SAN FRANCISCO — Maybe it's neat, childish, lucky, ambitious and insane — it just depends on what traits gamers choose for their neighborhood of virtual playthings in The Sims 3, Electronic Arts and Maxis' popular life- simulating game for the PC and Mac.
Executive producer Ben Bell said the game, which will be available Wednesday, will focus more on social behavior than ever before.
"The Sims 3 is a huge step forward for us," said Bell. "You can create incredibly detailed people who have real personalities that you get to design using a feature we call personality traits. By combining words, you can create a new kind of a person that has totally different desires in life, and then you get to go fulfill their destiny in the game."
Unlike previous editions in the series, every character will live their lives simultaneously in the fictional town of Sunset Valley.
Bell said The Sims 3 will also feature a moviemaking tool and more options for players to customize their Sims' homes, furnishings and clothes. Gamers can even turn their Sims into kleptomaniacs.
In perhaps a case of life imitating art, a pirated copy of The Sims 3 was leaked on several file-sharing Web sites two weeks before the game's launch.
EA said the pirated version "is a buggy, pre-final" version of the game.
"It's not the full game. Half of the world — an entire second city — is missing," spokeswoman Holly Rockwood said in a statement.