Developer Maxis and publisher Electronic Arts have announced the first expansion for The Sims 4.
In the new Get To Work expansion, your Sims’ career options are the primary focus. Doctor, Scientist and Detective careers are all set to be added to the game. In addition, the new expansion will add in new options for Sims to run their own business. You’ll be able to run Bakeries, Photography studios, Art galleries and a number of other enterprises as you attempt to carve out a name for your Sim as a successful entrepeneur. Your business buildings will be fully customizable, too – much like homes, you’ll be able to enter Build Mode and customize them to your heart’s content, choosing layout, furniture and decor until you create the perfect expression of your Sim’s personality. You’ll also be able to manage your employees, select what goods to sell, and upsell to customers in order to increase your profit margins.
As a Scientist, players will be able to work their way up through the ranks by creating new inventions and conducting dangerous experiments, as well as gathering unique research specimens. One of the inventions mentioned in the announcement is called the Sim Ray, though its purpose isn’t detailed. Apparently you’ll be able to use these creations to either torment or help other Sims, which will no doubt be tied closely the The Sims 4‘s emphasis on social interaction.
As a Doctor, you’ll need to perform surgery, treat patients and deliver babies; and as a Detective, you’ll need to gradually work your way up the ranks of the Police Force by investigating and solving crimes, gathering clues and evidence, and interrogate other Sims. Each career has a new building associated with it, and each will come with a variety of new interactive objects to play with.
To go with these new career options, new skills will be added to the game in the form of Baking and Photography. You’ll be able to bake a perfect cake and then take a photo of it, for example. No mention is made of whether other career options also come with associated skills, or if they’re tied to the skills which already exist in the game.
Lastly, in a feature which has long been a staple of the series, Aliens will be added to the game. You’ll be able to uncover Sims disguised as secret visitors from another world, and also venture in an Alien dimenstion, though beyond that no extra information is given.
While there’s no doubt that these additions to the slender amount of existing careers and skills is welcome, many will no doubt question why they are being asked to pay additional money for features which have previously featured in older entries from launch, one of the many, many reasons that saw the latest entry in the series being heavily criticized by the gaming press and Sims fans alike. Neither Medical, Police or Science careers are brand new, so adding them in via a paid expansion – and expansions for Sims games have traditionally come with a price tag equivalent to the cost of a full-price game. Expansions for the Sims 3, for example, cost an eye-watering £29.99/ $29.99 a pop at time of release. Not exactly the same as shelling out £39.99/ $59.99 for a console game, admittedly – but remember that PC games are traditionally vastly cheaper than their console equivalents. And then factor in the sheer volume and rate at which EA churns out expansions for The Sims, and… well, you get the idea. The predominant feeling is that EA and Maxis deliberately cut features from the launch version of the game so they could sell them to players at an inflated cost further down the line. Cynical? Perhaps. But it wouldn’t be the first time, and it’s not likely to be the last, either.
Heather Williams reviewed The Sims 4 back when it launched last year, and found it to be an overwhelming disappointment that lacked the depth and options that series is traditionally known for. “The Sims 4 feels like a backwards step. It’s prettier, it has new features like emotions and living capabilities, but in the end the hints of greatness that are there pale in comparison to what’s not there,” she wrote in her Sims 4 Review. “My honest opinion? Go back to The Sims 3 and wait for the inevitable avalanche of expansions that is bound to come for this latest version. Maybe, just maybe, Maxis will listen to fans; but for the time being, save your money,” she concluded, before awarding the game a score of 3/10 – judged as “Poor” according to our scoring scale.
The Sims 4: Get to Work is due for release “soon” on PC. We’ll have a review of the expansion shortly after launch, so be sure to keep an eye out. In the meantime, check out the announcement trailer and screenshots.