Sims 4’s 10th Expansion Pack, Snowy Escape, will be released on November 13th and promises to take players on a mountain vacation for PC, Mac, PS4 and Xbox One. The new package introduces Mount Komorebi, a Japan-inspired target world for the life simulation game. It arrives shortly after September new game package, Star Wars: Journey to Batuu.
With Snowy Escape, you can take your Sims on a wild winter adventure of skiing, climbing, and snowboarding, or to a relaxing mountain retreat with Komorebi’s bathhouses, meditation centers, and peaceful walks. Mount Komorebi is the first Sims 4 world where Sims can either vacation or live permanently.
CNET got an early look at the game with Graham Nardone, the producer of the new Maxis Studios expansion pack at EA Games, who demonstrated the features of the new pack. We have to play a little early too.
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A carefully constructed cultural world
Snowy Escape adds two new endeavors – Extreme Sportsmen and Mount Komorebi Sightseer. Players can use over 130 new Create-a-Sim items when making their Sim, such as LL Bean-style winter clothing and traditional Japanese kimonos and geta (wooden shoes that look like flip-flops).
Creation mode also gives players new options to create themed creations in or out of the new world. These include shoji doors, windows and screens, tatami mats, paper lanterns, koi fish for fountains, rock gardens, and Japanese maples. There’s also a new building option to create houses on two levels (Hallelujah!). The new stackable platform function opens up floor plan restrictions. Players will also notice houses on Mount Komorebi that have the sunken Genkan entrance where Sims take off their shoes.
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While developing the concept of Snowy Escape, Nardone’s team worked with an in-house EA group called Aspire (representing the Asian and Pacific islanders) to have conversations about aspects of Japanese culture that would better represent Sims players and add to the gameplay .
“One of my favorite pastimes was developing a modified version of Simlish – the Sims’ unique language – to create Simlish characters that are reminiscent of kanji, hiragana, and katakana,” Nardone said in an email. “It will be noticed in the game to anyone familiar with these characters, but like Simlish, there are no direct written translations.”
Aspire was also part of the team that developed Sims 4 Island Livingthat came out last year. Nardone said that diverse representation within the game is a major focus for its developers and that players can expect to see more of it in the future. The Sims 4 is releasing a free update in December to add at least 100 more base tones and a slider for further changes.
Also, when creating new content, Nardone said the studio is trying to stay connected with the players. Because of this, he said he doesn’t necessarily see the 10th expansion pack as a celebratory milestone, as more items on the wish list have yet to be delivered to players.
“An exciting milestone for me would be, what about when we break new ground for The Sims and have exceeded previous rates?” He said.
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More realistic gameplay and relationships
Snowy Escape is also redesigning aspects of Sims personality and relationships with the “Lifestyles and Emotions” feature that should allow for more realistic gameplay. Up to 16 styles of life can manifest themselves depending on your Sim’s actions and habits. Some examples of lifestyles your Sim can embody are “energetic”, “healthy eating”, “workaholic” and “frequent traveler”.
This changes their behavior and goes beyond the characteristics players would enter into Create-A-Sim to reflect the lived experiences of the Sim. Lifestyles occur over long periods of time and improve your Sim’s autonomy, Nardone said. And if your Sim doesn’t keep up with a certain lifestyle, it will fade away.
To see what lifestyles your Sim has achieved, just open the Simology tab and scroll down to Lifestyles. Players can also turn off lifestyle in the options menu.
The Feelings feature affects relationships between Sims – two Sims can now judge the outcome of a shared experience differently, which can have a lasting impact on their relationship and social interactions – just like in real life.
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“Everyone will have a chance to enjoy the deeper relationship between Sims, and those who own Snowy Escape will have even more group activities that can lead to new feelings between Sims,” said Nardone.
When a sentiment is filled, you can examine it by opening the Relationships tab. The Sim you created a sentiment for will glow yellow around them. You can then click the Sim’s photo and click Open Sim Profile to dig deeper. When two Sims are talking, you can also look for emotions by watching the interaction bar at the top of the screen. The feelings are indicated by a small book icon with a heart on it.
A fun escape, but beware of the wildlife
Much like the community boards in Eco Lifestyle, Snowy Escape has bulletin boards that let your Sim know about upcoming festivals (where you can get collectibles and unlock new outfits) and the daily wildlife report (there are some awkward creatures on that you might come across on a hike), the weather, and how to learn more about the world’s activities.
Sims can also interact with vending machines throughout Mount Komorebi. You can stock up on sprays to keep creatures out in the forest, drugs, and special skis. Dedicated vending machines sell Simmi capsules – like the little toy vending machines that kids use to get trinkets out of in grocery stores, each capsule contains a tiny doll or Simmi that you can add to your collection. You might even find a rare one or two.
“For a lot of people, I expect Snowy Escape to be the right experience at the right time,” said Nardone. “Your Sims can escape to the world of Mount Komorebi while on vacation, or make it the place they call home. It delivers things you’ve never seen in The Sims. ”
The new expansion pack for The Sims 4 will be available on November 13th for USD 40 (£ 35, AU $ 60).
If you’re craving even more Sims in your life, the life simulation game recently turned into a reality game show called Spark’d, which you can find on the Buzzfeed Multiplayer YouTube channel.
More game hints
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