I mentioned some time back on my Facebook page about the possibility that the newest Sims reiteration, The Sims 4, had the scent of having problems written all over it. Well, that whiff of problems is quickly turning into a resounding chorus of negativity.
Initially we found out that EA had cut an entire life stage out of the game. Sorry folks, no more toddlers. But they will give you some half-assed infant state where they don't do much of anything and can only be interacted with right next to their baby carriage. Big whoop.
If they wanted to cut a life stage, they should've just wiped out the infants as they always have been on the lame side. But that's beside the point. They should not have cut out an entire life stage at all. It reeks of programming laziness and not even understanding the game you’re working on.
We’ve been through that silliness before when EA released the World Adventures Expansion Pack for The Sims 3, which turned out to be a glitch ridden, weak and feeble attempt, at an adventure puzzle solving game to entice other types of gamers to The Sims franchise. It was a major fail.
Next we found out that there would be no swimming pools in The Sims 4. That meant not only no pools, but everything that went with them including bathing suits. Once gain, Hot Tubs have hit the road as well.
So now they've deleted one major Sim Recreation, one entire life stage, and one entire section of the wardrobe as a side effect.
Third, we found out that the customization we were used to having in The Sims 3 Create–a–Sim was being watered down to the point that your choices were strictly limited. This also meant no more customizing your clothes, your furniture, your house, your walls, or anything else beyond anything except what EA could sell you. You would have only a limited select number of patterns and colors to use as well. Big whoop.
Fourth, teenagers, adults, and elders would all be the same height, once again erasing part of the line that separated the life stages from one another. One of those not so subtle cost cutting for profit measures to keep from having to design a more specific clothing line for teens? No doubt.
EA ballyhooed new Sims Emotions and Interactions, but we finally realized that this was nothing more than putting lipstick on the pig. A new name for the same old same old.
When all was said and done and everything was added up there was a list of 89 features removed from the Sims game. So take your pick. It is either a game that was rushed out incomplete, or it's the usual cynical EA bullshit of leaving items out to sell them at a premium in their overpriced, Sim Fan Raking Sims store later on. No group of gamers has been more gullible when it comes to EA's cash driven snow jobs than some of the rabid diehard Sims fans.
Now comes word that EA is withholding pre-release copies of the game for review. Usually this is a sign of trouble ahead. It's a way of getting through the first week of sales without facing the criticisms that are just on the horizon.
From the Escapist:
Some gamers (like the ones on Reddit) feel this tactic will give EA a leg-up on first-week sales, as most reviews for the game won’t be made available until near the end of the week, and by that time The Sims 4 will have sold enough to look good enough to the average shareholder. It sounds like a petty corporate device for sales, but that’s the kind of sad times we live in.
EA doesn’t need to win, though. The smart thing to do is to NOT buy the game until you can read or watch reviews from sources you trust. Avoid the pre-order gimmicks and don’t buy into any digital bonus deals until you know for certain the game is worth the price of entry.
EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson can talk up about getting around to “listening” to their core audience, as mentioned in the interview with GamesIndustry.biz, but it doesn’t mean you have to keep letting them get away with their crap while they eventually learn the hard way what “listening” means.
As gamers, we don’t have to get burned every time in order to learn the lesson of not putting our hands in the fire. We should see the flames, feel the heat, and learn from the past mistakes of companies we’ve come to know to scorch us with shoddy releases and bull-crap-ridden corporate antics.
Here is my prediction that I made on Mod The Sims. The Sims is always a big preorder game, and EA will use those preorder sales numbers to boast that the game is another big seller and to deflect the heavy criticism that is sure to come afterwards. They hope (and may be right) that nobody will care by the time the game is reviewed. At any rate, in three days we should begin to have our answer. And yes, one way or the other I’ll be writing about it here. Stay tuned.