The Sims was so successful in unexpected ways, they had to move quickly to take advantage of this success. Maxis grew from about 80 people when The Sims shipped to over 400 people based on the success of The Sims Franchise.
The first pack, Livin' Large had a 50% tie ratio to the base product, and unheard of sales figure... so we thought, 'hey, this is a pretty interesting business strategy.' We also didn't really understand how vibrant our community would become, and how important our web development efforts were.
Will Wright wasn't much involved in the Sims expansionpacks. A little bit with Livin'Large (he made the sad clown and was the voice of the genie), but with most packs he had more of an advisory role. The reason is that quickly after the Sims launch, he began working on the Sims Online.
Wright: "I have to admit that, when we did the first expansion pack, I was probably the one person in the entire company arguing against it. Saying, "Why are we wasting time doing expansion packs!?" But in fact it turned out to be a great model for us. The expansion packs kind of give them something periodic to look forward to where we can actually change the rules of the game."
Livin'Large: The first Sims expansion came out in September 2000 and added about 125 new objects to the game, 5 new careers, more neighbourhoods and added a medieval, futuristic and 50's theme.
Interesting objects in this pack were the Vibro-Matic bed, the robot housekeeper Servo, the magic lamp and the chemistry lab.
House Party: The second expansion pack came out in March 2001 and added about 100 new objects, five new music and dance styles and made it easy to have parties with the caterer, partycake and celebrities showing up. It also added a cowboy, rave and luau theme.
Interesting objects were the mechanical bull, bubbleblower, campfire and dance floor.
Hot Date: One of the 'bigger' expansionpacks (140 new objects). Released in November 2001, it was the first time Sims could go 'out of the house'. It came with a downtown area filled with shops, restaurants and parks where they could meet neighbors and the new 'townies'. Sims were given Interests, a short- and lifetime relationbar and the amount of sim-interactions more then doubled.
Interesting objects were the love tub, the Lover's swing, bay window and koipond.
Vacation: The fourth expansion is the one where Sims could go on vacation. It came out in March 2002 and added about 100 objects. Sims could go to a snow, beach or forest resort.
This pack is regarded as one of the lesser packs since it had only 100 objects, most of them not usuable in the Sims home. It also came with some bugs like very few people showing up in the vacationresorts.
Interesting objects were the arcade machines, poolslide, tub-shower combo and snowboard halfpipe.
Unleashed: The biggest expansion and also the most succesfull one. It wasn't big for the amount of objects-only 125, but because it added so many things to the game. Pets ofcourse, cats, dogs, birds, fish, turtles and iguana's, but also expanded the neighbourhood to 4 times its size. It also came with a downtown area inside the neighbourhood itself (old town), you could grow your own food, which the sim could either eat or sell, there were new careers, a pet competition and it added a New Orleans French Quarter theme. This expansion came out in September 2002.
Interesting objects were the spiral stairs, floorfountain, scarecrow, and arches.
Superstar: Released in May 2003, it was the first time you could send your sim to work in studiotown and actually see your sims working. Sims could be a movie star, rock star or fashion model. This pack introduced the 'fame' score, you could hire a butler and had some of the biggest objects yet like the skydiving simulator and scuba tank. In total it added 150 new objects which were great in quality.
Interesting objects were the satelite dish, karaoke machine, mudbath and the aformentioned scuba tank.
Makin'Magic: The last Sims 1 expansion arrived in October 2003 and added the most objects yet (175). This was the pack that introduced magic to the sims and added strange characters like the mummy, skeleton maid and a pet dragon.
There was a Magic town where you could buy potions but also a Spook show and the Magic Dueling Arena where you could earn magic tokens.
Interesting objects were the customizable carnival ride, baker's oven, spinning wheel and nectar press