The more monstrous the real world becomes the stronger the lure of a virtual one grows. Electronic Arts will release The Sims 4: City Living, the third expansion pack of the series, on November 1. Though Electronic Arts and Maxis have briefly touched upon nightlife with The Sims: Hot Date, The Sims 2: Nightlife, and The Sims 3: Late Night, this new expansion pack for The Sims 4 will be the first time the series has stepped away from the comforts of suburban life to fully embrace the look and feel of a metropolis—the new world of San Myshuno.
The game successfully cobbles together elements of San Francisco, Tokyo, New York, and Seattle, each borough borrowing architectural elements from its patron city. As for the Sims who populate San Myshuno, Electronic Arts has pulled heavily from East Asian, South Asian, Caribbean, and West African clothing designers to outfit its digital citizens. The result is a truly global city like none other. Las Vegas would perhaps be its closest real-world counterpart, but even Las Vegas is decidedly American beneath its international façade.
Still, there are concerns. While the series has wisely jettisoned the gypsy matchmaker non-playable character, it has introduced a love guru with The Sims 4: City Living. Hopefully Electronic Arts has taken great care to avoid offending players by shirking any portrayal akin to one found in a ham-fisted Mike Myers vehicle. And while the new game places a heavy emphasis on street festivals, the lack of community lots prevents the full integration of all three expansion packs in a city environment. There simply isn’t enough space provided to have every lot type; some lots must be sacrificed. Hence, no book club meetings in a local library (as one would find in The Sims 4: Get Together) or a place for Sims to run a bakery (as one would find in The Sims 4: Get to Work). It is my hope that Electronic Arts rectifies this by adding a small companion commerce district to San Myshuno as they added Magnolia Promenade to Willow Creek. This would be a perfect addition for the next available stuff pack—or perhaps even a free update akin to Newcrest.
Unfortunately the new series has simply become too expensive to consider purchasing a new expansion pack on release day, but I definitely look forward to getting The Sims 4: City Living during the holiday season.