"We really invested in the Sims," said Rachel Franklin, VP Executive Producer on Sims 4. "They have big personalities."
That seems clear: The latest Sims emote in such exaggerated, wonderfully animated fashion that only an alien could fail to read them. Even when Sims don't react as you would expect, it can lead to fun results. For example, one of my Sims was making breakfast and he set the stove ablaze. His roommate came in like a champ with a fire extinguisher, killing the flames while another roommate squirmed in terror. The Sim who set the fire, however, simply watched with an air of calm and annoyance. As if to say, "You're ruining my fire. You're RUINING. MY. FIRE."
There is now a search bar, which allows you to easily find a "guitar" for example, or a "chess set." Also, if your sim is low on a certain life requirement, you can click on the corresponding yellow or red bar – this will automatically queue the action you need to turn their life around. Sims can also multitask now, so they can exercise while talking or watching TV.
To make this point abundantly clear, the gentleman sitting next to me at the demonstration, Robbert Hamburger – "just here with my girlfriend" because she runs a Sims fan site – made an amazing house in under an hour. I really, really wanted it.
"Content is fun. New things to play with are fun. They aren't nearly as amazing and important as The Sims themselves and having a Sim that you connect with, and who can connect with another Sim and create relationships and stories that have meaning and expand off. That's what gives that content life," Franklin added.
As Sims satisfy their whims and aspirations, they can buy bonus rewards in the store. Some potions will make them more confident, while others will make them have septic tank bladders that don't need ... depositing.
Of course, this being the Sims, not EVERYTHING is in there on the first go-around. Let's not kid ourselves, there's plenty to add. You know, like guys having chest hair.
Franklin recognized as much, saying, "I love how much we've put into the ethnicities. I think that there's more hair I want to create. It's hard. It's hard to create really good curly hair. But I feel really passionately about it that there are so many styles we can make with curls."
Franklin wouldn't confirm if the first expansion to the game would be a "Body and Curly Hair" add-on.
From the hours I spent with the game, I am well aware I didn't dig deep enough into the content that's there. The key thing here is when The Sims 4 launches on September 2, it will have been a long time since I really dug into a Sims game. The Sims 4 is already making me build houses in my head.