What *is* a Wheaties shell?
The next expansion pack for The Sims 4, Island Living, promises a relaxing getaway for your Sims, for when you need to give them a reprieve from you murdering them in increasingly clever and humorous ways. No longer do you need to micromanage or fuck up your Sims’ shit at home; now you can do it on an island, all with colonialist undertones! (With an ever-looming volcano watching over all.) The Sims 4: Island Living will be coming to PC and Mac on June 21st.
A whole bunch of new character customization features are presented, all island and getaway-themed. Not only that, but you get to make your Sim a mermaid. Mermaids have their own range of customizable options too, allowing you to make them as wondrous as you want. But you can’t have mermaids if your Sims can’t go in the ocean, so this getaway pack introduces an all-new feature: ocean gameplay! For the first time, your Sims can actually get in and out of the ocean like a regular-ass person, meaning you can’t kill them off in the go-to way anymore. From swimming in the ocean, to diving, and even playing with impressively shiny dolphins, your Sim can finally feel like a regular human being.
Of course, your Sims also have to work jobs to survive, as no one can escape the capitalist machine. Jobs this time have flexibility, allowing you to work whenever. If you want to move to the island, your Sim can even be a conservationist, working to protect its ecosystem and habitat. Whenever you’re not working or goofing off, you can also interact with the locals of the island, or as the press release puts it, “immerse [yourself] into the Sulani lifestyle by learning local folklore, tasting traditional delicacies, dressing in tropical garb or decorating their new oasis with objects inspired by the local culture.” It reeks of appropriation, coming off as if said culture is just a costume or something fancy to try out for a moment.
In the same vein of good intentions coming off sourly, The Sims is partnering with the It Gets Better Project to bring exclusive It Gets Better and other pride in-game clothing, including a gender-neutral bathroom door. All companies like to show their half-hearted support with this sort of content, and EA is no different, but as this stuff is rolling out over the next few months (instead of all coming out this month), one has to wonder how serious EA believes in its declaration of support, especially combined with the weird colonialist undertones presented before. If the content has to be paid for instead of given out for free, that’d show total insincerity. We’ll have to wait and see in the coming months.