Electronic Arts has released the first official details of the next version of The Sims, one of the world's best selling computer games, which will launch in 2009.
Nearly three years in the making, The Sims 3 will feature a new games engine that promises greater immersion and "unlimited customisation".
With 98 million games sold around the world in 22 languages, the transgender appeal of the franchise has made The Sims the third best selling game in history, behind Mario and Pokemon.
"In The Sims 3, Sims can go beyond the boundaries of their home lot, and immerse themselves in an open, living neighbourhood, interacting with other Sims using our new deeper personality system," said Rod Humble, head of The Sims Studio.
"It is this type of open-ended gameplay that inspires endless creative possibilities. In addition the new goals and rewards systems will give players of all kinds from core gamers to storytellers the ability to enjoy long-term gameplay."
Ben Bell, executive producer on The Sims 3, added: "The new engine and technologies are designed to unleash the player's imagination with realistic looking Sims who have distinct personalities and a seamless neighbourhood to discover."
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