EA has explained its decision not to include swimming pools and toddlers in The Sims 4 at launch, stating that it chose to "focus on revolutionising the Sims themselves" rather than offer a broader set of features.
Acknowledging that the removal of pools and toddlers "would disappoint some of our fans", executive producer Rachel Franklin explained that the decision was a "trade-off" stemming from "the new technology and systems" built for The Sims 4.
"The fact is, we owe you a clearer explanation for why pools and toddlers will not be in The Sims 4 at launch, so here goes," Franklin wrote on TheSims.com. "It begins with new technology and systems that we built for this new base game for The Sims – a new AI system, new animation system, new audio positioning tools, new locomotion logic, new routing intelligence and much more are all entirely new in this game. The vision for The Sims 4 is a new experience that brings your Sims to life in deeper and uniquely personal ways – through emotions, personality traits, behaviors and interactions. To do that, our technology base needed a major upgrade.
"So the bottom line is that when we sat down and looked at everything we wanted to do for this game, all the new tech we wanted to build into it, the fact was that there would be trade-offs, and these would disappoint some of our fans," she continued. "Hard pill to swallow, believe me, but delivering on the vision set out for The Sims 4 required focus. Focus on revolutionizing the Sims themselves.
"So, rather than include toddlers, we chose to go deeper on the features that make Sims come alive: meaningful and often amusing emotions; more believable motion and interactions; more tools in Create A Sim, and more realistic (and sometimes weird!) Sim behavior. Instead of pools, we chose to develop key new features in Build Mode: direct manipulation, building a house room-by-room and being able to exchange your custom rooms easily, to make the immediate environment even more relatable and interactive for your Sim."
Franklin says that the benefit of focussing on the new technology means that The Sims 4 is a "completely new game, and it feels different to play".
"You'll notice the new technology base the first time you play," she says.
Of course, while swimming pools and toddlers won't be available at launch, there's little reason to doubt that they may be added via future expansion packs.
Franklin adds that over 15 minutes of in-game footage will be revealed within the next two weeks, and that the development team "can't wait to hear what you think".
The Sims 4 launches on PC on September 5.