Electronic Arts’ (NASDAQ: EA) life simulation game “The Sims 4” launched for the PC on Tuesday, and both critics and gamers are openly vocalizing their distaste for the latest “Sims” franchise installment, which reaches Europe and Australia today and will launch in the U.K. on Friday.
“The myriad of flaws become strikingly apparent, and hints of greatness are few and far in between the layers of mediocrity coating much of its repertoire,” HardcoreGamer said on Wednesday. “The lack of core-features, underutilization of the impressive emotions system, flawed customization and faulty … practically everything else, only emphasizes EA’s struggle to keep its promises.”
As the fourth installment to the main series, “The Sims 4” was announced May 6, 2013. In June, EA revealed that a number of the title’s popular features would be missing from the game – swimming pools, swim wear, genuine open-world gameplay and the “toddler” stage of life.
During the development process, a number of the title’s designers responded to users via Twitter, blog posts and forum questions about the creation process – and why certain features would not be part of “The Sims 4.”
“You can’t weigh features by how much you want them in the game, you have to consider how many development resources it takes to create them,” producer Graham Nardone told fans on a “Sims” forum in July. “The tram? A couple of days from one of our FX guys and it’s finished … very low risk, very low complexity (using entirely existing tech), and adds a nice visual punch to the neighborhood. I can’t recall ever scoping against FX … they always have time to be adding more stuff.”
Nardone told fans that it’s not always easy to select what will be included in a game and what won’t.
“Game development is a constant puzzle where you're matching headcount and skill sets against features, schedule, and budget, and you're trying to make everything fit just right with as few gaps as possible. Unfortunately time isn't like money; you can't go into debt on time and pay it back later,” he said.
Prior to its release date, EA did not provide review copies of “The Sims 4” until Sept. 1, ensuring that critics weren’t able to review the life simulation title before its launch.
Why are players and critics disliking “The Sims 4”? Some players claim the title is missing well-liked features from previous “Sims” installments.
“No one asked for ‘emotions,’ or any of the junk they put into it, but people have always loved things like swimming pools and ghosts, neither of which are present in ‘4,’” user Justin Graziano said.
“The problem is there are so few new things in the game – nowhere near enough to offset how much is missing,” user droodle added. “’Sims 4’ is barebones compared to the other ‘Sims’ games when they were released. It’s missing features that have been in the series since day 1 and almost 15 years ago – like pools, firefighters, burglars and repairmen.”
Another user mentioned that the “creativity of the ‘Sims’ themselves has gone down significantly.” Even though the latest game introduced new features, like emotional states, a new Create-a-Sim and build mode tools, it seems that a majority of players wish older, more popular features like swimming pools were part of “The Sims 4.”
What features do you want to see in the game? Leave a comment below.