The Sims 4 battle royale, part 1: Survival of the simmest

2017 was the year of battle royale, and as every single game rushes to add a battle royale mode I thought I'd get ahead of the curve. The interesting thing about battle royale is that you don't need to kill anyone else to win, you just need to be the last one standing. Which brings me to The Sims 4, a game where Sims don't kill each other but they can die under certain circumstances. And I'm just the guy to create those circumstances.

Over the next few days I'll take eight Sims, send them camping, surround them with encroaching blue walls that make their arena smaller and smaller, and see who winds up being the last Sim standing. I won't control them directly, I'll just fence them in, occasionally drop helpful items nearby, and allow the winner to cook their own chicken dinner.

This is Battle Royale. Or, as a Sim would put it, Wee Flurbs Ooh Be Gah Bloo Bagoo.

I gave my eight Sims random names and appearances—though unfortunately you can't assign random traits in-game so I painstakingly used a random number generator to select their attributes. I'm only pointing this out so you know how hard I worked on this.

Have a look at the eight 'competitors' in the gallery below.

Naturally, I can't just dump my Sims in the woods: first I have to move them into a house, then make one of them use their phone to go on vacation (with the Outdoor Retreat add-on), then rent a small campground, then immediately visit Granite Falls Forest, a national park. Then I make them use their phone again to invite the other seven Sims along. I then use the phone again to extend the vacation for two weeks. That should be enough time for everybody (except one!) to die.

Granite Falls feels like a good spot for a battle royale match. There's a cabin for gearing up (or for standing around and talking about sailboats), there are trees for cover from incoming WhooHoo advances, a couple public restrooms, and an area for games and a campfire. It's not quite PUBG's Erangel map, but it's close enough. 

Let's take a look at the players skydiving in!

Well, at least some of them run off as if they're in a rush to scavenge gear, but truthfully they're just going to admire their surroundings and engage in chitchat, possibly because they have no idea they're in a fight to the death. A few play horseshoes, some relax or explore. Adan eventually shows some situational awareness and goes prone (he lies on his back and looks at the clouds).

The day goes by and they sit by the fire, use the bathroom (there's one in the cabin and two public lavs outside), and steadily everyone grows a bit uncomfortable. The first one to pass out and fall asleep (on his face in the dirt) is Arturo (I knew he was weak). There are a couple benches in the cabin to sleep on, but everyone seems to love being outside. Finally, morning rolls around, and I get down to making this entire event less of a holiday and more of a mandatory battle for survival.

I put a wall around the park and paint it blue to emulate PUBG's electrical field. Note: I can't just use a single wall to box the park in or it'll automatically add in a floor, thus completely wiping the park clean. So, I use four individual double-wide walls instead. Again, this detail is simply provided to let you know this is hard work for me.

So, they're trapped, but other than being generally tired and uncomfortable, and sometimes bitten by insects, everyone seems to be doing okay. A few level up some skills (Lori, my favorite, learns the deadly art of comedy) and I simulate an airdrop, using a random number generator to determine if it's a food, comfort, or entertainment item. It's food, so I drop a cooler. Lori (go Lori!) gets to it first and eats a bowl of something from it, so I delete it.

The food drop seems to be a moot point because everyone else is eating, too, because there's an outdoor grill near the wall I've completely overlooked. But hey, in the early minutes of battle royale, loot is never hard to find. I still credit Lori for getting to the cooler first.

And we've also got our first injury. Gunnar has had his feelings hurt and is looking a bit mopey. Is there a bandage for feelings?

As night falls, everyone heads into the cabin. It's a good move: lots of loot in there, by which I mean terrariums containing butterflies to learn about, plus a couch to sleep on and a bathroom, though the toilet breaks immediately and poor squeamish Arturo has to mop up after it. I still think you'll be the first to go, Art.

In the morning, the competitors find that their space has grown smaller as the blue walls have closed in a bit more. Even worse: the red zone bombing has begun!

Okay, there's not a red zone, nor are there bombs falling. But a small fire has broken out. All eight players quickly rush over to stare at it. There's panic but no action as the fire slowly burns itself out, and Adan, tactical genius he is, abruptly falls asleep. I'm suddenly thinking there will be no winners in this fast-paced battle royale match. No winners at all.

Well, perhaps it's not the most thrilling start to a nail-biting, heart-pounding post-apocalyptic struggle for survival. Keep in mind, though the number of chairs around the campfire has dropped to three. Head to Part 2 to see if more chairs suffer the same fate.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.