The Sims franchise has been around for over 20 years, which is a massive feat for any IP in the industry. The Sims has always had a pretty active community aspect, with many players creating Custom Content (CC) for the game that other PC players could download and use. CC is still alive and well with The Sims 4 community with many players making things like clothes and furniture. While the franchise has always had a dedicated community, it wasn’t until The Sims 4 released that the developers started to pay attention to it and become involved with it.
The Sims 4 Custom Content Birthday Celebration
One of the most prominent integrations of community accessibility within The Sims 4 is the Gallery, a place where people can upload their creations and others can download them. People will upload their Sims, community lots, and residential buildings for others to use within their own game. It took a bit of time to happen, but the Gallery now works across all platforms so PC players can download console creations or vice versa. Players can even upload things they’ve made using CC, but others have to find the matching CC for the item to work as intended. Otherwise, players can just swap the CC items for something already in the game.
The Gallery is a fantastic way for players to connect and get design ideas for their game, but The Sims team has gone even further in fostering a real sense of community between The Sims 4 players and its developers. The first moment a change could be seen was on Nov. 13, 2020 with the release of The Sims 4: Snowy Escape expansion pack that not only added diversity to the game but worked with different content creators to build all of the lots in the pack. Players had often complained about the quality of the builds in the base game and other packs, so it was exciting to see the developers work so closely with content creators known for their building skills.
On Feb. 4, 2021, The Sims franchise turned 21 years old and did a birthday update to celebrate the occasion. The Sims team worked with well-known CC creators to add interesting new items to the game, such as new makeup, clothes, furniture, and even food items. This was important because console players have no access to CC, so this update gave them an opportunity to use items they could not play with otherwise. Both the release of Snowy Escape and The Sims’ birthday celebration seem to show the developer has a new dedication to collaborating with different The Sims 4 players and fostering a deeper sense of community.
The Sims 4 Community Collaboration Efforts
This more collaborative community between the developer and players is on full display with the newest expansion pack, The Sims 4: Cottage Living. The new pack takes players to the picturesque English countryside of Henford-on-Bagley with tons of new Create-A-Sim and Build/Buy mode items, not to mention some new farming gameplay. The entire premise of Cottage Living shows that the developers are paying attention to what The Sims 4 players are asking for, as farming gameplay was a highly requested feature before Cottage Living’s release.
Much like The Sims 4: Snowy Escape, the developer collaborated with a new lot of content creators to craft the different lots found in Henford-on-Bagley. The collaboration with these Simmers also fixed an issue that players had with Snowy Escape as well. Some The Sims 4 players were unhappy that the developer didn’t work with anyone from the Japanese areas that Mt. Komorebi is inspired by. Conversely, the developers worked with four different Simmers from the United Kingdom to make the various community and residential lots in Cottage Living.
As evidenced by the birthday update, The Sims team isn’t just collaborating with people for paid content, which makes the efforts on their end seem more genuine and sincere. The Sims 4 players know that base game updates come before the release of a new pack, and sometimes the updates contain new items for players to use in-game. The most recent updates have added new artwork that’s been drawn by players and celebrates diversity and inclusion.
A patch in early July added a piece of artwork depicting a Pride celebration full of different types of bodies and racial diversity. Most recently, before Cottage Living became available to players, the base game update added two new art pieces drawn by LGBTQIA+ artists along with a revamped large afro hairstyle. It’s been about a year since The Sims 4 came under fire for its lack of skin tone diversity and poor representations of Black hairstyles, but it seems the team has been working hard to correct these mistakes. The skin tone update added over 100 new tones to the game, and now the developers are going back and fixing the Black hairstyles that need work.
Another issue players have encountered while playing The Sims 4 is the gendered nature of the game’s notifications. It’s hard to have a nonbinary Sim who uses they/them pronouns when the game constantly misgenders them with she or he pronouns. One Simmer made it their mission to tweet at The Sims' Twitter account every day until the developers acknowledged the issue. The developers did not disappoint and acknowledged that the scripts for the game need to change. While there’s no further updates on when players can expect to see these changes in-game, it’s monumental that a player was able to enact such a big change for The Sims 4.
The Future of The Sims 4 and Its Community
Since the development of The Sims 4: Snowy Escape, it’s clear that the developer has been working hard to connect with more The Sims 4 players to really make the game feel like a labor of love and community effort. As of recently, it genuinely feels like the developers are listening to community feedback and putting in the work to make the game as inclusive and fun as possible. This is the most interactive The Sims franchise has ever been with its player base, and it’s incredibly affirming to see the developers work closely with players and creators to improve the game.
The Sims 4 is the longest-running installment of the franchise, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, especially with the new standard of community involvement and collaboration. It’s hard to tell what the future of The Sims 4 will look like, but if the game keeps including the community the way it has, it seems like the game could continue to be around for quite a while longer.