The Sims 4’s Latest Update Rebrands and Adds Exciting New Features

By | 19/07/2019
The Sims 4's Latest Update Rebrands and Adds Exciting New Features

 

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The Sims 4’s latest update has given the game a massive rebranding added a CAS Story Mode that provides bonuses to newly created Sims and a new cheat code to access previously unavailable world items.


The Sims 4 is one of those games that feels like it has been around forever thanks to the developers’ commitment to providing new and free Sims 4 content for us to enjoy.

As well as the multitude of expansion packs and stuff packs that The Sims is known for, the development team for The Sims 4 have been providing Simmers with regular and free updates, usually each month, since Autumn last year.

You may be forgiven for thinking that these free updates may just be patches for bug fixes or some random minor item, as most big-name developers do. However, with The Sims 4 that is not the case at all.

Beginning with October 2018, the first scheduled update event, dubbed “Maxis Monthly”, was presented. Maxis Monthly provides is a live stream that provides Simmers with the details of what to expect in the next upcoming update.

The first Maxis Monthly from October provided brand new content in the form of an entirely new Style Influencer career as well as new clothing items and hairstyles, and also provided terrain editing tools.

READ MORE – Sims 4 October Update Shows Terrain Tools

From that day, The Sims 4 team committed to providing new and free The Sims 4 content each month and they have been true to their word.

The importance of Maxis Monthly is that the content they provide is usually rich and of the amounts that they could charge money for, being almost on par with a stuff pack on some occasions. However, the main thing here is that all of the content provided my monthly updates are absolutely free and don’t require any expansions to enjoy, they are all updates to the base game version.

So, in their most recent Maxis Monthly, the developers have outlined some upcoming free content, new features, and some BIG rebranding changes that are coming to The Sims 4 that will change the look of the game and make it a little different than what you are used to seeing:

  • Rebranding
  • CAS Items
  • CAS Story Mode
  • Unlocked World Items
  • Future Content

The latest update does not require any expansions and only the base game to use. This includes any changes to the game’s interface as well as the content provided by updating.

Rebranding – A New Look


During the development of a The Sims games series, a lot of attention is paid to the official branding of the current series, from The Sims to My Sims and The Urbz, right up to The Sims 4.

The look and style of The Sims is so iconic that the branding team needs to be careful not to deviate too much from the traditional style when coming up with new concepts.

The Sims Logo
© Electronic Arts/Maxis

The look and style of The Sims logo became so recognizable as a brand that even the original logo for The Sims 2 was changed back to more resemble the original The Sims logo because it was deemed too much of a deviation from the style for what The Sims was known.

Even the colors of The Sims brand have remained somewhat unchanged. Yes, the original The Sims logo did have a red outline, however, this was changed with subsequent expansions to a softer blue, and usually accommodating a green accent somewhere within the logo (usually a Plumbob), a style for which The Sims is now known.

Nevertheless, every now and then, even an iconic style needs a revamp, and it has been revealed that The Sims 4 is about to get a huge makeover.

This month’s Maxis Monthly live stream has revealed the new look coming The Sims 4 and the items getting a makeover include:

  • Game and Pack Box Art
  • The Plumbob
  • The Sims 4 In-Game Main Menu
  • The Sims4 In-Game Loading Screens

New Box Art – A Refined Colour Pallete

The new box art image for The Sims 4 has been designed with a more eclectic color palette than we may be used to seeing.

Following along modern OS and app design standards that we have seen with the introduction of smartphones and tablets, and indeed Windows 10, the color palette of the art is broader, however, the use of effects such as drop shadows, glow and embossing are noticeably missing.

The Sims 4 Rebrand Design
© Electronic Arts/Maxis

Brighter colors at the foreground of the image are used to draw your attention to the now flat white Sims 4 logo placed just above, while darker colors at image background also reinforce the attention of the eye onto the logo.

The traditional blue, white and green are still present as the primary colors in the image, however, they are no longer used to represent the logo of the brand entirely.

