The Sims is a life simulation game series that was developed by Maxis and The Sims Studio and published by Electronic Arts. The franchise has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide, and it is one of the best-selling video games series of all time.
The series was created by Maxis, before the development of the series transitioned to The Sims Studio between 2006 and 2008. The Sims Studio later reintegrated into the refreshed EA Maxis label in 2012, where it continues to be developed by both teams.
The games in The Sims series are largely sandbox games, in that they lack any defined goals (except for some later expansion packs and console versions which introduced this gameplay style). The player creates virtual people called "Sims" and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves. Each successive expansion pack and game in the series augmented what the player could do with their Sims.
Game designer Will Wright was inspired to create a "virtual doll house" after losing his home during the Oakland firestorm of 1991 and subsequently rebuilding his life. Replacing his home and his other possessions made him think about adapting that life experience into a game. When he initially took his ideas to the Maxis board of the directors, they were skeptical and gave little support or financing for the game. The directors at Electronic Arts, which bought Maxis in 1997, were more receptive—SimCity had been a great success for them, and they foresaw the possibility of building a strong Sim franchise.
Will Wright has also stated that The Sims was actually meant as a satire of U.S. consumer culture. Wright also took ideas from the 1977 architecture and urban design book A Pattern Language, American psychologist Abraham Maslow's 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation and his hierarchy of needs, and Charles Hampden-Turner's Maps of the Mind to develop a model for the game's artificial intelligence.
|2002||The Sims Online|
|2004||The Sims 2|
|2007||The Sims Life Stories, The Sims Pet Stories|
|2008||The Sims Castaway Stories, The Sims Carnival|
|2009||The Sims 3|
|2011||The Sims Medieval, The Sims Social, The Sims FreePlay|
|2014||The Sims 4|
|2017||The Sims Mobile|
Main Series Edit
The Sims Edit
The Sims is the first game in the series. Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, it was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2000. The game uses dimetric projection and features open-ended simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual persons ("Sims") in a suburban area near SimCity. Seven expansion packs and two bonafide deluxe editions with exclusive content have been released for this game. It was repackaged in several different formats, and different versions of it were released on several different platforms. By March 22, 2002, The Sims had sold more than 11.3 million copies worldwide, surpassing Myst as the best-selling PC game in history. The original game, all seven expansion packs, and the two exclusive deluxe edition content packs constitute the first generation of the series on the PC. All PC releases in this generation were developed by Maxis.
The Sims 2 Edit
Electronic Arts released The Sims 2 on September 14, 2004. The sequel, developed by Maxis, takes place in a full 3D environment as opposed to the dimetric projection of the original game. Sims also age through seven life stages from infancy to old age and subsequent death. Another major feature is the aspiration system. Each Sim exhibits wants and fears according to its aspiration and personality. Consequently, the level of the aspiration meter determines the effectiveness of a Sim at completing tasks. The fulfillment of wants provides aspiration points, which could then be used to purchase aspiration rewards. In addition, the game features clear days of the week, with weekends when children can stay home from school and vacation days when adults can take time off work.
The Sims 2 is set some 25 years after the original game. For instance, the Goth family has aged significantly with Bella Goth mysteriously vanishing ("dying") at some point in the 25-year period. Because the entire game has progressed from 2D sprites to 3D models, all content in The Sims 2 had to be created from the ground up. Due to this, The Sims 2 was not made backwards-compatible with any content from the first generation of the main series. However, some objects and features from the original series were remade for this sequel.
Electronic Arts released eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs for The Sims 2. Over 400 exclusive items were also released for this game via The Sims 2 Store. In addition, exclusive items including pre-order items were released over the life cycle of this generation. All of these releases constitute the second generation of the main series.
The Sims Studio was created in 2006, and between then and 2008 the development of the franchise was slowly handed over to the new studio from Maxis, with the former studio now focusing its resources on its next project—Spore.
The Sims 3 Edit
Electronic Arts released The Sims 3 to retailers worldwide and available by digital download on June 2, 2009. The sequel, developed by The Sims Studio, was announced by EA in November 2006. The game is set 25 years prior the original game, and features an open, seamless neighborhood, improved tools for Sim creation, enhanced build and buy mode functions, and the introduction of wishes and goals. The game also introduces a new form of directed gameplay through small, step-wise goals presented as opportunities which the player may choose to pursue or refuse. The Sims 3 sold 1.4 million copies in the first week, making it the largest release in PC gaming history at the time. The game has sold over 10 million copies worldwide since its release.
EA announced on April 8, 2009 that Will Wright, who designed the original game, had left Maxis to run Stupid Fun Club, an entertainment development studio founded in 2001 to develop "new intellectual properties to be deployed across multiple fronts including video games, movies, television, the Internet, and toys".
In 2013, an EA restructure saw The Sims Studio reintegrated with the revitalized EA Maxis label. Since the 9th expansion of The Sims 3, University Life, which was released in March 2013, the Sims franchise has been back in development control of EA Maxis, including expansion packs and new developments, with The Sims Studio operating inside of the label.
Eleven expansion packs and nine stuff packs were released for the third generation of the series. In addition, many items are available online for additional fees at The Sims 3 Store. The core game and its associated releases constitute the third generation of the main series.
The Sims 4 Edit
Electronic Arts officially announced The Sims 4 on May 6, 2013. At the time of the first announcement, there was little information available about the game short of a logo, some concept art, and promotional trailers published to YouTube on August 20, 2013. The announcement did include that the game was in development by EA Maxis, and within it, The Sims Studio. The Sims 4 takes place in an alternative setting from the previous installment of the game. Later in 2014, further details on features and gameplay were announced. A release date of September 2, 2014 was announced at E3 2014.
As of January 2018, five game packs, four expansion packs, and twelve stuff packs have been released for the fourth generation of the series. Updates have added content that was previously absent due to time restraints or other reasons, such as basements, ghosts, pools, and toddlers. New careers have also been added.