The lights are on
Today’s announcement of The Sims 4 was exciting, but also inevitable. And just as sure as a new Sims game is the steady stream of add-ons that follow it. The team at Maxis considers many options when deciding what to explore in these expansion packs, and plenty of ideas never get produced – maybe for good reason. These are the concepts that we imagine littering the cutting room floor.
Sims can do all kinds of cool things in their free time. Reading, writing, chess, stargazing all help the people in your household develop into well-rounded individuals. Unfortunately, not everyone has normal pastimes, and that's what this expansion explores. Players get access to range of awkward hobbies (and associated props and materials) that are sure to raise a red flag at any social function. Taxidermy, model trains, bottle cap collecting, and historical recreation are just a handful of the new hobbies that will help transform your sim into that weird neighbor who everyone avoids. If you do manage to engage someone in conversation, the unnerving intensity and jarring non sequiturs perfectly highlight your sims' bizarre new obsession.
Previous Sims expansion have focused on giving players more career options, but none of them have truly captured the occasionally thrilling, often defeating process of actually obtaining a job. Instead of getting hired automatically after choosing a profession, sims now have to apply and get accepted. This entails assembling an attractive resume, attending interviews, and dealing with the crippling self-doubt that comes from not getting a response. When sims finally land a job, they get a big boost to their happiness meter – but their optimism and ambition slowly degrade over time.
The stuff packs are a staple of the Sims franchise. Unlike the meatier expansions, these additions just give your sims more things. But what if those things didn't work? That's the idea behind Broken Stuff! The included items simulate the anxiety and disappointment that results from faulty or defective purchases. Stylish new clothing and opulent furnishings tempt you to open your wallet, but as soon as you get them home, they reveal their substandard craftsmanship. Whereas broken items in The Sims can typically be repaired, the objects in Broken Stuff are too exotic to be fixed traditionally; your sim must spend hours on the phone (in real time) arguing with the manufacturer and trying to get a refund.
From vampires to dead sims coming back as ghosts, Supernatural elements have been a part of many chapters in The Sims. With Monster Mash, Maxis finally goes all-in to cash in on the popularity of dumb superstitions. This expansion introduces all kinds of mythical beasts into your world. Werewolves, Sasquatch, Nessie, Jackalopes, and other tall tales will stalk your neighborhood. Maybe Katy Perry is back as some kind of banshee? Anyway, the goal in Monster Mash is to take blurry photos of these creatures, follow dubious clues, and ultimately have your sim get cast in a reality show about hunting his/her beast of choice.
The University expansion packs have covered the college years, but what happens to your sims after that? That's the question answered in this add-on, which has you moving your sims back into their parents' homes. This results in a low cost of living for your sim; food is free, the bills get paid, and there's cable TV. Of course, this freedom comes at a price. All of the traditional customization tools are locked out, leaving you unable to alter the architecture or decorations in your living space. You also have to deal with mood-lowering conversations about curfews, loud music, and relative shower length.
Though it technically doesn't add any new content, this expansion offloads significant calculations to a central server, transforming your single-player simulation into an always-online wonderland. Your house will have to be smaller than normal, but you can invite your friends to your neighborhood (when that feature works) and send them gifts (which take forever to process). Just don't get disconnected, because your sims' lives will roll back and you'll lose a bunch of progress. Of course, this is the least likely expansion on this list, because no one would ever buy it.
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