This appears to be an excellent design technique with an excellent understanding of contrast, as using the colors of the image behind the logo to focus attention to it, allows one to appreciate the image as a whole, rather than depending solely on the logo to convey a message to the viewer.

This new design implementation has also been used for the box art of all expansions, which have been changed in line with the new rebranding structure:

The Sims 4 New Expansion Box Art
© Electronic Arts/Maxis

The Plumbob – Not Just a Pretty Hexagonal Bipyramid

Another iconic item associated with The Sims is The “Plumbob”, the green “diamond” used to represent which Sim is currently being played as well as reflecting their mood.

Originally used as an alignment tool (much like its real-world counterpart) during the development of The Sims, The Plumbob has become an iconic image associated with The Sims and has been used in almost every The Sims game ever created since and always appears alongside the logo of any Sims game, expansion or stuff pack.

Maxis has revealed this week that the Plumbob will also be getting a makeover with the upcoming update. This isn’t the first time that The Plumbob has been changed though; over the years it has evolved both in style and purpose.

The Original Plumbob

In the original The Sims game, The Plumbob served as an indication as to which Sim was currently being played with the mood (dictated by various needs) reflected by the Plumbob’s color:

  • Green: OK to Fine
  • White: Neutral to OK
  • Red: Bad to Disaster
The Sims Plumbob

The design of original Plumbob utilized Windows 98 shading technologies to provide the effect applied to the Plumbob as it spun around above a Sim’s head.

The Plumbob had no extra effects such as transparency, glossiness or glowing as was to be implemented in later versions.

The Sims 2’s Plumbob

By the time The Sims 2 cam around, game development technology had seen a massive shift in improvement, moving from 2D sprite-based isometric angles to fully rendered 3D spline and geometry techniques.

As well as this shift into full scene 3D space, new improvements to real-time rendering effects could also be achieved. This meant a whole new Plumbob.

The Sims 2 Plumbob now appeared a little softer around the edges and was no longer spinning around. However, it now appeared slightly transparent with a light inside that emitted an ominous glow. This was a vast improvement over the dull Plumbob in The Sims original.

The Sims 2 Plumbob

As well as the immediately noticeable aesthetic improvements, the Plumbob in The Sims 2 now also had varying degrees of shade between green and red to represent a Sims’s mood as well as a brand new platinum color for Sims with a high Aspiration Meter, a new mechanic first introduced with The Sims 2.

Sims with a Platinum Plumbob would temporarily stay in a high mood state regardless of their needs.

The Sims 3’s Plumbob

The Sims 3 has been the most controversial iteration of The Sims so far. Much of this is in part due to the fact that the visual style of the game changed drastically from The Sims 2 which was a more cartoonish representation of life.

The Sims 3’s visuals were a little more realistic as the development team tried to make use of new technologies in the game’s graphics engine.

As such, the game’s Plumbob was designed to match the realistic style of the game.

The Plumbob had reverted to its original hard form however new effects and a new composition made for a beautiful Plumbob indeed.

The Sims 3 Plumbob was now brighter, had a real shining light emitting from it and looked as though it was made from colored glass.

The Sims 3 Plumbob

The varying degrees of shading were now missing however and because of the removal of aspirations in The Sims 3, there was no longer a platinum Plumbob for Simmers to enjoy.

The Sims 4’s Plumbob

In the current version of The Sims, The Plumbob has been designed as a mixture between all the previous Plumbobs.

There is the shading from The Sims, the glow from The Sims 2 and the semi-transparency and glassy effect from The Sims 3. You could almost say that this is the ultimate Plumbob.

The Sims 4 Plumbob

The Plumbob from The Sims 4 also includes accurate degrees of shading based upon a Sims mood; from green to red, and anything in between.

However, once again, platinum is not included as a representation of aspirational achievement. Included in The Sims 4 though are some unique Plumbobs based upon Sim’s supernatural state.

In line with the current rebranding of The Sims 4, The Plumbob has received a makeover:

The Sims 4 New Plumbob
© Electronic Arts/Maxis

In the images that have been released, The Plumbob now appears more glassy and with a more intense color palette and shade than previously designed.

