For all its light satire and the ‘50s optimistism in its soundtrack, The Sims has always been deadly serious in letting players live the kind of suburban American dream most of us will never witness, let alone afford.
It turns out swimming pools are a huge part of that. News that they’d be missing from The Sims 4 at launch has been met with upset by the series’ community.
“Drowning sims is the sims,” wrote one disgruntled Redditor. “You might as well take away the green diamonds over their heads while you’re at it.”
Sims Team producer Ryan Vaughan wrote a preemptive bid for calm on the official Sims site this Wednesday.
“While we recognize that some of you will be disappointed that pools and toddlers won’t be available when The Sims 4 Base Game launches in September, you should know that we’re building an incredibly strong foundation that is capable of fulfilling every one of your desires in the years to come,” he wrote.
In The Sims 3, offspring progressed from babies, to toddlers, to children. Now, in a move that weary parents are likely to enjoy, they’ll presumably hop straight from the crib to school.
Vaughan hoped that community disappointment would be offset by the game’s other creative features, driven by the “most powerful and fun Build Mode we’ve ever created”.
“While it’s not possible for us to include every single feature and piece of content we added to The Sims 3 over the last 5 years, we’ve added features that you’ve asked for and that offer a whole new intuitive and fun way to build,” he said.
Vaughan referenced new tools like wall height adjustment, dynamic foundation sizing and something called Smart Windows.
“Though pool building won’t be available in September, we do have a new Fountain Tool so you can create sophisticated landscapes,” he added.
The relentless expansioning of The Sims means each new game inevitably represents a relative downsizing from the last - but it does seem a kind of madness to remove basic features that’ve been around for the best part of a decade.
I’m reminded a little of Maxis’ compromise on town size for nu-SimCity. And we don’t really want to be reminded of SimCity’s release, do we?