I am going to TRY and be nice. Oh, and by the way, this is a Grumpy Old Geek column.
In a galaxy far, far away, deep into the Outer Rim, the world of Batuu spins under its three suns, host to both the brave Resistance and nefarious First Order, with roguish scoundrels taking advantage of the chaos. How things unfold, though, is up to your Sims.
Hone your lightsaber skills, befriend a droid, and get ready to unlock missions for the Resistance, First Order, or scoundrels. The more you accomplish, the closer you are to meeting iconic Star Wars characters like Rey and Kylo Ren.
Coming September 8th, is the latest game pack for the Sims 4, Star Wars: Journey To Batuu. And if you haven’t guessed, your Sims will leave the comfort of their home in Willow Creek (or any of the other world’s in the game), and head to the Outer Rim territories. to the world of Batuu, where you can visit the Black Spire Outpost, just like Galaxy’s Edge at the Disney theme parks.
The player’s sims get to go on missions while there, which they get from the droid, DJ R-3X at Olga’s Cantina. They’ll dodge StormTroopers, align themselves with either Rey, Kylo Ren, or Captain Hondu Ohnaka. They’ll be able to go on quests, search for artifacts, build lightsabres, customize a droid, earn rewards and increase their reputation, and when they leave Batuu, which they can’t move to and live, and return home, they can bring all of those items with them. New build items and content will be available, and you can convert your suburban home into a total Star Wars themed home, as well as new recipes to cook.
Which is great if I wanted to create sim versions of Obi-Shawn Crosby, Colleen Kaylee Crosby, and Jeff Solo Donoho of Docking Bay 94. Except there are no drivable cars. EA, we have an issue here.
Sims executive producer Lyndsay Pearson said of the game pack, With The Sims, we’ve always strived to create content that takes players’ imaginations beyond their limits to tell fun and unique stories in the game, and with The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu, they’ll be able to take their Sims on an adventure to the edge of the galaxy. We’re such big Star Wars fans, and set out to create an authentic and immersive Star Wars experience for players that also embodies the self-expression and deep storytelling possibilities with The Sims.
With all of this great content, everyone should be thrilled to hear of this, right?
I will try to remain nice, but this is where the subject gets hot and heavy.
First off … is this game pack an advertisement for Galaxy’s Edge? How much did Disney pay you, EA? I know that EA has a deal with LucasFilm, no need to remind me.
No, let’s talk about The Sims. There are three packs that get released each year. Your expansion pack expands the game and takes your Sims on new adventures, game packs add experiences to play with a theme (Vampires, alien invasion in Strangerville, etc), and stuff packs add objects, clothing and hair. Journey To Batuu is a game pack. Just an FYI, in an attempt to have us all on the same page.
Normally, when a pack is announced, and it doesn’t interest everyone, it’s generally, “Well, not too keen on it, but I may wind up getting it for build items, hair, clothing, etc”.
There are people who are excited for this pack coming out, and are aware why others are not happy. And there’s nothing wrong wanting to get the pack. Personally, it’s not high on my list, and for my favorite Twitch streamers who are going to get this pack and do a Let’s Play on their stream, I’ll watch.
There are problems with The Sims 4, however. Issues that have been around since the base game was originally released. The Simmers wanted cars the Sims can drive, like they got eventually in Sims 2, and which was included with the base game in Sims 3. They want horses. They want farm life. They want random issues that pop up to go away, (don’t get me started on the Sims randomly going to get a glass of water for no reason, the bosses want to keep this website family friendly). There are so many things that simmers want, so many bugs that need fixing. The Sims isn’t really a life simulator game anymore, it’s just a building game. And there are times that the game is so messed up, it’s not playable anymore.
An issue with this pack is that it’s only catering to a certain group, and not entirely the Sims community as a whole. It’s a cash grab to try and attract Star Wars fans. Hell, I sat in the theater in 1977 and watched Star Wars before it was Episode IV: A New Hope, which wasn’t in the opening crawl, but it’s not something I was expecting in a Sims pack. And according to a poll that Digital Spy did back in July, it wasn’t high on the Simmers list. Of the 21 things people wanted to see added to their games (whether it be expansion packs, game packs, or stuff packs), the top five were Hotels (vacation), Schools, more diverse worlds, farming and cars. A pack for ghosts was around number 11. Star Wars was at number 21. Dead last.
The biggest issue is the lack of diversity. For a very long time, there has been a cry for better skin tones and more diverse hairstyles. The Sim Guru’s of EA have said that better skin tones and hairstyles are coming in the fall, but I feel that the black community of Simmers are wanting better representation now, and not later. It’s a topic that’s better suited for Thaddeus Howze and not by this 54 year old white guy, but it is something that EA should change before releasing a pack. It is something that is poorly represented in the Sims.
Even the trailer didn’t do a good representation of inclusion. Take these before and after images as the Sim home is transformed into a Star Wars dream home.
Thank you Twitch Streamer Cheekybones for pointing this out
If you haven’t noticed, a Pride flag is shown in the first picture, and like the rest of the items in the room is quickly removed and replaced with Star Wars items. No, we’re not saying that it was intentional, but it didn’t sit well with some simmers who are part of the LGBTIQA+ community, or those that support them.
Now, having said that. I’m not bashing the Guru’s. They’ve probably been getting a few hate tweets and such, which is wrong. All that the Sims community is asking is to hear them, to let them know that you are aware of what they are not happy with said issues, and if you’re working on it, let us know. I may never ask to be an EA Game Changer, but I am paying for these packs. I feel my voice should be heard.
More importantly, the voices of those demanding the game show more diversity and better representation should be heard. No, they need to be heard, and not feel that they’re being bashed on by their fellow Simmers telling them, “If you don’t like the pack, don’t buy it.”, nor should they feel that what they’re saying is being ignored by EA or the gurus. Spouting hateful comments towards each other or towards EA and the Gurus will not bring the results you want. For that matter, giving praise upon praise towards EA and the Gurus would not be of any help, either. They want to hear the good and the bad, and (hopefully) want to make the steps to improve the game for all, even though it seems that they’ve yet to make the majority of those steps.
As far as the game pack, itself. I dunno, it really wasn’t what I was wanting in a pack for The Sims. If I wanted to play Star Wars, I’d buy an actual Star Wars game.
The Sims 4: Star Wars: Journey To Batuu will be available for PC and console on September 8, 2020. The Sims 4 base game will be required in order to play the game pack.
Gary DaBaum, SCIFI.radio DJ, writer, and all around nice guy, can be heard on SCIFI.radio. He’s also on Twitter: @GaryDaBaum.