We're now close enough to The Sims 4's release date to get a launch trailer. Maxis has released a minute-and-a-half of new gameplay footage showing off the many faces of the Sims.
The variety of the Sims is one of Maxis' major talking points about The Sims 4. They say that the new Create-a-Sim mode allows players to easily create characters of various shapes and sizes. The revised Build Mode is designed to make the Sims' homes just as easy to construct and personalize.
Maxis says that the Sims will be smarter as well. The new emotion and personality features will supposedly ensure that they behave in more interesting ways. This will help players in crafting unique stories with their characters.
There have been some black clouds circling over The Sims 4 lately. Maxis did dodge a bullet by not making the game always-online. However, there are other details about the game that have caused long-time Sims fans some concern.
First, Maxis revealed that Sims 4 wouldn't be available on Mac at launch. Then they announced that pools and toddlers wouldn't be in the base game. This led many players to assume that Maxis was planning to nickel and dime them with DLC - a suspicion seemingly confirmed by the Premium subscription plans.
The most recent controversy came this week when critics revealed that they weren't getting review copies prior to the game's release. In other words, the first The Sims 4 reviews will be arriving after thousands of consumers have already spent money on it. This is a little concerning because publishers sometimes use a launch-day embargo to squelch negative buzz about their product. There could be a valid reason behind the review copies being withheld, like wanting reviewers to try the game on the public servers with a significant amount of other players. Given some of the other controversies over the game, though, some players expect the worse.
There's also the general pessimism that seems to hang over every new EA release. Gamers have been burned by that company's products a few times in recent history - SimCity, Battlefield 4 and Dungeon Keeper's remake being the prime examples - so they're a bit gun-shy. Even if these other Sims 4 controversies hadn't come up, I imagine gamers would still be looking at this game with suspicion.
The Sims 4 team, to their credit, has tried to beat back the negativity surrounding their game. First they announced that The Sims 3 owners would be getting exclusive rewards in Sims 4 to reward them for their loyalty to the series. They also released a free demo of the Create-a-Sim mode, so that players can get hands-on time with one of the big new achievements. The studio's been releasing a steady amount of new gameplay footage over the months as well.
It's going to be an interesting to see what happens on September 2nd when The Sims 4 officially launches. There's a dedicated fanbase that will buy Sims games no matter what. Whether Sims 4 ends up being a massive hit or a misstep "for hardcore fans of the series only" will depend on whether the good and new features can balance out the ones that are either missing or repurposed as DLC.