The Sims 4’s newest expansion pack, Growing Together, is all about family. Initially announced in February, the DLC offers more storytelling options for Sims families — from familial activities like building a tree house together to new social features that will help create stronger bonds between your Sims.
In a press preview event, several Sims 4 team members including lead designer Scott Dai and lead producer Graham Nardone walked the press through a range of new features and gameplay mechanics that come with the pack including family dynamics, the new world of San Sequoia, and a slew of social interactions and aspirations for all age groups.
Growing Together will open up a host of ways for families to be played and explored in the game, through key choices that will shape Sims’ lives in the long run, family dynamics that impact social chemistry, and deeper ways to tell familial stories — no matter the kind of family players are creating.
New family dynamics and interactions
The expansion pack’s big focus is on multigenerational gameplay through new social elements and interactions. And while family gameplay is already a core feature of the Sims 4, Growing Together seems like it will be taking familial relationships even deeper. A new drop-down menu will be available in Create-A-Sim under household relationships where players will be able to set specific family dynamics between individual family members.
Some of those dynamics include Difficult, Supportive, and Jokesters. These new dynamics will help to shape the relationships between Sims in each household, offering up new ways for players to tell stories.
Another new Create-A-Sim addition falls under a likes and dislikes section. Alongside color, music genre, and activity preferences, players can expect to find Sim characteristics and conversation topics. They’ll be able to choose both of these likes and dislikes to help further customize social interactions. Scott Dai explains that when Sims meet, they will be able to look at the traits, characteristics, and lifestyles of other Sims and that those factors will help determine how they interact, further deepening the social system in The Sims 4.
And while there are too many new likes and dislikes to include a full list here, some of the ones I spotted during the press preview include affection, arguments, complaints, funny Sims, high-energy Sims, and nature enthusiasts. These, along with the new dynamics, seem like they’re going to be a lot of fun during active play and in allowing Sims to explore their relationships on their own.
One last major addition is a new feature called milestones. Milestones begin in the Infant life stage and are available through all other stages. There are both negative and positive milestones, such as learning to sit up as an infant, getting married as an adult, and even suffering bladder failure.
Milestones have the potential to leave Sims with a lasting memory that can trigger certain moodlets later on. For example, the developers noted that if a Sim suffers a bladder failure in a certain place, they may have a memory of it later in life while at that location. This addition from Growing Together seems like it’ll help further expand on the storytelling you can do in the Sims, whether you’re looking for additional drama or you want to look back on your Sims lives with fondness once they age up.
A new world
Alongside the new gameplay additions, Growing Together adds a new world to the life sim. From what I did get to see of the bayside town of San Sequoia, there seems to be quite a bit to look forward to — especially in terms of outdoor things to do. Giving big California vibes, San Sequoia features three neighborhoods: Gilbert Gardens, Anchorpoint Wharf, and Hopewell Hills. There’s an urban park with nature paths and a lake with spots for fishing. Two locations in San Sequoia that stood out to me are the movie theater and public splash pad play area that will offer up additional activities for Sims to do as a family or individually.
And as is usually expected with a new expansion pack, there are new activities that Sims can participate in. Sleepovers were mentioned a few times during the preview and players can expect to be able to schedule them on the calendar where other in-game events appear. Child Sims will also be able to make friendship bracelets and learn how to ride a kid-sized bike. These are small but fun details, especially considering that until now Sims just automatically knew how to ride bikes!
Free the babies
While Growing Together is chock full of new content and gameplay for players to dig into, there’s also a new base game update coming out in March as well that is pretty sizable. As Sims players know, babies have been a part of the Sims 4 since the game launched in 2014. But they have never been a playable life stage. The most you could do with them was interact with babies with adult or teen Sims. But on March 14 that all changes with a new update that will be available to all players that will “free the babies”, as Nardone put it.
This new base game update introduces an all-new playable life stage: infants. Before, babies were largely inanimate and were confined to a bassinet. Now they’ll be able to interact with other Sims, crawl around, eat, and work on their own motor skills. This life stage brings players more freedom (and chaos) in how they play with their families. Infants will be able to bite, throw tantrums, and be able to interact with other Sims and animals in unique ways such as being placed into a crib, talking to other Sims, and nursing.
And just as other Sim life stages give each Sim unique quirks, aspirations, and wants, infants will also have their own unique quirks for players to discover such as “hates bedtime” and “loves to be held.”
Infants will be fully customizable within Create-A-Sim as well, with new outfit options, hairstyles, and new skin details like birthmarks. And as with any major update like a brand new life stage, there are plenty of new items to look for as well. New items to look forward to including: four types of cribs (including a travel crib), three new toys, nursery items, and more.
The Infant base game update rolls out on March 14 and The Sims 4: Growing Together expansion pack launches on March 16 across all platforms.