installment after the next, Miele said that it’s something she and her team have “thought deeply about.”
Is there a finish around the corner? While Duke doesn’t want The Sims 5 to arrive “anytime soon,” he said the series will continue steadily to grow and evolve for years, maybe even decades, to come.
The soul of The Sims
Inspiration for The Sims found creator Will Wright after his home burned down in the Oakland firestorm of 1991. Wright became fixated with humanity’s affinity toward material things and whether happiness can be purchased.
His studio, Maxis, had released SimCity to critical success in 1989, and he wished to pivot that concept into something new but familiar. In 1997, Maxis was acquired by EA, giving the team funding for another project. Rather than managing a whole metropolis, the team wondered about controlling a singular neighborhood or building.
Mike Duke, senior producer of The Sims 4, has been focusing on the series for 13½ years. Although he wasn’t utilized by Maxis during its acquisition, he’s heard stories of its tumultuous beginnings from colleagues.
“I’ve definitely heard rumors of, ‘The Sims was a lifestyle game that was canceled and resurrected or, you understand, often questioned,’” Duke said within an interview with The Washington Post. “I think developing anything new, especially if it’s not [replicating] another thing that’s already successful, there’s inherent risk. And it’s among the hardest parts of innovation.” “They certainly had no chance to foresee its success,” Lyndsay Pearson, executive producer and general manager of The Sims said. “And while it was certainly against the grain of games at the time, the credit of overcoming those doubts would go to the first dev team and the support from EA to take it to life.”
Soon, what started out as an architectural simulator morphed into an ambitious game centered on domestic life.
“I think among the things the team realized in early stages was, you can’t really evaluate how good your space is until you put persons in it,” Duke said. “They added these Sims merely to help validate if you succeeded or failed with this architectural tool. And I believe they quickly latched on to the fact that you commence to care for those little buddies.”
In the entire year 2000, when The Sims came out, the PC gaming market was filled up with action games. Diablo II had just released and Half-Life mod-turned-game Counter-Strike would change first-person shooters for a long time to come. In an interval when emphasis was located on action-heavy gameplay, how did a lifestyle game like The Sims start new life