Cautiously excited about The Sims 4 as it seems to be, at least according to the limited information that they have released so far, a blend between The Sims 2 and The Sims 3 which was exactly what I was hoping for. Each world will be divided into 5 neighborhood, each neighborhood having a distinct feel and characteristics. I think the example given during one of the interviews was somewhat akin to Hollywood and Bel Air being neighborhoods that are fairly different than each other but exist within the same city.
Each neighborhood with have up to 5 different lots which can either be residential or commercial. Public spaces are not considered lots and are persistent in that sims will continue to simulate even if you are not present. From my understanding, a public space would be something like an outdoor park whereas a commercial lot would be something like a gym. There will be a “short load” between words, neighborhoods, and lots. Really pretty interested in knowing how short.
Though 25 lots seems like a pretty small size for a world, sims will have the ability to travel between words while retaining personal information (such as belongings, relationships, etc). So, that is actually seems pretty nifty. On the other hand, it sounds very similar to what they did with Sim City in terms of scale: Multiple small cities on a single map for the sake of improving simulation. Simulation appears to be persistent across all zones within a world (world -> neighborhood -> lots and spacing between lots (public places). I am not sure if simulation persists between worlds.
Apparently for jobs, sims will walk off the neighborhood and come back later that night. There was something about a “big surprise” that they weren’t ready to announce so I guess careers and rabbit holes are up in the air at this time.