We managed to infiltrate a secret behind closed doors showing of Sims 3 at this yearâ€™s GCA event in Singapore. Well, we were invited, but it sounds better if we pretend to be sneaky ninjas. Even if pirates are better.
Anywayâ€¦we saw a work in progress build that gave us a good idea of what to expect for the latest in this super popular franchise. The key thing that got across was seamlessness â€“ you can move from your own house to your neighbourhood to the centre of town without any separation, which on its own makes Sims 3 worth watching.
The demo showed two flat mates at a dinner party. One was a wannabe politician, while the other wanted a career in the army. The former was into schmoozing, and the latter wasnâ€™t. This caused some tension when the politician felt the need to chat up the guests with an inspirational speech â€“ while he came away happy, the army guy was kind of annoyed.
Come day break, and the two wandered into town. The politician went to City Hall to continue working, while his flat mate started protesting outside, eventually drawing in other sims to help him out. Finally, the politician accepted an offer to launder some money, was promptly fired, and then got invited by the mob into the criminal underworld.
So yes, itâ€™s another typical day in the world of the Sims. But there are a few key features that make this one special, and feel like a true sequel.
The way sims display their needs and desires â€“ and how they are portrayed within the game â€“ has been given an overhaul. Iâ€™m not enough of a Sims fan to know in detail whatâ€™s come before, but the new system appears much more cohesive and sensible. Youâ€™ll be able to compile a bunch of mini-traits within each sim, which are selectable depending on the more major paths you choose to set them down. So you could make your sim a neurotic kleptomaniac, for example, and sit back and watch them live a rather odd life. It seemed like a promising way to inject a further degree or personalisation into the game.
The character creator â€“ and indeed all of the editing tools â€“ has also been significantly bumped up. The amount of customisation available to you is staggering â€“ you can truly make digital versions of yourself, your friends, and any famous people you might want to live next to. The clothing options are similarly flexible, as are the furniture and housing decorations. If you wanted, you could have an entire house with camouflage patterns, and a suit to match.
And as mentioned above, the game world is seamless. This results in everything happening more dynamically, and youâ€™ll feel much more like part of an integrated world, rather than sending your sim off to work, or flicking to separate screens for different areas. This is one of the big things that will get fans all excited.
The game is coming out in the first half of 2009, so until then keep locking your older, less pretty sims in the attic and letting them starve to death.