Is it The Sims 5? A Sims spin-off? Interesting new jobs at Maxis

There are some new adverts popping up that give the strongest suggestions yet that development for The Sims 5 (or whatever the title might be) is very much on the go.

There has been a lot of talk about the future of The Sims 4 and what the next instalment of the popular simulation franchise will look like and when it will be released.

Some reports have suggested that it will be an online, multiplayer game. While we do not know when it will be released, we do know that The Sims 4 still has plenty of content to come.

That said, some interesting new career opportunities at the Maxis studio (the developers of The Sims franchise) have started popping up recently.

First spotted by the popular Sims Community website, these job postings seem to strongly suggest a new Sims game is in the works.

The Sims 5 or something else: What we know so far

One of the job ads posted by Maxis recently that stand out specifically is the one for a XD Designer – UI/Visual Designer, part of that reads:

We are looking for an XD Designer who will focus exclusively on UI for a minimum of 2 years of the project development. After this period this role could become a hybrid UI/UX role.

The two-year time frame is quite interesting, especially in context of the other adverts recently posted (more on that below). We know that games take a long time to develop and while we are almost certain that the next instalment of The Sims franchise has been in development for quite some time, this is the first indication of what sort of timeline we might expect ahead of release.

Here’s the full advert for the XD Designer – UI/Visual Designer at Maxis. This is actually the most recent advert, posted on 26 January 2021.

 High Level

We are looking for an XD Designer who will focus exclusively on UI for a minimum of 2 years of the project development. After this period this role could become a hybrid UI/UX role. 

This role will be responsible for creating, documenting and maintaining the UI systems and needs to be someone who is a systems thinker and doer. You will work closely with the Art Director, Technical Art Director, Engineers and Experience Designers to help develop a modular, responsive UI system in Unreal that works on all platforms (mobile, tablet, PC, Console) and will expand over time. We need to design for the future, working as smartly as possible because the initial UI will change and grow when the game’s content expands.

This role will be the Unreal expert in UI who will guide the team in best practices. You will also coordinate and partner with the other EA studios who are using Unreal to build bridges and share knowledge.

Drive the delivery of the following:

UI Framework

UI Style guide – this role would also help decide what platform software we use to maintain the style guide to allow for iterative design and collaboration. 

Design and implementation of UI elements, icons etc. into the dev prototypes in Unreal

Qualifications

Responsible for the creation of the game’s UI systems, both technical and visual.

Design UI systems that are intuitive and engaging while balancing player, business and technical goals.

Produce the game’s visual design system that includes iconography, typography, visual hierarchy, brand expression and motion.

Partner with XD team to author and co-own the XD pattern library and component library.

Deliver high fidelity and high-quality UI screens that align with the product’s experience goals, usability and accessibility standards.

Experience designing with players motivations and needs in mind. 

Able to digest and interpret player feedback to make meaningful improvements to the UI. 

Collaborate closely with the other Experience Designers to gather requirements, explore creative directions, produce prototypes and iterate based on testing results.

Initiate, define and lead R&D and innovation initiatives pertaining to UI design, UI motion, and UI VFX.

Partner with stakeholders to set priorities and find balanced design solutions to player and business goals within technical constraints.

Strong visual design skills (i.e., composition, iconography, layout, typography, color theory) with the ability to lay out complex information in an easy to understand manner.

Motion graphics skills, the ability to bring interfaces to life with usability in mind.

Comfortable presenting cohesive design solutions to technical and non-technical audiences. 

Experience designing a cross platform UI system is a giant plus.

You can find the job advert over on the EA Careers portal – if you want to read more or perhaps even apply yourself.

Other clues about The Sims 5/next Sims game

Before the advert above was posted, Sims Community reported on additional job listings that also share further insights into what might be coming for the next instalment of The Sims franchise.

They reported on the advert for a Senior CAS Artist for “new and existing IP”. That advert also simply mentions “the project” – suggesting perhaps that this role would focus more on new rather than existing IP.

One specific responsibility of this role is listed as: Work with the Art Director and technical partners to define and refine the look and feel of characters for the project.

There was also a role for a Game Designer which mentions the “development of Creative Tools prototypes” and using the insights “from these prototypes to prepare design documentation tasks”, which does seem to suggest the beginning of something new.

It is worth noting that while there have been plenty of hints – some deliberate, others perhaps not so much – Maxis and EA have not explicitly confirmed anything about the development of the next instalment of the franchise.

What we do know is that The Sims 4 requires a lot of panel beating in its current state – and even the panel beating can result in additional challenges. As one of the most recent examples: the Paranormal update has seemingly resulted in Sims all suffering the same fate as Bonehilda, causing puddles to appear everywhere when they get water.

While competition in this genre has always been pretty much non-existent, the emergence of indie games like Paralives changes the landscape and The Sims won’t have the luxury of affording the same mistakes with its next edition.


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