Gaming

I Don’t Know How To Explain To You What Is Happening In ‘The Sims’ Now

Not sure what's happening here but it's really something.

The Sims has a new expansion pack, and it's wild

The Sims is a bright and bubbly game about small, burbling humanoid things that are totally incapable of completing everyday tasks like making cereal or going for a walk without putting themselves in mortal danger.

As a staple of the gaming landscape since 2006, the hugely popular franchise has developed a reputation as being an ingeniously crafted but distinctly innocent and non-confrontational series, beloved not only by a legion of hardcore fans, but also by more casual gamers.

All of which is a way of saying that the new expansion pack for The Sims 4, ‘StrangerVille’, is so abrupt, and bizarre, and utterly out of character that it’s a little like if the latest episode of Sesame Street featured surprise child murder.

Opening with a soldier coughing up their lungs in a non-descript bathroom, the trailer takes a horrifying turn into straight up Cronenbergian territory when the soldier’s fleshy, vulnerable body begins contorting itself into horrific new forms.

But that’s only the start of the nightmares the trailer has to offer: there are also hordes of infected, bug-eyed soldiers; rows of grinning, blank-faces, and shots of scientists dressed head to toe in hazmat suits, looking like they’ve wandered off the set of The Strain.

This isn’t strictly the first time that The Sims has gone weird — the second instalment of the game featured a pre-made neighbourhood known as Strangetown which was also full of otherworldly horrors and extraterrestrial activity.

But the poorer quality graphics and distinctly more upbeat tone of that first neighbourhood means comparing it with the newest expansion pack feel a little like comparing that episode of Winnie The Pooh where he gets stuck in Rabbit’s front door to the dead pig vat trap in Saw III.

Still, a fair share of internet sleuths are already convinced that StrangerVille is a Strangetown prequel — the third Sims game teased something known as “Strangetown Syndrome”, which might be the explanation for all those distorted bodies in the new StrangerVille trailer.

Or, perhaps the explanation is the cryptic ‘Mother’ that the Sims gurus were spreading around Twitter when the first StrangerVille teaser dropped?

The StrangerVille expansion drops on February 26, so at least some of these horrifying mysteries will be explained then.