Relationships in The Sims 2
Indications are that Maxis is investing a considerable amount of effort in relationships beyond just "boy meets girl." The characters will know who their parents are, and (we hope) other family members.
We are looking forward to learning whether this feature means that a guy will finally be able to hug his mother without invoking feelings of neurotic jealousy in his girlfriend. Can sims be programmed to understand the concept of emotionally licensed extramarital affection?
Raising children will be a major part of game play in The Sims 2. Early experiences driver whether the child will grow to be a happy, well-adjusted adult. Since sims pass their genetics on to their children, mistakes you make early on might affect the entire future of your game if you continue to play the progeny of those families.
Discipline also plays a major role in The Sims 2 families. How well the children are disciplined affects whether you have a dysfunctional family or have your sims enjoy their pursuit of happiness.
We are eager to see how this feature turns out. We were unable to find a single screen shot that depicts a happy family in The Sims 2. Indeed, as with The Sims, all group activities depicted so far emphasize extremely negative relationships.
Based on what little information is available now, one might expect that Maxis seems to be as obsessed with dysfunctional families as they are with excreta, but that might just stem from them wanting to show all aspects of sims' lives in the screen shots. We certainly hope so; a game about psychotic people and dysfunctional families would not appeal to us at all.
We did find some screen shots that gives us a basis for hope that The Sims 2 will treat families as more than just dark comedy among the lunatic fringe. Two scenes depict grandpa encouraging a toddler to take her first steps, and another apparently shows grandpa teaching granddaughter how to dance the tango.
These positive images are only one-on-one activities, but they at least give us a portent that the sims will be able to gather in groups of more than one two and still enjoy each other's company.