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EA officially unveils The Sims 3

"Unleash your imagination" in 2009.

EA has officially lifted the lid on The Sims 3, announcing it'll be released sometime next year.

The star attractions will include a seamless neighbourhood to wander around plus full character and object customisation.

You will also be able to assign your Sims five traits from the Realistic Personality System. I might be handsome, witty, charming, committed and caring, for example.

EA reckons there are around 700 million possible combinations.

"In The Sims 3, Sims can go beyond the boundaries of their home lot, and immerse themselves in an open, living neighbourhood, interacting with other Sims using our new deeper personality system," said Rod Humble, boss of the Sims Studio.

"It is this type of open-ended gameplay that inspires endless creative possibilities. In addition the new goals and rewards systems will give players of all kinds from core gamers to storytellers the ability to enjoy long-term gameplay."

You can find much more with our freshly published preview of The Sims 3.