It is a proven fact that people love killing off Sims. From building swimming pools and removing the ladders to finding ways to kill Death itself, players of The Sims games seem to be obsessed with snuffing out their tiny creations.
"The Sims straddles that thin line of being a representation of reality but also an escape for our players," Vaughan told Polygon. "It's about giving players the ability to tell the stories they want to tell."
Vaughan noted that players also now have the ability to play a ghost. So once you've effectively killed off your Sim, you can resurrect them from the Netherworld and have them go about their business as usual. Only this time as a glowing, transparent ghost.
Vaughan said that player reaction to a Sims game without pools was so intense that developers knew they had to rectify the situation as soon as possible. This time around, however, Sims have the ability to sit on the side of pools and climb out without use of a ladder, eliminating the fan-favorite way of knocking them off.
"We wanted to make it a very active thing, when it comes to putting Sims in a special place with their emotions and their motives, to actually kill them off."
"It was a huge fan reaction," Vaughan said. "As we were building The Sims 4, we wanted to focus on the new systems, things like emotions and how the new world works. But [pools] were always something we had on our list of content we wanted in the game."
Pools will launch for free in November, and will be followed by new career paths (also for free) in December. Ghosts are available now.
But why is it so hard to kill Sims in The Sims 4? Why are there so many hoops to jump through just to electrocute someone?
"When it comes to death, the big thing we wanted to make sure of was that people's Sims weren't dying when they didn't want them to," Vaughan said. "We didn't want to strand any players or make them feel like they'd lost control of their Sims because they were dying. We wanted to make it a very active thing, when it comes to putting Sims in a special place with their emotions and their motives, to actually kill them off.
"We wanted killing Sims to be done by intention rather than something just happening, we wanted you to have control over it."
As for the recent wave of hacks and cheats that allow players to manipulate their environments, including adding the ability to kill the Reaper, Vaughan said that although it's technically breaking the game, it's something developers love seeing.
"We love it," he said. "It's hands-down the best part about making The Sims, watching the players play. Whether it's doing things in the software that we didn't think were possible or modding and adjusting it, we love that stuff and try to support it as much as possible. It's just really hard because we don't know what they're going to do and how we're going to do it. But we love seeing the custom content players put into the game."