The Sims 4 is starting to feel its age. After nearly a decade of new content, features, game updates, expansions, kits and game packs, there’s not much rope left – and it’s high time we start talking about the future of the franchise.
While The Sims 4 is an excellent game, now jam-packed with activities, aspirations and career paths, it feels like it’s heading towards a precipice. Recent releases like My Wedding Stories and High School Years have accelerated calls for a more holistic franchise update, with both injecting the simulator with a number of uncanny bugs at launch.
You can keep adding content to the game, but it will eventually reach a point where new packs aren’t enough to keep players hooked. It will also seemingly reach a point where game code starts to overlap and contradict itself, creating major, game-breaking issues (see the game’s recent incest troubles).
The Sims 4 has had a great run – but now, it’s time to start talking about The Sims 5. What’s next for the franchise? What can we expect from new content packs? What is there left to improve?
While EA has teased the future of the franchise with ‘Project Rene‘, we still don’t know much about this experience beyond its customisation capabilities. Should Project Rene turn out to be a fully-fledged sequel, here’s everything that we’d love to see included.
Cars are a must-have feature
Given The Sims 4 is not really an open-world game – you need to travel between biomes via a loading screen – there’s really no need for purchasable cars. But being able to buy a car would be very cool, and you could even expand gameplay by introducing car maintenance and upgrades.
Fewer rabbit holes in the game’s world
The Sims 4 has a tendency to send players into ‘rabbit holes’ – invisible spaces where Sims disappear for hours on end, while they’re performing some activity or another. Many careers send Sims to rabbit holes, which renders them unplayable.
The Sims 5 should change this.
If your Sim needs to go to work or school, you should be able to follow them (the Get to Work and High School Years expansions went some way towards fixing this, but it should be in the base game). A game is designed to be played – and having Sims disappear for hours at a time is unfortunate.
Bring back stories for every character
The Sims 2 remains incredibly well-loved, thanks to its deep lore and stories. Every neighbourhood you visit is populated by unique characters, each of which has spooky, romantic, funny, or ordinary back stories that inform their wants and desires in the game. Some of these backstories also present major mysteries – like how Bella Goth disappeared, and ended up in Strangetown.
It’s these stories that have stuck most with players – and exactly what The Sims 5 should focus on. Narrative hooks can keep gameplay fresh and interesting, and spice up every neighbourhood in the game. The Sims 5 will certainly get by fine without a story, but having a robust cast and plenty of secrets will likely engage a range of new and returning players.
Let The Sims 5 be weird
Speaking of secrets – The Sims is frankly littered with them. There’s the secret of Bella’s alien abduction, and the secret of the strange cow plant. Going beyond the PC games, there are also secrets about cow cults, alien invasions, and killer robots. The Sims is a weird, weird franchise – but it’s been many years since it’s actually been allowed to be weird.
The Sims 4: StrangerVille was a great game pack that introduced weirder concepts and stories to the game, including alien plants and mind control, but it’s essentially a standalone adventure. EA and Maxis have never revisited this idea of more creative, wilder stories – but they should. There’s always weirdness lurking on the outskirts of The Sims, and the next game should welcome it.
Online multiplayer would be a massive plus
Now, this wishlist has so far stuck with realistic asks – but you can’t talk about The Sims 5 without mentioning its potential to be a massive, online-compatible game. Imagine being able to create your perfect digital house, and inviting your best mates over for a Sim party. Sure, things like input control and relationship building might get a bit funky with multiple players inputting commands – but even a small dose of multiplayer fun would help The Sims 5 feel like a fresh new chapter.
If The Sims Online could do it relatively well in 2002, there’s no reason why the mainline Sims game can’t have multiplayer interactivity and friend hangouts in the 2020s.
Bring back Fairies, please
While many of the fan-favourite supernatural types have already returned in The Sims 4, fairies are still missing. There’s a frankly excellent mod made by SpinningPlumbobs that re-introduces this life state, but it’s not quite the same as having a robust fairy experience in the game.
