EA going ahead with one of its most successful franchises amid tumultuous changes.
Electronic Arts has announced that its Maxis label, once the developer name for Will Wright's 'Sim City' studio, is bringing 'The Sims 4' in 2014. The announcement was made on EA's website without much accompaniment, but the game is has been slotted for the PC and Mac platforms without any mention of consoles or smartphones.
It has been nearly four years since 'The Sims 3' released, and a 2014 date for 'The Sims 4' is in line with the series' normal sequel interval. And yet, the announcement comes as EA continues through a huge shake-up from the CEO down. At the same time as various projects are being cut or restructured, EA continues to push its Origin platform, an initiative that seems to have driven a wedge between EA and Nintendo.
EA is also still trying to navigate the treacherous waters that resulted from the 'Sim City' launch debacle. The ongoing bad PR from the game's controversial always-online requirement is still heightened by stories of disconnects and lost saves, but the game is nonetheless a success. Maintaining that success and downplaying player issues may be one reason why EA has stopped short of providing much beyond a confirmation of development for 'The Sims 4.'
While 'Sim City' was a re-launch of a franchise that had fallen off to the wayside, 'The Sims' is huge franchise that has traditionally worked off-line with fans purchasing major expansions and content packs to fuel the success. That audience, which has remained faithful through the explosion of fremium Facebook and iOS games, may not be thrilled to find a new version that demands a constant internet connection and online-only saves.
EA or "Maxis" to provide further details soon.
Author: Brian Hoss