Is something rotten in the world of Electronic Art’s popular The Sims franchise?
SimGuruDrak is the Global Community Manager for The Sims. Think of her as the official Sims 4 social media guru. On March 14, SimGuruDrake broke the collective hearts of millions of fans. According to SimGuruDrake, there will be no new release for The Sims 4 in March 2016.
The news comes after a string of three Sims 4 releases in as many months. December 2015 saw the release of The Sims 4: Get Together. January 2016 saw the release of The Sims 4: Movie Hangout Stuff and the addition of movie themed items to the base game. To mark Valentine’s Day, Maxis released The Sims 4 Romantic Garden Stuff. Game patches coincided with each release, adding functionality to users even if they hadn’t purchased the update.
There is a precedent for the missed release month in the Sims 4 era. After the March 2015 release of the first expansion pack, Maxis didn’t release more new material until May 2015. A gap of nearly two months. But that history might not make the bitter pill any easier for fans of the long-running The Sims franchise to swallow.
Fans on the official Sims forum seemed understanding. But a few voiced displeasure at the lack of communication between EA/Maxis and simmers.
“What does it say about the state of things when we’re happy to receive an announcement that there will be no new pack released? Any news is better than no news? That feels so backwards.”
In fact, lack of communication seems to be the benchmark of Maxis’ promotion strategy in the Sims 4 era.
According to IGN, Maxis announced the release of The Sims 4: Get Together at Gamescon 2015. Yet, The Sims 4: Get Together launched in December 2015. Less than one month separated the announcement and release of The Sims 4: Get Together.The Sims 4: Get to Work gave eager fans more lead time, with four months separating the announcement and launch
Delayed announcements seem like a brilliant marketing strategy. It maximizes excitement while avoiding pesky doubt common to far-off release windows. A similar strategy worked brilliantly for Bethesda’s launch of Fallout 4. Yet, there are signs that the loyal Sims franchise fans are tired of finding things out at the last minute.
More than that, fans of The Sims 4 are overdue for a major release. The most recent expansion pack, Get Together, dropped almost four months ago. The most recent game pack, The Sims 4: Spa Day, dropped more than eight months ago.
As if to throw a proverbial bone to their long-suffering fans, Maxis announced a new patch for March 2016. The new patch would revisit the popular Bunny Egg Hunt mechanic from 2015. It will also add the character Jasmine Holiday to the game. According to the official The Sims website, Jasmine Holiday is a non-playable character. If a playable sim finds Jasmine, she will give them a new item. The new items, Growfruit seeds, can be grown into mature plants. If the sim grows twenty Growfruit, Jasmine will give them a new planter. If the sim grows a perfect Growfruit, Jasmine will give them a bedazzled planter.
Game patches are the one area where The Sims 4 shines. Since it’s September 2014 release, the patches have added functions like swimming pools and ghosts. Both features Maxis took a public relations hit for not being including in the base game at launch. Since then, the patches have often added items tied to holidays free of charge.
But a patch seems like small consolation for content-hungry fans. What does Maxis have in store to satisfy them? It may be a major content update in a tiny package.
According to Simsvip, SimGuruDrake stickied a thread on the official forums in early March 2016. The thread is devoted to toddlers, a life stage controversially removed from The Sims 4 and often demanded by fans. Which means toddlers are coming, and they will be based on fans’ requests. Maxis can only hope that news holds fans over until the next announcement.
The Jasmine Holiday and Bunny Egg Hunt patch drops March 22. Fans of The Sims 4 will have one month to complete the challenges before they disappear forever. At least, until next year.
[Image via EA/The Sims]