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The Sims 4 gets a big free patch ahead of new High School Years expansion

High School Years is out Thursday, but everyone gets some new additions

Teenage sims around the pool in The Sims 4 Image: Maxis/Electronic Arts
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

The Sims 4 got a major base game update on Tuesday ahead of the High School Years expansion pack launching Thursday. The patch is out now, and free for everyone.

Your Sims won’t be able to attend Copperdale High School if you don’t buy the expansion pack, which means no prom, cheer team, or studying for tests. But there’s still a new phone and body hair!

Here’s everything new in The Sims 4 as of Tuesday:

New phone

The phone in The Sims 4 has been updated with a new interface, but all the old functionality is still available. EA says customizing backgrounds and case colors is “easier than ever.”

Body hair

Sims teenaged and older can now have body hair — without being a werewolf. Hair can be added to a Sim’s arms, legs, torso, and back. These options are available in the body section of the Create-A-Sim menu.

By the way, body hair can grow — a new feature. That means trimming body hair is a thing, too.

Sexual orientation

The Sims 4’s Create-A-Sim menu now supports more sexual orientations. You can get to these options from the More Details part of the Customize Gender option. The way it’s set up allows for a lot of experiences, including asexual and aromantic Sims. In this menu, there are three selections:

  • “This Sim is romantically attracted to: Men/Women”
  • “This Sim is exploring romantically: Yes/No”
  • “This Sim is interested in Mess Around with: Men/Women”

Having these options independent of each other allows for plenty of variation; for instance, a Sim that’s option to exploring romantically could explore romantic attraction with other genders.

Electronic Arts has noted previously that The Sims 4 is still limited, technically, by a male and female binary — even though you can use nonbinary gender pronouns. The developers said this update is the first update in a commitment to updating gender customization in The Sims 4. The system may be expanded to support other genders later.

Wants and fears

The Sims 4 is removing “whims” (little “goals” Sims could have), some of which were related to their traits, aspirations, and emotions. Meeting a Sims whim would give satisfaction points to the player. It’s all been replaced with the wants and fears, which “includes a large selection of Wants that your Sims will want to achieve or Fears they want to overcome.”

Basically, it sounds like it’s a similar system, but more streamlined and specific to your individual Sims. There are three slots: long-term, short-term, and one that reacts to situations. Fears, on the other hand, are generated based off stuff that happens in-game, like a fire. These can be overcome, however! If you don’t want this, you can toggle it off in the Gameplay menu; it’s on by default.

Curved walls

You can make curved walls if you hate corners, using the new tools whenever you’re creating a structure. These are available in the Build tools. Electronic Arts said the feature will be familiar to people that have made curved decks, fences, and platforms. Plenty of doors and windows work on these new walls, but there are some that don’t match perfectly — a new filter has been added to pick out the ones that work perfect in the Build/Buy menu.

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.