They say your teenage years are a time of self-discovery and expression, and the new Sims 4 expansion High School Years took that very seriously. Maxis showed us a detailed look at the life game‘s expansion during a recent press event, and while the school experience itself is a big part of the upcoming pack, the customization and self-expression options are even more promising. Game director George Pigula lead designer Jessica Croft caled expression and exploring identity “the soul of the expansion,” whether it’s through the new sexual orientation options available in the expansion and the base game or just by decorating your room and laying in bed to chat with friends.
The teenage Sims’ bedroom is their haven. Since the young Sims probably have no say over how the wider house looks, Maxis gave them complete control over their bedrooms with a surprisingly broad range of new items, including lights, chairs, themed decor, and, of course, clutter. Lots of clutter. Some of the more significant changes seem like the smaller ones, though. The team wanted to let the Sims use this space more naturally, so they can sit cross-legged on their beds to chat with friends, engage in spontaneous pillow fights, or just read a book while laying down.
The new Social Bunny feature applies this natural behavior concept to social interaction as well, adding new interactions on your phone and a broader range of ways to connect with other Sims via social media.
The most evident way your teen Sim can express themselves is through fashion.
“Fashion is a core piece of teen identity and we focused hard to give teens the ability to try on new identities just like they’d try new outfits,” Croft said during the preview.
Maxis and EA partnered with popular Depop designers to bring a range of clothing sets into the game, but The High School Years offers so many more ways to customize your look. There’s a vast range of aesthetic options, from kawaii and preppy, to modern DIY, and pretty much everything in between. The expansion also adds a heavy emphasis on formal attire for prom wear, if that’s your thing.
If you want a bit more control over your outfit, there’s an option for that too. At Copperdale’s hybrid thrift shop-boba cafe, where your Sim can also work part time, you can choose pieces from the shop’s rotating inventory to create brand-new outfits. If your Sim is social savvy enough, you might even be able to promote their creations and start a new trend, regardless of how unorthodox your design is.
Customization extends beyond clothing too. High School Years adds facial and body hair options, including teen variants – e.g. an ambitious, but wispy, mustache – back hair, torso hair, and leg hair,all of which work on male and female frames. There’s also a whole new suite of hair assets. Shaving and hair maintenance are part of the hygiene regimen now, and you’ll need to keep up with skin cleansing lest the worst possible fate befalls you: acne.
If you’re after more ways to tailor your Sims experience, there’s plenty of Sims 4 mods to change almost every aspect of the game. You can also bend its rules to your will with an impressive variety of cheats, including easy ways to get money and defy death.