As revealed by EA over the course of E3 week, The Sims 4 won't be fully open-world like its predecessor. Instead, traveling between a world, neighborhood, or lot will result in about 15-30 second load time. The rather short load time was confirmed in the demo presentation at E3. The result, EA says, is a "win" for the players.
Speaking with EA's Charlie Sinhaseni, we asked him what some of the consequences would be from a non-fully open world in The Sims 4 (thanks for the question Max, iLoveBacons).
"I don't know if you look at it as consequences," he said. "I think we look at it as a lot of benefits — density of interactions, density of environments, density of sims.
"The player is going to win in every respect here because there's more to do and more to see and more going on around you at all times. And on top of that, some of the load times have been improved. We chopped down on a lot of them," he said. "I think that's beneficial to the player in every respect."
The more frequent, but shortened load times have allowed Maxis to go for density with the game's environments. "
In Magnolia Blossom Park, it's a very large open area, but with lots of sims," Sinhaseni pointed out. "When we got to the gym, what did you see? Lots of sims already in there working out. I think it's one of those things that when you see it you understand that we've done a lot of work and tuning that these areas feel right and alive."
While the 20-minute demo shown off at E3 was mostly designed to highlight Sims' new emotions and behavior, as well as the new Gallery feature, it was hard not to notice the shortened load times. It's like the game was running on a high-end PC, but Sinhaseni told me that Maxis is looking to ensure the game runs smooth on mid-spec computers as well. For what it's worth, he told me that he was able to run The Sims 4 on his mid-tier personal laptop better than he's ever been able to run The Sims 3.