Note that the changes to the Plumbob in The Sims 4 are rebranding only and do not apply to the in-game Plumbob.

Main Menu – Simpler with More Information

Probably the most noticeable user interface amendment to affect players of the game concerns the in-game Main Menu which has been completely overhauled.

Gone is the mostly white screen space and in its place is the new design from the box art which has been incorporated into the background imagery of the Main Menu.

The blue geometric pattern has livened up the Main Menu a little which now more resembles a modern-day gaming web page.

The Sims 4 New UI Main Menu

Pack Icons – Easily Identified

All of the same information that was previously available is still there in terms of expansions and packs owned.

However, the icon design has been changed to a more pleasing color system representing the type of content rather than a different colored icon for every single item:

  • Turquoise – Expansion Packs
  • Blue – Game Packs
  • Green – Stuff Packs
  • Pink – Free Stuff
The Sims 4 New UI Collection

This icon design change has also been applied to the in-game icons of Build/Buy Mode and Create-a-Sim so items from individual packs can be easily identified.

Play Buttons – See More

You may also notice that the Play button has been moved from the left side of the menu to the right side, and the logo color has also been changed to match the design of the Main Menu as a whole.

The Sims 4 New UI Trailers

In the Play button’s old place is a new feature of sorts; there are now individual Play buttons for the last three The Sims 4 Expansion and Stuff Packs, The Sims 4: Island Living, The Sims 4: Strangerville and The Sims 4: Get Famous.

However these aren’t to play each pack individually (which would have been cool), they are to play trailers for each pack. A trailer window opens up in the program itself and doesn’t appear to require an open web browser.

Social Media – Tweet, Post or Like

Social media icons for the most popular platforms are now available from the top left corner of the Main Menu.

The Sims 4 New UI Socials

These icons will open the page (in your preferred web browser) to each individual The Sims 4 page of the selected social media platform:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube

These are worth checking out as they will often contain information not available anywhere else or videos and images from current Maxis Monthly promotions.

Build Your Bundle – Play the Way You Want

Perhaps the biggest new feature implemented into the Main Menu is the “Build Your Bundle” feature.

The Sims 4 New UI Build Your Bundle

The Sims 4: Build Your Bundle is not a new feature, however, this was previously not available from inside the game directly.

Build Your Bundle allows you to select specific The Sims 4 expansion, game and stuff packs in sets of three:

  • 1 x The Sims 4 Expansion Pack
  • 1 x The Sims 4 Game Pack
  • 1 x The Sims 4 Stuff Pack

Purchasing expansion, game, and stuff packs in this manner from the Origin store will always be offered at a large discount when compared to purchasing the items individually.

Note: A valid EA Origin account is required to use this feature.

Startup Intro and Loading – Keeping the Theme

Upon starting The Sims 4 after updating to the latest version, you will immediately notice that the game’s starting introduction video (the EA and The Sims 4 logo) has been replaced with a brand new and more exciting video which matches the new design aesthetic of the brand.

Click to enlarge…

The new blue color and the rebranding geometric pattern can be seen across the entire introduction video, along with the new Plumbob making an appearance.

The Loading Screen of the game has also been changed to include the same blue shade as the rebranding and also includes the brand new Plumbob re-design.

Note: The Sims 4 team has announced a new Loading Screen will be implemented in the August patch due to some people reporting adverse effects to the contrast of colors implemented in the new Loading Screen:

The Sims 4 New Loading Screen Replacement
Loading Screen Replacement Coming in August

READ MORE – The Sims Team is Changing It’s Loading Screen Following Health Concerns

Create-a-Sim – More Stuff, New Mode


Since the original The Sims, the game’s “Create-a-Sim” feature is perhaps one of the most loved features of The Sims series.

The tool has always been quite powerful and has improved with each incarnation of the game.

Not only does the tool allow players to customize the look of a Sim, other features such as personality can also be set using this amazing feature which is quite unique to The Sims.

A simple head and body selector was available for the original The Sims, but also included a star sign based personality selector which would determine whether Sims would get along with each other based on their Zodiacal personality archetype.

