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New Sims 4 update gives neighbors more free will, potential accidental deaths

Expanding on Neighborhood Stories

Two people talking about home design, one of which is holding paint swatches, in The Sims 4 Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Neighborhood Stories is a relatively new feature for The Sims 4, and it gives free will to other Sims in the world. A common fan complaint in The Sims 4’s base experience was that a Sim’s neighbor remained frozen in time; even if they age and pass away, they don’t make any decisions or change their household meaningfully. Neighborhood Stories’ initial launch made a few changes available for a small pool of Sims, and Maxis is expanding on it with a new free update that went live on Tuesday.

This new update to Neighborhood Stories gives neighbor Sims the ability to make certain choices. These new life changes are now available, and they expand past the immediate circle of friends, coworkers, and acquaintances of the player Sim. According to the news announcement, neighbor Sims may now:

Adopt young Sims into their household, aged between infant and toddler.

Become pregnant with their Significant Other, and eventually deliver. Family-Oriented Sims are more likely to do this, while Noncommittal Sims are less likely. If a Sim or their SO Hates Children, they will never do this.

Some Sims may instead adopt a dog or cat (requires The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs).

Join and leave careers. Sim Traits heavily influence these decisions. Elder Sims may decide to retire.

Households can move into and out of lots.

Die in different kinds of accidents, depending on risk factors such as Age, Traits, and Career.

The second addition is a new set of gameplay controls that allow players to opt in, out, or fine tune their Neighborhood Stories system. If you don’t want a neighbor to have an accident or adopt a pet, you can toggle those on and off. You can also adjust the Stories settings for a specific household, or globally disable them altogether.

Neighborhood Stories interactions can be found in mailboxes, and players should see these changes in action as they go about their lives. A hated coworker might stop showing up, or an old friend might get married and adopt. It’s an interesting addition to the life simulator, and it’s good to see Maxis is adding onto the original foundation.