I was the kid that didn’t like sharing her toys.
Ever the introvert, I wanted my dolls left as I’d left them, dammit, and so it should come as no surprise that I’m none too happy with the announcement that they’re considering multiplayer options for The Sims 5.
Old time fans will remember the grumbling when EA previously tried the force the game to be always online when The Sims 3 was at its peak, and you’re probably even older if you remember The Sims Online or The Sims Social and harassing all your Facebook friends.
Basically, I’m here to convince you that The Sims 5 should stick to its roots and stay as it started.
Single player, offline, and totally ridiculous.
At its core, The Sims is a very personal series.
My favourite thing about it is that literally everyone has a different take on it the way they want to play it. I’ve never run into the same content twice, even if I was horrified when I found out my best friend had kicked out Ripp Grunt and dyed Johnny Nigmos’ hair black.
It’s an intricately detailed universe you can build from the ground up, and there’s something incredibly soothing about that level of control; if I want zebra stripe curtains, I can have them!
Every character has their story, and you can send it any which way, even if it is taking great pleasure in turning Pauline Wan into a homewrecker.
My point is, it’s a dollhouse simulator catered to your whims, ugly bright pink carpets and all. It’s not IMVU. If you turn this series into something that’s solely meant to be interacted with by other players, you’re going to lose a lot of the key aspects that make the series special in the first place.
Multiplayer either means it’s going to be ala Fallout 76 with players throwing nukes at each other left and right, or it’s going to be heavily watered down to a handful of features so everyone can play it at once.
Bear in mind, we already lost a lot of the features The Sims 3 had when transitioning to The Sims 4. A lot of those were off putting enough that it turned me off 4 altogether, because give me my Create a Style or give me death. The fact that even the concept of a multiplayer entry to the franchise is difficult to envision, to me, is worrying enough in itself.
We all know EA Games are notorious for making games riddled with micro transactions (Battlefront 2, anyone?) and the last thing players want or need is pay to win. The Sims Store was a nice compromise to this, with all the outfits and lots I could want, but none essential to the main game.
Plus, in the worst case scenario that it does turn into a micro transaction-riddled hellscape, what happens to all that content players have paid for once the game shuts down its servers?
My point is, we already have a thriving multiplayer community, just not in the way you think. The Sims fandom is primarily comprised of three main groups; the storytellers, the modders, and the architects. It doesn’t matter which game you’re playing – The Sims 2 is still hugely popular, and that came out in 2004!
You have thousands of players sharing legacies, mods, custom content, houses and lots they’ve built, and all with the added benefit of it being untouched and unspoiled by other players.
My other caveat is that if the game does translate to a mixture of single player and online multiplayer, well… EA doesn’t have the best track record for this kind of thing. It’s sadly likely that the single player side would become neglected and ignored in favour of the multiplayer side that provides consistent money coming in. If there was an assurance this wouldn’t happen? I’d be down for it.
Overall, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ve had three great games and one average one (because you might have guessed but The Sims 4 and I aren’t friends). It’s a great model that’s worked well so far, and it’s the only game like it on the market. I’d hate to see it fall apart, and I’m eager to see what The Sims 5 brings.