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Sims 4 pets transformed into humans by old Cats and Dogs bug

Sims 4 pets transformed into humans owing to a strange and hilarious bug in the Cats and Dogs expansion, spotted by one former employee of EA Maxis

Sims 4 pets transformed into humans by Cats and Dogs bug: a Sim strokes the head of her dog

Sims 4 pets could transform into humans thanks to a weird and wonderful bug in the Cats and Dogs expansion, explains one former EA Maxis employee, who spotted the glitch while working on the classic life simulator.

Sims pets are apparently subject to a programming routine called a “walk-by”, which also applies to human, NPC Sims, and determines what behaviour they will perform whenever they load into a world – when a pet or an NPC Sim first loads into an environment, the walk-by is what instructs them to start talking to someone, explore the environment, use a certain object, and so on. For the Cats and Dogs expansion, EA Maxis added an additional walk-by for when NPC Sims would bring their equally NPC dogs to the beach, the idea being that, like the human Sims would start walking around and exploring the world, so would their pets.

However, despite this innocent and adorable premise, something strange and horrifying started to happen. When arriving at the beach, players could observe several NPC Sims standing still, doing nothing, refusing to move or leave, regardless of their health and status bars – they would simply stand there, silent, waiting to die. There was something deeply wrong with them. As the former EA Maxis designer who spotted the bug explains, these human Sims had somehow replaced other Sims’ dogs, and become infected by their programming.

“For Cats and Dogs, we added a dog-walking walk-by, where a Sim would take their dog for a walk,” writes Anora Albert, who now works as a technical designer at Destiny 2 creator Bungie. “I noticed a Sim would sometimes spawn in, and wouldn’t move or leave, even if they were starving! After digging into it, I found that these Sims were getting spawned in by a dog walker instead of their dog. What was happening is that the target dog the Sim wanted to do the walk-by with was unavailable for whatever reason…and the system tried to replace it with a target that was available, which wasn’t filtered to exclude human Sims. Since they weren’t a dog, they couldn’t execute the instructions for the dog-walking walk-by and instead froze in place.”

Imagine that. You take your dog for a walk, only your dog doesn’t show up, and instead it’s another person, standing totally still, staring into nothing, trying and failing to move as they slowly starve. Games can be magical, but even the happiest and nicest can also turn into horrifying, existential nightmares. Of course, you might be able to avoid the terror by customising your game with the best Sims 4 mods. You could also take a break from the petrifying absurdity of Sims 4 bugs with one of the other best life games on PC, or something more specific, courtesy of the best PC simulation games.