The Sims 5 still feels like it's a very long way away indeed. We're still getting regular expansion packs for The Sims 4, including Eco Lifestyle and Nifty Knitting, so it feels like any talk of a brand new, full series entry is a long way off. There might be new consoles, but The Sims 5 development will almost certainly focus on the PC, the platform where the life simulator has always found its biggest and most dedicated audience.
Publisher EA has been careful to keep The Sims 5 talk at bay too, committing to "at least 20 new content drops and expansion packs to our Sims games across PC, mobile and console" for The Sims 4 in this financial year. The latest was The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle expansion pack, which added conservation to your sims concerns, and we have a stuff pack focused around knitting on the way. All this means it could be a while before we're seeing even a sniff of The Sims 5.
"We're not working on Sims 5. We're not thinking about Sims 5. If Sims 4 isn't successful, there won't be a Sims 5,” said Sims 4 producer Grant Rodiek on the official Sims forums just days after the release of The Sims 4. Strangely enough, that comment has now been removed...
Of course, that’s pretty much how every game sequel works ever, so it’s not a totally crazy, doolally thing for EA to say. However, because The Sims 4 has been selling well and continues to be immensely popular with the hardcore fanbase, there’s little doubt that there will be a Sims 5 one day.
Interestingly, during a recent investor call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that the future of The Sims will focus on "social interaction and competition".
"As Maxis continues to think about The Sims for a new generation - across platforms in a cloud-enabled world - you should imagine that, while we will always stay true to our inspiration, escape, creation, and self-improvement motivations, that this notion of social interactions and competition - like the kind of things that were actually present in The Sims Online many, many years ago - that they will start to become part of the ongoing Sims experience in the years to come."
"We are very excited. This is a game that really doesn’t have any competition in its category for delivering and fulfilling these motivations for players and we think is a tremendous growth opportunity for us for many, many years to come."
It's also worth mentioning that Maxis is currently on a huge hiring spree. First spotted by a user on Reddit, a number of EA Maxis vacancies reveal the studio is ramping up a "new, unannounced title", which it refers to as its "next big production", asking for people specifically experienced in creating "excellent user experiences for new IP". It might not mean anything for The Sims 5, but it is certainly interesting.
However, in lieu of anything Sims 5-related actually happening though, we’re here to pull together the biggest requests from the community for The Sims 5 gameplay features.
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1. Bring back open-world exploration
One of the best things about The Sims 3 is that it feels like your household is part of a bigger neighbourhood, and one that you can freely explore without seeing a loading screen. You can nip over to your neighbours’ homes, rummage through their bins, borrow a cup of sugar or just say hello just by walking there. Or you can head for the shops, discover strange plants in the suburbs or just catch up with a buddy en route as Sims walk the streets and can always been seen going about their everyday lives. Everything flows together and feels like a real town.
For some reason, The Sims 4 ditches all of that. Instead of being able to freely wander your Sims neighbourhood, you have to click on a menu to travel to a different location, watching a loading screen for any quick jaunt. Heck to even leave your lot, you’ve got to watch a loading screen. Yes you can warp between different neighbourhoods, but it still makes the world feel very fragmented - and slow moving. The Sims 5 needs to blend the open-world elements of The Sims 3 with the variety of landscapes of The Sims 4.
2. More transport options
Connected to that longing for an open world is a lust for the vehicles of The Sims 3 too. You don’t just have to stretch your legs to get around town in The Sims 3, you could hop on your bike, jump in the car, driving straight out of your very own garage or just call a cab. Heck, your little ones could ride their bikes to their pals’ houses after school and would have to be back before curfew. The Sims 3 is great for those little touches of real life, after all, what home doesn’t come without a garage and what billionaire pad doesn’t have a collection of supercars - houses in The Sims 4 just don’t feel right without them.
Thankfully, there are ways to get cars back into your game, in the form of the best Sims 4 mods, but still...
3. Better neighbourhood creation tools
There was a time in early Sims games that you could not only build houses from scratch but the entire plots too. You can pick the terrain style, make it more or less hilly and even add in environmental items like electricity pylons, trees and the like in The Sims 2.
The Sims 4’s neighbours, plot sizes, and worlds are all locked in and pre-set so you’re limited as to the tools you have at your disposal. The same is sort-of-true of The Sims 3, although you can add in custom lot sizes to existing free spaces in neighbourhoods. The Sims 5 needs a little more of the freedom of the earlier games, or at least let us add in custom lot sizes like The Sims 3.
4. Include all the age ranges from the off
The Sims 4 might have toddlers now, but that wasn’t always the case. When it first arrived, toddlers (and pools we might add) weren’t part of the base game. Instead Maxis added them into the game in January 2017, over two years after the base game launched. Their addition makes The Sims 4 a much more rounded game, but the fact fans waited two years for the little tykes to arrive is a bit of a weird one.
The Sims 3 is the game that first introduced toddles, but getting rid of the popular age group was a strange move for The Sims 4. Thankfully it got sorted out, but it’s a mistake that caused huge backlash for the game when it first arrived. If EA wants to avoid such a slating next time around, toddlers need to be there from the start in The Sims 5.
What would you love to see in The Sims 5? Let us know what you think by tapping the 'see comments' button below or hitting us up on Twitter @GamesRadar.