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Updated with new details from Maxis.
After nearly two hundred expansion packs* for The Sims 3, Maxis is finally moving on to the next generation of The Sims. The predictably named The Sims 4 will be coming to PC and Mac in 2014, the company has announced.
(*Not true. Exaggeration.)
Here's the original announcement:
The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world. 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.
There's no mention of "connected" or "always-on" or "social" in the announcement. We're certain that Maxis wants to avoid a repeat of SimCity's launch fiasco--but who knows what kind of design they'll take next for the next trap-people-in-bathrooms-and-watch-them-die simulator.
Update: The Sims 4 is an offline game. In an updated post, Maxis points out that 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."
You may never become famous, and so ultimately live a worthless life, but at least your Sims will get to experience that brief and fleeting moment of happiness. Electronics Arts today announced the Showtime expansion pack for The Sims 3 on PC and Mac, which will let you pressgang Sims into a life before the crowds in March 2012.
As a singer, acrobat, magician, or DJ, your Sims can take to the stage, both in your towns and those of other players. New 'SimPort' social features will let you send Sims to perform in your chum's town, or send them on tour.
As one would expect from a Sims game, you can also customize your stage with props and special effects, building the venue of your Sim's dreams.
The social gubbins will also extend to an in-game social wall for tracking your Sim's progress, boasting of their successes, sending gifts and e-cards, and other such malarkey.
Pre-ordering gets you the 'Ultimate Stage' venue as a bonus, though EA generously presents this as a free upgrade to a 'Limited Edition.'
Are you sick of your Sims getting old and haggard? It's so much more fun to keep them young and spry to suffer in your elaborate domestic death traps! Today, EA announced the "Hidden Springs" downloadable content for The Sims 3, which promises to revitalize your Sims with a combination of health spa techniques and literal magic. Why, after the pack releases on August 25, your fit and trim Sim should be able to swim in his ladder-less pool for hours before succumbing to his grisly fate.
Attractions include several spas and magical attractions, along with the "Museum of Magic and Supernatural" -- no, we didn't make a mistake, that's the real name. Redwood Heights Luxury Lodge brings you all the pleasure of snooty get-togethers with the upper crust. Your Sims can also go to the Crystal Solarium Rejuvenating Waters and the Zephyr Health Spa to get young and healthy. Plus, you can make a trip to Fairyfolk Park, which will be awfully misleading if there are no fairies. The press release also hints at a "mystery" underneath Hidden Springs that explains the town's magical properties.
The Hidden Springs content will only be available through the Sims 3 store using SimPoints. That means that if you want to buy Sims 3 through Steam, you should probably grab it while you still can. Several other Sims packs are available through Steam currently, but history has shown that once EA puts up a piece of DLC that's available exclusively through its own storefront, the game gets pulled from Valve's store. Don't be surprised if The Sims 3 disappears on August 25.