After the Sims, Bustin' Out and the Urbz, Maxis is developing a new edition of the Sims franchise for consoles and handhelds. After the PC version sold over 4.5 million copies, the Sims 2 will make its transfer to the other systems later this year. The game is in development for the current generation consoles (Playstation 2, XBox, GameCube), handhelds (GBA, Nintendo DS and Playstation Portable), and even mobile phones. As with the previous versions, the console edition will differ quite a lot from the handheld ones. An official announcement is yet to be released, but IGN
already has the scoop.
Compared to previous verions on the GBA, The Sims 2 won't be too much different from Bustin' Out of the Urbz. Gameplay will be very similar: mission-based, but of course with new graphics. On the GBA it will be possible to trade unlocked episodes by connecting two GBAs to each other. GBA-GameCube connectivity will most likely not be brought back. A small interview with Maxis regarding this version can be found at IGN
The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS will be 3D, and features like the touch screen will be used. Dual link between the DS and GBA editions are not yet definite. More of that can be seen at another interview
. It's not unlikely the PSP version will be similar to the DS version rather than the GBA version, though not much information about that has been given.
The console version will feature graphics similar to the PC version, as well as some of the assets. Just copying it entirely to the consoles is not possible, so the console version will differ from the PC. Characters will have developed slightly further, e.g. you can find an alien abductor in Strangetown. The console will feature 60 characters, 35 of which are from the Sims 2 and University, and the remaining 25 are unique to the console editions.
A major feature is the Direct Control you can have over your Sims, controlling them directly through a third-person view. As soon as you get near enough to an object, you'll be able to have your Sim interact with it. Other than that, you don't have to wait for the game to figure out the path - you'll be able to determine it yourself. Customization will be possible through CAS, but creating objects (to which extend is not mentioned) will also be possible. A two-player split screen will be back again as well.
The food system will be new as well. Rather than just getting a fridge that has all meals, you'll have several ingredients which you can combine the way you like. Some ingredients will have to be bought, others have to be harvested. There will also be some potions, which can be combined and create many different effects. Motives will be limited to six, but will also play a secondary role in the game. The primary objective is to get in the game, and explore it. The new social system is one thing to explore. Sims will show how they feel about another, through the way they stand.
Finally, just as with the Urbz, the PS2 version will have EyeToy and HDD support, whereas the XBox will feature hi-res HDTV graphics. The GameCube will get some extra content on it. A lot more can be found in the interview
IGN held with Scot Amos.
This title most likely renders the Urbz 2 rumours to be false. More of the Sims 2 will be shown at the E3 next month. For now there are already some screenshots which you can see below - three from the GBA version, three from the Nintendo DS and one screenshot and two artworks of the big consoles' version. Click the thumbnails below to see larger versions of all of them.