children playing on a playground in The Sims 4
Maxis/Electronic Arts

It’s just the start of a promising new system

On Tuesday, Maxis announced a big change that’s on the way in an upcoming update. It’s a new feature called Neighborhood Stories, introducing gameplay moments that happen to Sims outside of the player’s control. This is similar to a popular feature from The Sims 3 called Story Progression. When you’re not watching, neighbor Sims will live their own lives. They may choose a new career, have a baby, or divorce their spouse. Neighborhood Stories is set to be released for The Sims 4 on Nov. 30, 2021.

To start, Neighborhood Stories will be slightly limited. The feature will be focused on a few life changes for Sims in your character’s immediate vicinity, like colleagues or bar buddies. In the future, more Sims will be affected, and they’ll make more decisions without the player’s input. However, you still get to control how things develop. Neighbor Sims with a big problem on their mind will call you for input, or you can simply point a Neighbor towards a decision to encourage them to make it themselves.

This adds some fun opportunities to be a good neighbor — or to inflict chaos on everyone around you. You can be a matchmaker and encourage like-minded people to get together, or you can break up relationships and swoop in on the newly-single Sim. This comes with new Aspirations: Neighborhood Confidante, for those who like to lend a hand, and Villainous Valentine for those who prefer the juicy drama of a break-up.

Neighborhood Stories will be part of a free update on Nov. 30, and Maxis will keep updating the system. This first update builds a foundation for Neighbor Sims acting on their own, and we may see more wild Sims stories as a result.

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