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It has a long way to go still.
Designer Maxis has been showing off its early experiments exploring what this “next generation” Sims video game might be like, and the studio has now shared a bit more as part of its most recent Sims stream, even though the release of The Sims 5 (or Project Rene, as EA is currently calling it) is still some significant way off.
EA teased a game built on a structure of “captivating sims, effective tools, and significant stories” when Project Rene was announced in October 2015, and that it would be designed with real-time cooperation in mind (solo play is still supported) and be playable simultaneously across a series of devices, including mobile and PC.
Although the most recent airing of Project Rene in EA’s brand-new Behind the Sims display (which also had a lot to say about horses) only provided a brief glimpse of the expanded imagination tools inspired by The Sims 3’s Create a Style options, it did enter into a little bit more detail about what The Sims 5 might look like if Maxis’ present experiments prove worthwhile.
The Sims: Season 2, Episode 2 (YouTube)
Maxis claims that “new lighting innovations” will allow them to create “extremely customisable areas and let players tell mentally resonant stories.” As for animation, Maxis is sticking with a technique it calls “check out the space,” which is supposed to help players deduce the Sims’ emotions from their actions alone, taking into account the Sims’ thoughts, feelings, and postures.
The studio’s approach to socialisation is informed by this minimalist approach, in which they experiment with “how little we can get away with” by doing away with conventional concept balloons and user interface elements. The company claims it is currently investing on “clear, lively, simple visuals” to determine “just how much details is excessive, insufficient” in order to zero in on the optimal zone for conveying crucial information to players.