Up until now, The Sims 4 has presented itself as an enthusisatically flexi-sexual world, where every Sim is open to at least considering all attempts to woo and WooHoo. That'll soon change, however, with an imminent update giving players the opportunity to define their Sims' sexual orientations in a way that better reflects the real world.
Arriving as part of a free update accompanying The Sims 4's next major expansion, High School Years, which launches on 28th July, the feature will add a new Sexual Orientation tab to the game's Create-A-Sim screen. Here, player will have the opportunity to tinker with three settings that will impact how Sims interact with others in-game.
The first option enables players to choose whether a Sim is romantically attracted to men, women, both, or neither, meaning they'll turn down romantic advances made by Sims that don't fit that profile. Incidentally, while discussing the feature during its latest livestream, developer Maxis explained it's currently using gender binary terms (despite making strides to add more inclusive pronoun options) for technical reasons relating to how The Sims 4, which is built on eight-year-old architecture, currently handles gender behind the scenes. It notes, however, that it hopes to expand the feature to encompass more gender identities over time.
Alongside the option to choose who a Sim is romantically attracted to, there's also the opportunity to decide whether a Sim is still exploring romantically, which can be used for those Sims still figuring things out. If this option is set to 'yes', a Sim's orientation might shift over time, as they encounter new situations, date more people, and so on.
And then the final option in Maxis' initial version of the feature lets players decide whether a Sim is interested in physical intimacy (ie. WooHooing for adults, Messing Around for teens) with men, women, both, or neither. Maxis says the hope is this option, when used in conjunction with the romance settings, will give players more flexibility to create characters that fall within both asexual and aromantic identities.
All Maxis' Sims from High School Years onward will make use of the new sexual orientation settings, but the developer says older ones won't be updated to do so. It is, however, possible to change any Sim's sexual orientation by importing them into CAS. As for Sims that aren't given explicit settings, these will default to no romantic attraction, exploring romantically, and interested in physical intimacy with either gender - effectively how Sims function right now.
And while we're on the subject of physical intimacy, Maxis is introducing one additional in-game option relating to the ol' WooHoo. Known as WooHoo Partners, it gives adult Sims the choice to establish a friends-with-benefits-style relationship with others, meaning they can be physically intimate without romantic attachment.
These aren't the only additions arriving as part of The Sims 4's next free update either; as previously announced, all players will be getting new body hair options (body hair growth and hair grooming will be exclusive to the High School Years expansion though), and Maxis has now revealed that a version of The Sims 2's Wants and Fears system will also be returning to the series after a lengthy absence.
Come the free update's arrival, all Sims will be able to exhibit up to three possible Wants, each falling into one of three categories: long-term, short-term, and reactionary. The latter will be contextual to a Sim's current situation, so might see them desiring a drink if they head to a bar, or wanting to work out when they go to the gym.
Fears, meanwhile, will affect how Sims react to certain things throughout the lives - say, recoiling from fire if they've gained Fear of Fire. These might stay with a Sim forever, but at certain times, players will have the option to make their Sims confront their fears head-on, perhaps dousing flames if a fire breaks out, which, if successful, will conquer that fear.
All the above is discussed in more detail, alongside a host of other new additions coming as part of The Sims 4's High School Years expansion, during Maxis' latest livestream. There's also a seperate blog post taking a closer look at the new sexual orientation features. Both the expansion and free update will launch for PC and consoles on 28th July.
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