We’re ready to move to the big city with The Sims 4 City Living release just around the corner. I was lucky enough to attend the UK Producer Tour to cover all the basics of what you can expect with this latest addition to The Sims 4. WARNING: This is a long article; I was very excited and have so much to talk about.
City Living is based solely around a vibrant and immersive city, however it’s not only about the landscape. This pack focuses on how the city lives and breathes, the constant changes and the range of sims that cohabit here. The way of life feels bustling, packed with new features such as festivals, careers and activities.
As a person who grew up extremely close to an ever-changing city, I think the team have done a great job with the feel of San Myshuno. The new world is split up into four new neighbourhoods (districts) and a separate 64×64 lot known as Myshuno Meadows, the ‘green space’ of the city. Your sims can throw weddings here or just relax and enjoy the peace away from the hustle.
You can work your way from the bottom to the top between the four neighbourhoods. The Spice District is filled with run down apartments for those sims who are just finding their footing in the big city. This district also contains the ‘Old Salt House’, a warehouse that gives you the option to turn it into anything you want to. The Spice District is also a great area to work on your sims brand new singing skill with a dedicated karaoke bar. If you’re planning on living on a budget, the Spice District is the place to be.
Slowly moving up the property ladder is the Arts District. This quirky and colourful neighbourhood is usually home to creative sims who aim to be the next Van Gogh, or his critic. The apartment units here still tend to be slightly rundown, some might even contain the ghost of a past tenant… However inspiration flows from the walls in this particular area. There is also a penthouse on offer within the Arts District if your creativity for building is flowing.
Next up is the Fashion District where some very interesting and experimental sims can be found. This neighbourhood is more upscale with another penthouse up for grabs. A second karaoke establishment can be found here if your sims want to enjoy a finer fling with a microphone in hand.
Last but certainly not least is Uptown. I think the name fits this neighbourhood perfectly as it seems to hover epically above the rest of the city. Uptown is the perfect place for new politicians to stand and watch over their city, quite literally. Uptown is super sleek with its glass skyscrapers and fitness suite.
If you watch my videos, you know that I’m not a builder. I didn’t spend too much time in build mode because I wanted to hop into the gameplay opportunities. However, Platinum Simmers specifically requested that I checked if there were any new roof options available with City Living and unfortunately there were not. But personally I wouldn’t let this news put you off, as there are plenty of brand new items and lot traits to play with!
The colour palette for this expansion is quite bright and colourful, much like the previous packs we have seen for The Sims 4. The reason behind this palette choice is the inspiration of different cultures. I asked Sim Guru Grant which areas and cultures of the real world the team took most inspiration from and his reply was “Japan, Morocco and India”. This inspiration also flows through to Create A Sim so you can now create more culturally diverse sims!
Lot traits have been introduced in this third expansion. You can add traits to any home to make them more tailored to the story you want to play! These traits vary from rat holes and goblins that break things in your home to fertile soil so you can up your chances of twins. I feel like these lot traits really add character to each build and can truly be tailored to different stories.
GOOD NEWS! Lot traits will also be patched into the game for free so that previous worlds and builds can also have assigned traits.
Once lots are uploaded on the gallery, they do keep their assigned traits but these can be changed at any time when in build mode. One downside of City Living is that apartments have to be uploaded onto the gallery as separate rooms. This means that some could get lost in translation, unless the creator tags them specifically and brings that to attention.
Garage doors have been seen in previous renders but I am afraid to announce that your sims can only deface them with graffiti work and tags. Cars and working garages are not being introduced in this expansion.
Another build mode object that has been requested numerous times are new beds and they are finally coming! City Living has FOUR new beds on offer and they’re a good bunch. Although I would have loved to see the return of foldable wall beds, I feel like the choice we get makes up for this. Two out of the four do have a higher comfort level too, which is always a plus. One of them is a ‘preowned’ mattress which is super uncomfortable but low in price.
I love the careers that are being introduced in City Living! In my opinion, they feel modern and fit in well with a busy lifestyle. The careers are a mixture of the traditional career setups and the Get Together active careers. On offer in this expansion are: the old fan favourite political career, a social media career and a critic career. Once you start your new job, a popup appears and you can either choose to work form home, go to work or take Paid Time Off (PTO).
Working from home means that your sim will have certain activities in their career tab to complete throughout the day. I only explored a few days in Social Media career and some of these activities included ‘set up a social media profile’, ‘gain over 50 followers’, ‘take a photo at a gym’ and ‘visit Geekcon’.
Each career does have the traditional two branches in each. In the political career, you have the options to choose to become a politician or a charity organiser. Your critical sims can choose to focus on the art critic branch or excite their taste buds with the food critic job. Those hipster kids can either become an internet personality in their own right or go into public relations.
But it’s not all work and no play. City life equals lots of new activities for your sims to do! I’ve already mentioned the karaoke bars where your sims can work on the brand new singing skill. Basketball and graffiti are also two new ways to entertain. Yet these activities do not have dedicated new skills, basketball increases the athletic skills and graffiti boosts the painting skill.
Whilst out and about in the city you can whip out a musical instrument and make some money form busking, watch fellow street performers, protest against a cause, watch the tourists wander aimlessly and try to scout out your local weirdo in that pesky racoon suit.
With the introduction of two new traits, vegetarian and unflirty, you can create some interesting scenarios. Have your unflirty sim visit the romance festival and who knows what will happen. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ll forget about the veggie trait and make your sim suffer through bacon and eggs. I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t the best way to get them ready for their new job. Unless their job description is to throw up in the toilet for a few hours.
Once you start making friends, you can offer to hand over a key to your apartment so they can drop in at any time. I love this feature as it keeps the realism of a non-stop life in the city, your sim and their friends seem to be constantly on the go. Sadly this option doesn’t work the other way and your sim cannot be offered a key from a townie. Clearly they just don’t trust me enough but who can blame them, I’m working my way up from the Spice District!
Festivals are a brand new aspect of gameplay in The Sims 4. They are constantly changing and the game notifies you when they roll into to town. From this popup notification, you can either choose to attend right then and there, or just exit out and wait until later. The notice board in the lobby of apartments can also be checked by sims to find out about upcoming events.
City Living has five festivals on offer: Geekcon, Flea Markets, Spice Festival, Humour and Hijinks, and Romance Festival. However I unfortunately only got to explore Geekcon during my time playing. I can say that I loved seeing a recreation of events that I attend in my sims game. My favourite part of this festival was nerding out over Cosplayers and the option to take selfies with them. I found that Geekcon could tie in nicely to Get Together as you could have a group of geek sims attend, have them compete in the gaming or hacking competitions or dress up in cosplay themselves.
The one downfall of festivals is that they only happen in San Myshuno. However, with being able to travel so easily from world to world in The Sims 4, this isn’t a make or break scenario in my mind. Unfortunately it is not possible to create your own festivals so we’re left to explore the five pre-made ones.
Like to watch some of the scenarios on screen? You can check out my Sims 4 City Living: Preview video