A new reality show called The Sims Spark'd featuring a group of contestants coming together to create unique characters, worlds, and stories within the game is premiering later this month on TBS. The players' creations will be scrutinized by 'celebrity judges,' who will determine who wins the grand $100,000 prize.
The thought of The Sims being presented like a competitive esports game, such as Overwatch or Fortnite, is admittedly tough to imagine, but the trailer for the show does its best to ramp up hype by showcasing enthusiastic competitors and tearful judges expressing appreciation for some of the competitors' stories.
But the video game series is typically known for being a casual and addictive life simulator. Can it really serve as the foundation for an intense competition?
Lyndsay Pearson, GM of The Sims franchise, seems to think so.
"Since its inception, The Sims has been a groundbreaking experience, allowing players to create and virtually live out the stories they create in-game. That's what makes it so special," Pearson stated in a press release. "That's also why this show is so exciting. We're continuing that innovative spirit, bringing our community together to compete and showcase their in-game storytelling on a reality show in an entirely new way."
The 12 contestants include YouTubers and other big names within The Sims community such as Plumbella and Xmiramira. The judges include BuzzFeed Multiplayer's own YouTuber Kelsey Impicciche; singer-songwriter Tayla Parx, who also did voice acting for the game; and The Sims game developer Dave Miotke, also known as SimGuruNinja.
The show will be hosted by former American Idol finalist Rayvon Owen.
Watching players hunched over a computer building virtual houses won't likely have edge-of-your seat moments like other creativity-based competitive reality shows such as NBC's Making It or Fox's LEGO Masters. There's no risk of a tall LEGO sculpture falling off-balance or a piece of handcrafted wooden furniture becoming unstable at the last minute, and Pearson admitted as much to The Verge.
"It's not the same as watching something catch fire in a kitchen," she said, referring to competitive cooking shows. Still, the time limits and structure of the show will hopefully add some tension to the computer-bound Simmers.
"[You] do get a lot of surprising drama out of 'Oh gosh, how am I going to make this thing do what I want? And how am I going to do it in time?' The creative process is still exposed in a way that feels really compelling."
Pearson added that there will be in-game challenges within The Sims 4 for players to participate in. Electronic Arts' goal is to inspire people to make their own thoughtful creations.
"I'm a fan of a lot of reality TV myself," Pearson told The Verge, "I particularly watch baking shows, and I love that in a lot of them I'm like 'I can go make a cookie. Sure.' [...] That's what we were working towards. The in-game challenges are props to spark that creative moment."
The four-episode series will air every Friday at 11 PM beginning July 17 on TBS and stream on Buzzfeed Multiplayer the following Monday.