The Sims Original Create-a-Sim
Create-a-Sim Original

Since then, Create-a-Sim has evolved into an extremely powerful tool for creating unique Sims.

In The Sims 4, players are not only able to choose to clothe for Sims, but unique and detailed looking Sims can be created very easily just by pushing and pulling body parts and facial features.

A Sim’s look can further be customized by applying the skin and facial details such as teeth type, spots, and scars as well as tattoos and a multitude of hairstyles and facial hair features.

The Sims 4 New Update Promo Sims

The Sims 4 also includes a more detailed personality creator for Sims which sets the personality of a Sim based on selected traits categorized into emotional, hobby, lifestyle and social, including traits such as active, bookworm, lazy and outgoing respectively.

There are of course many, many more in each category, with some expansion and stuff packs adding more.

These traits also provide bonuses to Sims, such as the Perfectionist trait which will have artistic or author Sims create works of a higher quality than usual.

CAS Story Mode – Strangely Accurate

Needless to say, Create-a-Sim is a powerful tool, and that tool has just got even better with the new update and the introduction of Create-a-Sim Story Mode.

The Sims 4 New CAS Story Mode Questions

The new feature will ask a series of 10 questions, and based on the answers to those questions will provide a Story of sorts related to the Sim which defines the Sim’s personality by picking traits related to the answers.

Funnily enough, I answered these questions based on my own personality and the story developed along with the traits of the Sim was eerily accurate.

The Sims 4 New CAS Story Mode

The best part of using the story tool, however, is that bonus skills will be granted to the Sim, something which was sorely lacking previously.

If you do not use this tool and create your Sims the old way, your Sim will start the game with no skills at all, something which has always bothered me. I think that the introduction of a skill assignment tool is desperately needed. Perhaps a future update may provide this.

CAS Items – More Choices

There is some good news and some bad news concerning the CAS items that have been included in this update.

While items have been added as a base game update, apart from a tiny few, they appear to be items from other expansion packs, game packs and stuff packs.

The Sims 4 New Hairstyle Top Bun
A New Hairstyle that has Been Added

This is great news for players of The Sims 4 who do not already own the packs from which the items have come, but a little disappointing for players such as myself who already own the full register of packs.

You can see the full list of items here:
https://simscommunity.info/2019/07/16/the-sims-4-july-2019-update-new-cas-content/

Unlocked World Items – More to Play With


The Sims has always provided fun and interesting ways to shape our Sims’ environments by giving us the ability to purchase decorations and structure-based items for homes as well as landscaping and nature objects such as shrubs, bushes, trees, and rocks.

Something that has got a lot Sims 4 players excited with this update is the inclusion of a new Sims 4 cheat code that will unlock a lot of items from the game world that were previously unavailable.

For example, it is now possible to place the bus shelters and parking meters featured around San Myshuno on a lot. There are also objects such as the large billboards seen around the world, or trailers from Get Famous, cars and even boats.

The Sims 4 World Objects Demo - Cars and Boats
Unlocked World Objects: Car, Yacht and Trailer

All of the items, however, are purely decoration and cannot be interacted with, however all of the environment items are free and some of the same items you will usually have to pay for via Build/Buy Mode such as some lighting, fencing or trees/shrubbery, so it is a good way to save some money when designing a lot.

To use the new Sims 4 cheat code:

While in a lot:

Press Ctrl + Shift + C and then type “testingcheats true” and press Enter.

Again bring up the cheat console by pressing Ctrl+Shift+C and then type “bb.showliveeditobjects true”.

Note: You may not get a notification that the cheat code has worked.

To view the environment objects, open Build/Buy Mode and then click the Search Icon (magnifying glass) next to the Search Bar. This will display all in-game items.

The Sims 4 Search Bar

Scroll past all of the in-game items and eventually, you will get to the now unlocked environment objects.

Some of these objects are quite large but they can be scaled up or down by using the bracket/brace keys ({[ and ]}) and moved up or down using 0 and 9. Ensure that 9 has not been assigned to a camera angle or using it to move an item down will have the added effect of shifting the game camera.

