Into The Future, the eleventh and final expansion pack for The Sims 3 franchise, satisfies a part of my fantasy for Electronic Arts to combine Maxis and BioWare together to develop "The Sims: Mass Effect." Now, Into The Future may not allow me to roleplay as a turian doctor with a foul mouth, but it at least lays down the groundwork for me to imagine what Earth might look like in several hundred years... and lets me design a Plumbot called Legion equipped with Sentience and Sinister Circuits. I'll send an apology to the quarians when the time comes.
Upon reloading your most recent save or starting a new household's worth of Sims, a time traveler will sudden appear through a glowing portal affixed to the front of your home lot and will prompt you to travel with him to the future, after you wave goodbye to your pets (as I did with my Siberian husky, Garrus). This warps you to the community center at Oasis Landing, a place where food and water are synthesized, citizens travel in hovercrafts and jetpacks, computers and televisions are holographic, and every object has an ergonomic, geometrically refined aesthetic.
Indeed, many assets are mimics, standard items that have been reskinned to fit the futuristic theme, though there are notable exceptions. Both the FoodForge Cuisine Synthesizer and SAM-7 Drink Synthesizer Unit will create meals and drinks instantly at a cost. The Tarisian Well Sonic Shower uses pulsating waves to clean Sims in almost half the time of a normal shower, and the Sweet Escape Dream Pod allows the player to control the dreams of a Sim, to the point where my Sim ran up the Himalayas so many times in his head that he woke up extremely fit and lean. (You can even dream about something special if you unlock the door of the crashed ship in the wasteland.) Moreover, the Wind Carver hoverboard and Second X-7 Jetpack erase the need for walking, though the former moves much like a broomstick from the Supernatural expansion.
These foreign gadgets are unusual to say the least, and a present-day Sim with low Advanced Technology, one of the three new skills in Into The Future, will experience frequent failures and mishaps when using them. But as your Sim adapts to this Jetsons lifestyle, he or she will be able to ride jetpacks with ease, upgrade the quality of the food synthesizer, and bathe in a power sonic shower. The Laser Rhythm-a-con, a musical instrument made of lights, has a skill of its own that works almost exactly like the guitar skill. Bot Building rounds out the trio by allowing your Sim to construct nanites, chips, and robots, which is similar to gathering ingredients and researching recipes for the Alchemy skill. For some reason, building bots and playing the laser instrument doesn't increase the Advanced Technology skill, but that's a small price to pay.
Out of the three new skills, Bot Building has the longest lasting impact, as Plumbots are fully customizable and become playable characters, until you choose to sell them at the Bot Emporium. As your Bot Building skill improves, you can create Plumbots of higher quality and install more chips that can turn a Plumbot into the perfect nanny, office worker, janitor, chef, fisherman, and companion. All they need are occasional tune-ups and rest in charging pods. Developing the Plumbot's chipset and various skills will net you a higher chance at winning trophies in Bot Arena competitions. The only thing you can't do are human-Plumbot WooHoos, which is odd as a human-Plumbot couple can kiss, hug, make out, and do pretty much everything else that a human couple can. It makes me want to campaign for robot marriage and wave a flag made of ones and zeros.
On top of that, Into The Future deals with the concept of time in more than a passing manner by allowing you to alter the fate of Oasis Landing. By completing specific missions in the present day (or getting the Time Remote as a Lifetime Reward), Oasis Landing can become a polluted dystopia with meteors falling from the sky or a utopia with vibrantly colorful trees, rainbow snails, and jolly-go-lucky Sims. As terrible as the dystopia might sound, the meteors do hide high-value gems and the pollution only really extends to trash piles. While expecting the dystopia to be like Fallout might be aiming too high, there could have been much more destruction and many more dilapidated buildings.
How your Sim acts in present day, including his or her wealth and personality, factors into the future by, in turn, how affluent your descendants are. If your Sim takes a turn for the worse, some descendants may disappear. Performing specific actions in present day will also put your Sim's name in stone, quite literally. Five Legacy Statues stand in the middle of Oasis Landing as a tribute to five Sims who have significantly contributed to Sim history for being, as an example, a musical genius, a philanthropist, or a technological innovator. Successfully becoming one (or more) of those five figures nets a permanent mood boost while in the future, which is a mighty fine reward.
Electronic Arts and Maxis could have phoned in this last expansion pack for The Sims 3, but Into The Future is as complete and finished off as the equally strong Supernatural expansion. The wealth of new items, the introduction of Plumbots, and how well it integrates the influence of time make this downloadable content worth the price of admission.