Emotions are a real pain, aren’t they? Think of all of the amazing things we could achieve if we didn’t feel anything other than the momentary satisfaction of having our needs met. I’ve been playing The Sims 3 lately, after a visit to Maxis to see the hyper-popular life simulator’s upcoming sequel. In The Sims 3, tiny virtual me has no worries other than when he’s going to eat and when he’s going to sleep.
When the toilet breaks, he gets cross – but the satisfaction of fixing the toilet (something I never thought I’d particularly go for) is sufficient to send him bounding on his happy way. He doesn’t slack off and go eat ice cream in the bath because he’s feeling down. He isn’t compelled to lay into a punch bag after a rough trip to the supermarket. He doesn’t pass by a painting and find himself compelled to go create something of his own.
Instead, he’s focused, lean and efficient. He’s had three books published and works out in the afternoon. I sort of wish I was him.
In The Sims 4, Maxis are bringing the full weight of emotion to bear on the shoulders of the game’s tiny automata. An argument might leave a Sim feeling angry, while professional failure might lead to depression. A darkened room lit by flickering candles might spur your Sim into a ‘romantic’ state, an emotion I suggested several unpublishable names for during my visit.
“We really want to dive deep and focus on the Sims’ emotional experience,” producer Ryan Vaughan says. “We feel like these Sims are more relatable and believable than ever and the content supports that.”
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