Heya! This post has been a WIP for a while, but here it is. You may have seen we got more information on Project Renee from EA. I'm here because if the information we're being given is accurate, it will effectively kill any interest I have in The Sims franchise as I see it. I'm not going to subject myself to playing it, and hopefully, by the end of this post, you might consider not subjecting yourself to it either.

I've been a fan of The Sims since The Sims 2. One of my core childhood memories is getting a virus by looking up "Sims 2 Free Online" and clicking the first two pages of results when I was about seven. Once I was able to, I bought The Sims 2 Double Deluxe and every expansion pack of it with my allowance money over time. I'm not joking, I owned every expansion pack for it. The Sims 3 was my Christmas present from my now-late uncle in 2009. I managed to convince my mother to take me to Target after my first day of high school ended and managed to snag the last copy of The Sims 4 there on release day, since our Target was in the middle of nowhere and rarely had people shopping there for electronics. I'm not exaggerating when I say a good chunk of my childhood and teenhood was spent playing The Sims. I have spent more of my life with the Sims Games installed on a computer than without them installed, and I've circled around the modding community for well over a decade.

When I was a child, we were poor. We didn't always have internet. The Sims ran offline, and that was part of the appeal. Plus, the expansion packs all made sense. Sure, some of them could have been combined, like combining the stuff packs into the expansion packs, but the thing is, they mostly made sense, and most of them (with some exceptions) were worth the money, even if they were sometimes a bit janky. Bugs are to be expected, after all, life simulators are EXTREMELY complicated to make. But then, we ended up with the Sims 4. And perhaps it was me growing older, or nostalgia goggles finally coming off, but... The Sims 4 was bad. I feel like a lot of people who are newer to The Sims series don't fully get how bad it was. It was BAD.

Part of the reason The Sims 4 was so bad at launch was because it was originally meant to be a live-service game. Once SimCity (the newer one) failed, EA panicked and had to change The Sims 4 to not be a live-service game. This is part of why we saw a severe lack of customization options in The Sims 4, especially at launch. (There's other, more complicated parts to it, but that's one of the major reasons.) This link goes into more detail than I could on all the features missing at launch. Warning for an ableist slur being used in reference to some of the things removed. Since then, although we've had more features added, the overall user experience has only gotten worse.

Take, for example, all the packs now being released. For The Sims 2, we had eight expansion packs and nine stuff packs. That makes seventeen total packs. For The Sims 3, we had eleven expansion packs, and nine stuff packs, making twenty total packs. (Of course, I'd be a hypocrite for not mentioning the Sims 3 store, one of the best examples of microtransactions in The Sims franchise without including the apps.) For The Sims 4, we have had twenty-three kits, eighteen stuff packs, thirteen expansion packs, and twelve game packs as of writing. This makes a total of sixty-six packs of DLC, many of which would have just been bundled together in the past. (See: Cats and Dogs, My First Pets, and the Horse pack as Pets.)

And what do we have to show for all of these new packs? Certainly not quality! My Wedding Stories is probably the best example of this, but MANY of the glitches in Growing Together remain unaddressed. Same for High School Years. For a game that was released in 2014, it still feels remarkably incomplete, especially considering how full The Sims 2 and 3 felt!

The Sims 3, while incredibly poorly optimized, managed to avoid having to go through a loading screen every time you went somewhere that wasn't your house. How did the Sims 4 manage to get worse at that with hardware available that could run it better? I have issues with The Sims 3 and feel it's nearly unplayable on modern hardware without NRAAS's mods, the smooth patch, and editing the graphics card files, but at least it feels full and vibrant compared to The Sims 4 going full corporate powerpoint.

So, with all this in mind, EA has decided to double-down on the Sims going live-service, given that Project Renee will be mobile compatible. Let me talk about what the future of Project Renee will likely look like should they continue.

No script mods in a way that matters. Say goodbye to mods that fix things EA broke. A return of the Sims 3 store. Even more expansion packs that make you shell out extra money for shit that could have just been bundled together. Even buggier gameplay. Even less QA. An uglier art direction. More sanitization to make the Sims appeal more to younger children. No way to play offline.

Anyways, I think I'm going to be daydrinking for the rest of the day now that I've written this. Fuck EA, genuinely hope they fold soon. (I also hope Life By You ends up being good. I have my doubts about Paralives, considering most the staff don't seem to have much experience in game design and life sims are very complicated to make, and also they haven't decided whether they'll support script mods or not. I have more hope for Paradox, considering they're more established.)