This is an excellent feature and one that really should have been in the game from the start. It will be exciting to see what some of the extremely talented builders out there start to come up with.

The Future of The Sims 4 – Seems Bright


So, a lot has been happening in the world of The Sims 4 this week, with a whole rebranding, newly designed game UI and UX, a new CAS Story Mode and access to environment objects.

With all this going on, and the obvious hard work that has gone into rebranding an already iconic and established series, it seems to me that The Sims 4 is not going anywhere anytime soon.

That is to say that given rebranding The Sims 4 has happened five years in to its current run, it may not be beyond the realm of possibility that EA is letting us know that The Sims 4 may be here for a lot longer than we may have hoped, not giving way to The Sims 5 for possibly another five years.

In fact, speaking during the latest Maxis Monthly live stream, Lyndsay Pearson stated:

The new look represents our commitment to the game, to The Sims, to you – our passionate players and that this game isn’t going anywhere. We love it and we’re excited about it and even approaching to our 5th anniversary we wanted to give it a chance to kind of have some new life and new energy.

I think it’s a good signal that we have a lot left to do with The Sims 4 and that The Sims is alive, well and healthy and more people are playing than ever and we get this great opportunity to give it a new paint job.”

While a The Sims 4 developer, SimGuru Frost stated in a Twitter post:

The ongoing success of The Sims 4. We are in the fifth year of The Sims 4 and we think this is a great way to mark such an incredible milestone. It’s also a way to show our commitment to supporting The Sims 4 for many more years.”

These two statements seem to support the growing theory that The Sims 5 may not yet be in development.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to the individual player, however given the enormous amount of time and support that the Sims team has devoted to players over the past year or so, I can honestly say that at this point if they keep it up and continue to deliver new content and features of the quality we have seen recently, then there may, at least for the time being, be no need for Sims 5 game.

Anyway, that’s all the information I have at the moment regarding this month’s The Sims 4 update.

Thank you for reading and happy Simming.


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4 thoughts on “The Sims 4’s Latest Update Rebrands and Adds Exciting New Features

  1. charles

    Wow, the SIM4 seems to have a big update and much better than previous, I’ve played SIM2 on my windows many years ago, can I play the Sim4 on the MacBook now?

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi Charles, thanks for commenting.

      The Sims 4 is completely compatible with Mac OS and has a surprisingly low hardware specification so I would expect it to run, although you may have to turn down some of the more advanced graphics options.

      Here are the Mac requirements:

      REQUIRED: Internet connection required for product activation.
      OS: Mac OS® X 10.7.5 (Lion)
      PROCESSOR: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4Ghz Processor or better
      VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 320M, 9600M, 9400M,ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro or better. Video RAM of 256MB or better.
      MEMORY: 4GB RAM
      HARD DRIVE: 10 GB of Hard Drive space
      INPUT: Keyboard and Mouse

      You can get The Sims 4 very cheap these days: Buy it from CD Keys here for a great discount.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

      Reply
  2. Kat

    I love that you offer possible ideas for improvements of the game here, I’m wondering if the creators of the Sims might even take on board some of your suggestions. You’re certainly a big fan and very knowledgeable of the details. I too love the sims, but haven’t played it for some time. Reading this article peaks my interest though, making me remember why I played it and enjoyed it so much. Now I’m really curious about creating a sim with the questions they ask. I wonder how similar the Sim will be to me. Thanks for creating such a thorough and knowledgeable post on a favorite and popular game. All the best Michael.

    Reply
    1. Michael Gore Post author

      Hi Kat and thanks for commenting.

      The Sims team are known for listening to the community and I have been part of The Sims community right back to the original in 2000.

      I am indeed a huge fan of the game and I know a lot, however, there are people out there far more knowledgeable than I.

      The new CAS Story is strangely accurate.

      If you have The Sims 4, get the new update and give those questions a go. I would like to know if they are accurate for you.

      If you don’t have The Sims 4, you can pick it up at CD Keys here pretty cheap.

      Thanks for a great commenting and I hope you get back to enjoying a wonderful game.

      Cheers,
      Michael.

      Reply

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