Oh no! The Sims franchise is dead, long live the Sims.
Like many of you, I saw the writing on the wall that EA has laid off most of The Sims staff due to budget cuts as many have moved to mobile teams. To be completely honest, with all the enjoyment of The Sims series since I was a teenager (13 years old) starting with the console versions until I get The Sims 3 and its expansion packs, TS3 and TS4 custom content, and a number of hiatuses since I bought The Sims 4 via EA Origin, I’m surprised that the series didn’t die earlier. I’m quite happy with the series and am sad to see that there will not be a Sims 5, expansion pack, or a game pack for The Sims 4. 😢
Here’s the timeline for The Sims series that I grew up with (Caution: Some YouTube links may be blocked in your country when clicked, also, no stuff packs for this article, sorry!):
The Sims (first released on 02/04/2000, later released on the PlayStation 2, GameCube, and the Original Xbox in 2003)
This is the first game I discovered until I had the Xbox version due to the hefty 1593KB on the PS2 memory cards. The composers for this game are Jerry Martin and Marc Russo. Edge of Reality took the role as the developer for the console versions as the console versions do not possess any expansion packs.
The console versions of the first game have the introduction of a “Get a Life” (changed to “Bust Out” in Bustin’ Out) goals-based story mode. Other notable changes include a full 3D camera perspective (as opposed to the original 2D isomeric viewpoint) more detailed appearances of Sims. In The Sims Bustin’ Out, the first Sims game not to be released on the PC, the Sims can get out of the house to visit other locations. The expansion packs for the first game are Livin’ Large and Hot Date.
The Sims Online (pictured below, released in late 2002 without any release dates in Europe) was an MMO variation on Maxis’ computer game The Sims. It was later shut down on August 1, 2008.
The Sims 2 (first released on 09/14/2004, later released on Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, and the Original Xbox in late 2005/early 2006)
When I first started playing the PlayStation 2 version, the Get a Life and Free Play share a single file as opposed to the first game on the console ports. The console version of The Sims 2 featured local splitscreen multiplayer, a story mode, and an option to control the Sims directly (which is somewhat similar to the Shenmue series), as opposed to queuing options. When my niece started watching me playing the game on the PS2, she was like this:
“Ew, you can’t just talk to girls!”
“Who are you talking to? Talking to yourself?” (male Sims do sound the same while using the TALK command)
“You got a growing couch?” (after placing the “Sprouch Couch”)
When the music is playing through a boombox or other audio equipment in the game, I discovered Ryan Ferguson’s “Suddenly”. The console version doesn’t have any kids or babies, and it doesn’t have the player’s mother (as opposed to the console versions of the first game). Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo and Rugrats fame) composed the music for this game. The expansion packs are University, Nightlife, Open for Business, Pets, Seasons, Bon Voyage, FreeTime, and Apartment Life prior to the closure of the servers and the official website on January 14th, 2013.
The Sims 3 (first released on 06/02/2009, later released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and the Nintendo DS between fall 2010 and spring 2011)
I got my hands on The Sims 3 (with two expansion packs) as the graphics look more smooth than their predecessors. You can make a family or with siblings with your created Sims, including the personalities, life stories, wishes, dreams, and favorite things. The music for the game was composed by Steve Jablonsky. Like many songs, all of their songs are in Simlish. One of the expansion packs (Ambitions) has Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”, as several famous artists were hired to record songs in Simlish in the game’s expansion packs. I do have screenshots of the game prior to the complete removal, so I’ll dump some memorable screenshots.
The Ambitions expansion pack has “Skill Careers”, which lets the Sims go into the city hall for self-employment, instead of having a boss like the original game. The expansion packs are World Adventures, Ambitions, Late Night, Generations, Pets, Showtime, Supernatural, Seasons, University Life, Island Paradise, and Into the Future.
On August 11th, 2017, the online features for three expansion packs have been shut down, as well as The Sims 4 Gallery (including the iOS and Android devices). EA has yet to put a definite date for the shutdown of the game’s official website.
The Sims 4 (first released 09/02/2014, released on the macOS on 02/17/2015, and the PS4 and the Xbox One in late 2017)
This game does not have an online DRM as opposed to the then-newly released SimCity 5, which has a lot of “server busy” messages. Maxis’ Emeryville studio was closed in March 2015, moving the development of Maxis titles to other EA studio locations. Employees of the Emeryville studio were “given opportunities to explore” other positions within Maxis and other EA studios. The game’s composer is Ilan Eshkeri. The base game originally shipped with two worlds (which it was first introduced in The Sims 3): Willow Creek and Oasis Springs. Both worlds contain five neighborhoods and a total of 21 lots. With the release of Outdoor Retreat, the world Granite Falls was available for visiting on outdoor vacations.
The expansion packs for this game are Get To Work, Get Together (don’t plop any Phineas and Ferb puns here!), City Living, and Cats & Dogs — as well as the game packs which include Outdoor Retreat, Spa Day, Dine Out, Vampires, Parenthood, and Jungle Adventure.