The Sims 4 won't require a persistent online connection to play, Maxis revealed today. The developer revealed these details and others in a FAQ for the newly announced life simulator.
"The Sims 4 celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience," reads the FAQ. "The Sims 4 encourages players to personalize their world with new and intuitive tools while offering them the ability to effortlessly share their creativity with friends and fans."
The game isn't an entirely single-player experience, though. Maxis says there will be "additional fun and social gameplay elements" for players who choose to play online. However, that's the key phrase, there: "choose." It's up to the player.
Maxis' decision to make Sims 4's multiplayer optional might have been influenced by their experiences with the recent SimCity reboot. That game required players to be connected to game servers at all times, even when playing solo. The overcrowding on servers at launch left gamers unable to play SimCity at all. The PR headache got worse for Maxis when they insisted that an offline version of the game was impossible, an assertion quickly proven wrong by modders.
Will Maxis or parent EA make another always-online game? Of course. They managed to sell a whole lot of copies of SimCity in spite of the controversy. Still, I'd like to think the whole shitstorm over that game has led them to at least be a bit more considerate about the sort of hoops they force gamers to jump through simply to play the game they paid for.
The Sims 4 is in development for the PC and Mac at The Sims Studio in Redwood City. Maxis announced earlier today that the game will debut in 2014. You can sign up for the newsletter at TheSims.com/TheSims4.