'The Sims 3 Seasons' lets you control the weather in multiple ways

EA shows off its eighth Sims 3 expansion following yesterday's announcement.

Following Electronic Arts' The Sims 3 Seasons announcement yesterday, developers from the company's Maxis label showed off the expansion at EA's Summer Showcase press event. Like most Sims expansions, it mixes straightforward mechanics with a fun concept.

As described in a press release, Seasons will allow players to swim, play soccer, go snowboarding, go diving, build igloos, go to a spring dance, bob for apples, throw snowballs, get a tan, etc. If you can think of something that seems seasonal, chances are it fits in with what the developers are making here.

Essentially, it follows the Sims expansion formula of adding a lot of items and events under a given theme. What makes this one different?

Producer Mike Zamora gives Polygon his take: "What's unique about it is the fact that weather affects all of the other expansion packs and all of the worlds that you're already used to playing in. It takes something that's familiar and kind of makes it a little unfamiliar. When you see snow on the ground, it kind of makes it a little more adventurous."

Getting more specific about what will set this one apart, Zamora cites a hot dog eating contest in the game's summer festival as something he thinks will surprise players with its humor, noting that players can participate, watch goofy animations, and see their characters get sick if they eat too much.

In the demo version on display at EA's press event, one item that stood out is what the developers are calling the "Clim-a-tron," which is a futuristic-looking contraption that lets players control the weather. It's one of the game's "lifetime rewards" that veteran players can purchase after earning enough points, and it gives players temporary control over the weather in a given season. So if you want to make it rain in the summer or bring the snow out in the winter, you are free to change things however you like. "You turn it on, you change the weather, and there's really only a short period of time where it works, and then it transitions back to summer," says Zamora.

Given that this is the eighth Sims 3 expansion and the third time EA has dipped into its "seasons" bag, there don't look to be many surprises — it's the same visuals with a new coat of paint, and the same mechanics with new activities. But like the seven expansions that have come before, Seasons is focused on adding as much variety as possible.

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