When the Star Wars: Journey to Batuu Game Pack was announced for The Sims 4 earlier today, it looked like a fairly innocuous and lucrative way for Electronic Arts to make the most of its Star Wars game license. Star Wars is already completely inescapable: why not have lightsabers and Stormtroopers in The Sims 4? Why not? Why not? Why not? Star Wars is everywhere, there are Star Wars grapes.
But a lot of The Sims 4 players aren’t particularly happy about the expansion. A cursory browse of the relevant hashtags on Twitter, and a mere second spent on the game’s subreddit, will offer ample evidence.
Here are a few choice tweets that have gained traction:
Sims Community: We want cars, new babies, activities for kids/teen, farming, more occults, etcThe Sims Team: We hear you. Sims Community: They’re actually listening to us. 🤗The Sims Team: release… The Sims 4 Star Wars : Journey to BatuuSims Community: 😒TheSims Team: pic.twitter.com/i3Cow6U7tOAugust 27, 2020
Meanwhile, that tried and true metric of popularity, the YouTube upvote and downvote system, shows 43,000 against the reveal trailer, and 22,000 supporting it. The most upvoted comment claims that “no one asked for this and even a majority of loyal Star Wars fans don’t want this.”
Journey to Batuu is a Game Pack, so it’ll be a fairly self-contained experience, unlike The Sims 4 expansions. You can take it or leave it, in other words, and I can completely relate to those who’d want to leave it: The Sims 4 is roleplaying par excellence—who wants the stamp of a punishingly ubiquitous media franchise in their carefully managed simulation? (You can also take or leave Baby Yoda, who has been in the game for a while now). It makes sense to have, for example, Marvel superheroes in Fortnite, because Fortnite would have no identity if it weren’t for its opportunitistic co-mingling with other media phenomena. But The Sims 4 is different: it’s intimate.
The Sims 4 community is a vocal one, and broadly speaking, Star Wars is not on the top of its priority list. This Digital Spy user survey saw Star Wars come in dead last as a want (below “zombies”, “climate change”, and “werewolves”). Meanwhile, Maxis addressed the ongoing demand for more nuanced skin tone options earlier this month, but it took intense fan pressure in the form of a Change.org petition.
Whatever the case, a lot of people like Star Wars, but a lot of people don’t want Star Wars in The Sims 4. For anyone utterly exhausted by the billion dollar movie series about wars in the stars, the blow back must be cathartic.