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Maxis announced today that The Sims 4 is in development. The latest entry in the life simulator series will be released on the PC and Mac sometime in 2014.
The Sims allows players to control a collection of virtual people. They can build homes for these Sims and then help them achieve their desires. The franchise has sold well over 150 million copies and is the best-selling PC franchise of all time.
"The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world," said Maxis in their announcement. "Their continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world’s most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide."
The Sims 4 will bring an end to a lengthy The Sims 3 era. TS3 arrived back in 2009 and has since sold over 10 million copies. The game was supplemented by ten expansion packs, including World Adventures and Ambitions. Maxis also released a number of Stuff Packs with new in-game objects.
The downside to extensive post-release support is that sequels are bittersweet. You've accumulated all these new features and items in The Sims 3 and you won't be able to take them with you into Sims 4. Players will have a new game to play, but the base game will almost certainly have less content than TS3 and all of its expansions combined. The comments section for Maxis' announcement have a healthy dose of this pre-sequel anxiety.
Maxis will announce additional details on The Sims 4 later today.