Electronic Arts and Maxis held a special Behind The Sims Summit stream on Tuesday that celebrated 22 years of the iconic life simulation game and teased what’s next for the franchise.
Perhaps most notably, players can now download The Sims 4 base game for free via Steam and Origin for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, as well as the Xbox Series X, Series S and Xbox One. The development team will continue to release game updates and Sims Delivery Express drops to keep the base game fresh and fun.
Here’s everything announced during the Behind The Sims Summit stream:
Hinting at The Sims 5?
During the stream, The Sims 4 team announced Project Rene — a very early look at the next generation of The Sims game. The Sims 5 wasn’t explicitly mentioned and because this is such an early sneak peek, it’s likely that the final iteration of Project Rene will look quite different.
During the stream, viewers got a look at an entirely overhauled build and buy system. The customization in the demo looked highly detailed. Instead of a basic pre-made bed, the revamped interface showed the ability to customize the bed’s base and footboard. In addition, the demo previewed a color wheel and patterns, instead of pre-selected color swatches and designs.
The demo showed separate adjustable pillows for furniture, as well as what looked like the ability to move items in a room without adhering to the grid or using any cheats. The new teased interface looks like a program you’d use as an interior designer, which would greatly elevate the realism of The Sims. The team also showed off tests for new library sharing features and cross-platform play.
Again, it’s not guaranteed that any of this will be exactly what players will be able to check out in the next few years.
New expansion packs coming next year
In addition to the free base game news, The Sims 4 team promised more downloadable content coming to the game. We got a glimpse at some concept art for colorful new worlds, rustic new builds, detailed clutter and modern clothes.
No specific titles were announced, but the stream wrapped up with a teaser involving infant Sims. The short clip showed a diapered baby babbling and crawling through a living room. The baby stopped and gave an adorable sneeze before rolling onto its back and being picked up by an adult Sim.
This brief animation definitely seems to signal more dynamic gameplay around babies in The Sims. Whether we’ll get a dedicated expansion pack, or not, the baby previewed in the stream is more advanced than what Simmers can play with currently.
Updates for The Sims Freeplay and The Sims Mobile
During the stream, the Maxis development team announced new updates to The Sims FreePlay and The Sims Mobile.
The Sims FreePlay will release a free update to the appearances of preteen, teenager, adult and elderly Sims. This update will include new hairstyles and accessories across genders. Players can look forward to a new narrative for the annual Christmas quest in December, as well as the ability to build and live in a super yacht in 2023.
In addition, The Sims Mobile will introduce balconies to its build and buy catalog this holiday season.
Working closer with creators
The right mod or custom content can spruce up dull gameplay. The Sims 4 team announced a new collaboration with Overwolf, operators of CurseForge, a mod manager and discovery platform for user-generated content, to create a new, safe space for Simmers to download mods and custom content. This greatly dials down the risk of clicking a shady link and getting a computer virus.
The new mod and custom content destination will launch later this year, though we don’t know which specific mods will be available.