Should The Sims 5 re-introduce supernatural Sims – as it should, they’re a massive part of the franchise – it’s essential that fairies come along for the ride. These creatures are a bunch of fun to play, they’ve got a range of nature-themed abilities, and they also look very cute.
Fairies are sorely missed in The Sims 4, and should be a priority in the next game.
More food options, and better restaurants
The Sims 4 has become a huge game for foodies, with plenty of mods to expand out the game’s range of available snacks, bakes, and dishes. It’s a lot of fun to cook in The Sims, and the Sims 5 could take this fun even further with better ranges of foods, new cooking utensils and machines, and access to more unique eating options.
Restaurants, for example, could offer a wider range of foods for Sims – including more exclusive foods that can only be found by dining out. Every trip you take in The Sims 5 should feel different, and the easiest way to accomplish this is by giving each restaurant or locale its own special selling points. Fresh dishes, new drinks, new decor – you name it.
Make The Sims 5 an absolute paradise for food lovers.
Integration of content in The Sims 4
This is another big ask – and one that’s unlikely to make the cut. The Sims 4 is the largest game in the entire franchise, with countless content packs, expansions, kits, and other additions. Asking players to fork out for these features all over again would be incredibly unfortunate.
It’s hard to work out a way around this, given the expansion pack system is how The Sims has always functioned – but there’s potential for The Sims 5 to either be backwards compatible with prior packs – the ideal outcome – or to have the game include many of the best Sims 4 expansion features in its base version.
Seasons, for example, are fantastic and help to differentiate each game day. These should be included with the base game. Having high school be a real place you can visit is also great, and should be included. Parenthood content feels essential, as does Laundry Day Stuff. Keep all of this content in the base game, and reduce how many packs players will have to re-buy when the time comes.
Improved understanding of gender, sexuality, and relationships
As a result of The Sims 4 being a near-decade old, it has a very binary understanding of gender and identity. This is a limitation that has been directly addressed by EA and Maxis – and while developers are currently working to implement new ideas of gender and sexuality into the game, the gender bounds remain a bugbear.
The Sims 5 has the potential to present a major rethink of character creation, and what part gender really plays in a Sim’s life. You should be able to create non-binary Sims, for example – and set custom pronouns. Games are for everyone, and everyone should feel represented.
A change to character creation will also allow for better representation of sexuality as a whole. This should also come packaged with changes to the game’s entire relationship system. Sims should have better ways to connect with other Sims, and heartier options for conversations and dates that don’t just revolve around clicking buttons and queuing interactions until you can initiate that first kiss.
More random events, like thefts and accidents
Burglary is no longer included in The Sims franchise – but it absolutely should be. Life is random. The Sims 5 should be random, too. While having burglars appear on your lot was always a little bit frightening in the Sims games of the past, it was also exciting. It presented a chance to see your Sims in a whole new way, and watch them react to strange and uncanny circumstances.
Burglary also meant randomly losing objects in your house, and needing to raise more funds to replace them. Introducing even more random events, potentially ones where choices need to be made, can help keep the game surprising. You’d never know what was coming right around the corner.
Better travel and world adventure options
Going on holiday is absolutely fabulous, when you can manage it. For when you can’t, there’s always The Sims. While holidays have been included in every Sims game, they took a quiet back seat in The Sims 4, with only limited options for exploration.
Jungle Adventure was a very fun pack, but it should be expanded in The Sims 5 with better holidaying spots, including more inspired by the real world. Imagine if you could visit Australia in The Sims 5, or India, or Japan, or New Zealand. There are so many picturesque locations the game could include, with each providing your Sims an unforgettable and relaxing time.
The Sims 3: World Adventures is a great example of how to do a holiday expansion right – and the next Sims game should learn from its excellent inclusions.
What would you like to see in The Sims 5 and Project Rene? Head on over to the GamesHub Twitter account to tell us your thoughts: @GamesHubDotCom.
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