Forming a key part of EA's Gamescom presentation, "The Sims 4" is shaping up for an early September release -- but you can get a headstart with the Create a Sim demo, available now.
Players can construct a likeness for themselves -- real or fantasy -- in preparation for the game's full release, or just for fun right now.
Creating a Sim for the latest iteration of PC gaming's hugely successful franchise involves not just deciding upon every aspect of a character's appearance, but also giving them defining personality traits, aspirational goals and interests that shape how they'll best enjoy life in the world of "The Sims 4."
The concept of introducing players into a game world via a character creation suite preview is well associated with the larger-than-life "Saints Row" franchise of crime games.
And strange bedfellows though they may seem, the family-friendly "Sims 4" has its own brand of offbeat, unhinged humor -- if not a brand that is far more mass marketable.
So on stage at Gamescom during EA's August 12 briefing, studio manager Rachel Franklin and her assistants helped lead group CEO Peter Moore through the game's three pillars, the create, build and live modes, during an unscripted though well-structured demonstration.
His introduction involved morphing from a steel-abbed bodybuilder to a more lifelike business casual extrovert, dressing up as an astronaut and meeting the Grim Reaper, cheering up a grumpy neighbor through the magic of man hugs and music, and getting eaten by a bizarre cow-headed plant.
Franklin also showed off a gallery mode new to "The Sims 4" which allows players to share and acquire personalities, rooms and entire properties among the Sims community.
The Create a Sim demo is available from o.ea.com/24144, while "The Sims 4" is to launch in full for Windows PC on September 2 in North America and from September 4 elsewhere. A Mac OS X version is to follow.