- Silence before the Storm
The headline doesn't mean much, but the picture tells the entire story. Sim Brother would be back, and we announced it on April Fool's day. In the fourth edition, this time made in the Sims 2, 8 celebrities were put in a brand new home in Regras Gorge. The winner wouldn't leave the place for 50 whole days. With interesting personalities like John (Cleese), Bjork, Martha (Stewart), Steve (Irwin), Condoleezza (Rice), Arnold (Schwarzenegger), Alyssa (Milano) and Tiger (Woods) we started giving daily reports from the house. New this year were the "Cat's Eyes," in which the series was analysed every week, with a fresh look. You can still read the complete series in our Sim Brother Archive.
Maxis regularly organises contests for fans of the Sims, but this one was like no other. Together with the USC School of Cinema-Television EA thought it would be nice to give movie makers the assignment to show a day out of the life of a student. The grand prize: $5,000 or a 4-week internship at Maxis. Also not quite like other contests, this one allowed you to spend well over a month to create the movie. It's still the biggest contest for the Sims in its history, with Limbo1n being the winner as the USC announced in July.
After the Urbz turned out to be short of a commercial success, Maxis returned to the classic game the Sims used to be. Urban was out, the Sims 2 was in. Maxis took several items known from the PC version of the game, put in some new things, left the good technical bits from the Urbz, and redefined the Sims 2 on Consoles. But not just that: the Sims 2 would be everywhere before the end of the year. Not just the PC and Mac, but also on the three major consoles (PS2, XBox, GameCube), but also on all well-known handhelds, Sony's PSP, Nintendo's DS and the GBA. As if that's not enough, another platform was added. The Sims 2 would be made for mobile phones. All turned out to be very different games, each with its own twist from the original game.
With Spore being official, it was time for the Sims Zone to start focussing completely on the Sims again. Because of the interest in the game by a few staff members of the Sims Zone, work on a brand new site had started in the background shortly after the game was first presented. The result: The Spore Zone, our sister! As of now on, most of the Spore news would be posted there, but an archive of the news from the Sims Zone regarding Spore could make you think the site had been around for years already.
May is typically the month of the E3. That means a lot. Three days with a lot of information, previews, screenshots, movies and too little sleep for news posters. Nightlife and the Sims 2 were announced a few weeks earlier, and so those were the big E3 titles for the Sims Zone to follow. A few big pieces of news came in, of which one was that the Sims 2 on consoles would lack the aging system. Generations wouldn't pass on due to technical limitations, instead you would be stuck with just adults. A bit of a bummer for those who expected the game to be very similar to the PC game...
But for fans with the PC version came good news during the E3. During an interview with GameSpot, Tim LeTourneau revealed that not only the neighbourhood would be visible from a loaded house, but also that Sims would get cars. Their very own cars. Fans of the game have been begging for them since the game was first published, and finally it would be possible for Sims to drive around a bit. Not like a traditional racing game though, it would only serve as replacement for the carpool or taxi when it comes to driving - but naturally the car got many more options too. And all that was revealed in just one interview, on the biggest game show in the world. Pure excitement for a lot of Sims players.
After May and E3 come three months of summer, a time in which people go out instead of playing games inside. There aren't too many game releases, especially if you compare it to the months before Christmas. That also means the news isn't all as big, and so besides the usual batches of screenshots and previews there isn't much that really stands out. A bit of an exception was the Sims 2 this year though, which arrived in June. Just before the game itself, the Body Shop was released as free download though. With that, Mac owners could start creating clothes for the Sims 2 as well. Not much later the game itself was available as well, and resulted in a batch of new Sims 2 players, obviously.
Occasionally surveys pop up on the official site. Usually they're not too interesting, in that they ask your opinion but don't give much new information. Until last June, when a survey appeared in which concrete ideas were given, and you had to pick a favourite. Also, the idea of booster packs, more than 60 objects for roughly $20 was introduced. This first - but not the last - survey also included the idea of running a business, the idea that has now turned into the third expansion pack to be released next year.
Tim LeTourneau was in Amsterdam, and spoke with a bunch of fans - including representatives of the Sims Zone - about Nightlife, at the time still an upcoming expansion pack. Naturally there was quite a bit of new information, but most upsetting to many people was the fact that Maxis had no plans for a patch for University. The expansion pack had many flaws fans noticed (and fixed through home-made patches), and the announcement that a patch wasn't planned raised some big discussions. After Tim got back from his trip through Europe, Maxis got back to their decision and in July announced that a separate patch would in fact be made, so buying Nightlife wasn't necessary to fix glitches in University. A couple of weeks after the release of Nightlife, the patch was released in October, along with a first patch for Nightlife.
Written at 18:22 on Saturday 31 December 2005 by