If you believe the rumor mill, the next Sims 4 Expansions Pack is a reboot of The Sims 3: Generations. That pack added weddings, high school graduations, new kids’ activities, and relationship drama to the game. With all the speculation about what might be coming, here’s what Simmers are hoping to see this year.
Improved Relationship Mechanics
Family dynamics have come a long way since the initial release of The Sims 4, but there’s still a lot more EA could do to add richness and variety to family relationships. The family tree, for example, only shows five total generations, including the current (youngest) one. This makes ongoing Legacy Challenges and multigenerational family storytelling difficult.
Another limitation of the family relationships in The Sims 4 is that Sims will only recognize their immediate family members out in the world. This isn’t a huge deal in early saves, but once you have a couple of generations of a Sim family, you can run into some awkward kissing cousins situations.
A Sims 4 Generations Pack could expand the family tree by having extended family members interact in unique ways. Children who are cousins, for example, could have a higher starting relationship but be more prone to arguments like siblings. Each family could have a fun uncle, an outcast cousin, and other unique family traits to keep things interesting.
Expanded Life Stages
EA started drumming up hype for a new life stage — infants — way back at the Behind the Sims Summit in Oct. 2022, so we already have that to look forward to. But they could expand on multigenerational gameplay in other ways, too.
Currently, the elder life stage is a little bit underdeveloped. Yes, elders can retire from their jobs and continue to collect a paycheck, freeing up their time to do whatever they want. However, there’s nothing unique about elder activities. Anything a young adult Sim can do, an elder Sim can do, and vice versa.
EA could flesh out the elder life stage by giving them unique activities, locations, and objects, like a bingo hall, mobility aids such as canes and walkers, dentures, and more. One of the graphics from the 2023 roadmap video seems to refer to teeth, adding to speculation about elder activities.
It would be fun to see a new life stage between children and teenagers, too — tweens. Yes, as a parent, I can tell you that the bridge between childhood and adolescence has a totally different landscape than either of the other two life stages. And as a former middle schooler, I know how bizarre and complex social interactions between tweens can be. A middle school update could be a clever addition to the High School Years Expansion Pack.
The Behind the Sims Summit teased that new worlds would be coming to The Sims 4 in 2023. Early concept art shows families of Sims out and about interacting in exciting new ways. A parent carries a baby in a sling on their back while a child rides a bicycle next to them. A parent and child walk hand in hand past an adult enjoying the outdoors.
Sure, the existing Sims 4 neighborhoods have plenty of family-friendly activities to do. There are parks with playgrounds, chess boards, and even pet agility courses. But getting families of Sims to do something together is actually really hard. You can send them to the park together, but once they get there, they all go off and do their own thing.
EA’s concept art suggests that a Generations Pack or update could add new family-friendly community lots with more interesting activities and interactive ways to play with families of Sims. Parents could teach their children how to ride bikes or push their babies around town in cozy little prams.
Parties and social events are a key part of the Sims 4 universe, helping Sims build new relationships, complete Aspirations, and earn rewards. Sims can host social events to celebrate birthdays and weddings, dinner parties to show off their cooking skills, and house parties for any reason at all.
A Generations Expansion Pack could bring new family-centered social events to the game. Sims could have bachelor and bachelorette parties to celebrate the bride or groom-to-be. Friends could throw baby showers for pregnant Sims to help them prepare for the new arrival. Families could host annual reunions to get all the distant relatives together for a cookout. And, of course, a Sim funeral could bring together friends, family, lovers, and enemies of departed Sims, producing some interesting encounters.
Wants That Work
Wants have been part of the Sims franchise since The Sims 2. But in The Sims 4, they’re still very broken. They’re repetitive and usually irrelevant to a Sim’s actual situation, and to top it all off, completing them only earns a tiny handful of Reward Points. Many Simmers have turned off the Wants and Fears system entirely — and repeatedly, because it’s so broken, it turns itself back on mid-game.
A Generations Expansion or other family-themed update could revamp the Wants and Fears in a way that makes players turn them back on — on purpose! The Sims 3: Generations Expansion Pack added mid-life crises to the game; Wants and Fears that showed up when young adults turned into adults and became aware of their own mortality.
EA could go in new directions, too, adding more wants relevant to a Sim’s life stage and situation. Pregnant Sims could have Wants around getting things in order for the new baby. Teen Sims could have fears associated with the social complexities of high school. More relevant Wants and Fears could push Simmers to play in ways they otherwise wouldn’t, bringing new life to the Sims world.
Children’s fashion got a big update with the First Fits Kit in 2022, and teens got some cool new outfits in the High School Years EP. But elders still have the same not-so-old clothes as young adult Sims. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for fashion-forward seniors, but not every elder wants to dress like a runway model.
A Generations EP could bring us new fashion for different ages and stages. I’d love to see elders in orthopedic shoes and hair bonnets, hand-knit sweaters, and a housedress like the one your grandma wore that gave you eight aunts and uncles. With the new infant life stage that we’ve already been promised, we might even see some cute new outfits on the itty bitty babies strolling about town.
While researching for this article, I was stunned to learn that The Sims 4 already has a built-in memory system in the in-game screenshots. When viewing your screenshots and selfies in-game, you can choose to make them a memory, and affected Sims will react to it from time to time. But in eight years of playing, I’ve literally never seen it, so it clearly could have a larger role in-game.
A Generations Expansion could beef up the memory system, tying it into the existing Sentiments to add new levels of nuance to Sim family dynamics for Simmers who love the storytelling aspect of the game.
Another story-enhancing feature could be more Sim randomization opportunities. Yes, being able to control every aspect of a Sim’s life is nice, but some Simmers (like me) need a little nudge to shake things up now and again. Many Community Challenges, such as the Random Legacy Challenge, depend on online random trait generators to randomize Sim traits.
A Generations update could build a randomization system into the game at key points — such as when a new baby is born or a Sim becomes an adult and enters a midlife crisis — to keep Simmers on their toes.
What are you looking forward to from The Sims 4 in 2023? Do you think Generations will be the next Expansion Pack? What are your favorite rumors about the Sims 4 roadmap? Let us know in the comments below!
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