Town Themes (An Alternative to making 10+ different towns)
The Sims is a game with a wide international player base with fans from the US, England, Germany, New Zealand, and even South Korea. It goes without saying that Paralives should have a healthy amount of cultural options to diversify your characters. However, making a one size fits all world isn’t a great idea (As seen in the Sims 4 city living, it doesn’t really amount to an accurate representation of any culture) and making 10 different worlds for 10 different cultural groups also isn’t practical for Indie Developers. So what can we do?
Adopt a Stardew Valley-esque approach where you have one town, but can change the theme in the beginning. For those who don’t know about it: when you first make your farm on Stardew Valley you are able to pick what kind of farm you want, whether it is a farm by a river, whether it is a really foresty farm, a really barren farm, a spooky farm. Etc. It doesn’t actually change the core game that much, but can completely change the lens of your farming experience. What I am suggesting is similar but a bit more.
You keep one town, all the same lots, and even a lot of the same venues. But in the beginning of the game you can pick from a couple different templates: [American, European, Asian, and International] you can add a Latin and African version later or in the base game depending on your budget and time constraints. So what do these templates do?
For one, they will change the exterior architecture of all major lots in your town. If you pick European you will see lots of Old District German style buildings down town, the venues may be exactly the same. But the outside will look different. You will also see more European names used within the townie generation list. You can ever go so far as to change the weather and climate to match a European setting better (This can be done with different style trees, color of grass, and light filters).
If you pick Asian then the buildings will have more Japanese/Korean styled rooftops. The townies will feature more Chinese, Japanese, and Korean style names, and the setting may change to incorporate more cherry blossoms or whatever other setting additions you feel would fit your fancy. You can even automate some aspects of lifestyle (Like maybe there are food stalls around town and the food sold is based on the template you choose or when your Children go to school they may wear Uniforms in the Asian template but not in the American one.).
For players who want true multiculturalism they can pick the international template which can use a mix of all the existing templates (And have all names as available options in the townie generator). For players who want to live and experience a specific setting though. Those templates are available to them to view them game through that lens.
You can base America off a mix of the US and Canada, Europe off a mix of France, Germany, and Poland, Asia off a mix of Japan, Korea, and China. And if you ever these: Latin off a mix of Mexico and Argentina and Africa off of South Africa.
Why this Idea is Worthwhile
Making templates should be significantly easier than designing whole new worlds. And will result in a lot of people getting to experience the game through their preferred culture. It should lower the cost of production for the indie team while also meeting the communities diversity quota without overwhelming more traditional players who want to experience a more conservative play style.