EA has officially released its thirteenth expansion pack for The Sims 4. The best-selling franchise needed some fresh energy and the Growing Together expansion pack does just that in the most endearing way. With a focus on family play, the pack comes loaded with features that Sims enthusiasts have been demanding for years while also managing to deliver new surprises and delights to keep the players happy.
From live stream events to early previews, Growing Together has already garnered much buzz and anticipation within the Sims community. The Generations expansion pack for The Sims 3 received similar fanfare during its initial release in 2011. And although EA had previously released the Parenthood expansion pack for The Sims 4 back in 2017, the emphasis was more on parenting and developing the skills needed to shape children into adults. Since announced, Growing Together has excited players with promises of focusing on babies, infants, toddlers and elders, with some perks for child and teen Sims that play out in their young adult and adult life phases.
So, what’s all the hype about? We explore five things you are bound to love about The Sims 4: Growing Together expansion pack that breathe new life into the beloved game.
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A Whole New World
What’s a new pack without a brand-new world to match? Growing Together introduces us to San Sequoia, a Sims take on San Francisco with breathtaking views and an environment built to satisfy the variety of activities that the pack introduces. The world gives small-town rural feels with the expansiveness of a thriving city, with cozy streets, scenery and plenty of neighborhood homes that are just right for raising families. The world also introduces new lots, including custom builds from community content creators. There’s even a new lot type for recreational centers and a rabbit hole cinema.
For a while, family game play was missing something between birthing newborn babies and nurturing growing toddlers. Infants seems to answer that missing call. Growing Together introduces a new age span that brings more warmth and realism to the game. During infancy, babies learn how to sit up before being placeable in highchairs, for example and also learn how to roll over, scoot and eventually crawl – all which come with adorable animations. While infants were released in a separate base game update prior to the pack’s release, certain furniture items such as changing tables are available exclusively within the pack. Overall, the haul of new items for babies, infants and children from gaming tables to cribs that convert into beds, all add layers to storytelling.
New Child Aspirations – Finally!
Despite this being the thirteenth pack released by EA, this is the first one to introduce new child aspirations. Initially, children had the same four aspirations to choose from that focus on the primary skills needed to age gracefully into well-rounded adults. They now can group all four aspirations under one Multiskill category that encourages them to diversify in several skills instead of focusing solely on one. The new aspirations are: Creative Genius, Playtime Captain, Mind and Body and Slumber Party Animal, which are sure to add some fun for both parenthood and childhood gameplay.
Enhanced Family Dynamics and Game Play
Speaking of storytelling there is so much to love about the attention given to new features. The addition of Milestones, creates a memory system, so to speak, allowing Sims to remember key moments and achievements that occurred over a lifetime. This also gives players a sense of accomplishment and some even unlock new items and moodlets for a whole new level of gameplay. Family dynamics also play out in real time, with some family members being closer or more distant than others, which influences everything from relationships to how Sims interact with each other (and how often). Infants and toddlers also gain randomized quirks, adding distinction in personality and children have a confidence meter which could lead to a high self-esteem trait later in life. There are also self-discovery traits which now allow Sims to pick up additional traits or swap out existing ones based on experiences, behaviors, and choices they make. The Likes/Dislikes system has also been revamped which adds layers to social compatibility and how Sims build relationships and chemistry with each other.
New Social and Work-Related Events
Elders are shown love in this pack from clothing and build items, and newly added interactions with grandchildren. There is also the return of the Midlife Crisis, which acts as a mini-aspiration. Growing Together also shakes work gameplay up a bit with the introduction of the Workplace Rival and a burnout moodlet, both which impact work. A Sim can now experience work layoffs, adding an element of realism. There are also three new social events: Baby Showers, Family Reunions and Slumber Parties.
Overall, there is so much to explore with the new Growing Together expansion pack. The emphasis truly seems to be on growth - not just for the families and players, but for the franchise itself. Even the introduction of the “Science Baby” allows for new stories to be told based on real life challenges, for example a single parent who chooses to start a family by themselves, or a married couple who chooses to undergo IVF or a surrogate. As the world shapes around us, EA seems to finally be responding with in-game developments and expansion packs that seem more thoughtful, while still preserving the whimsical elements and quirky style of gameplay that attracted players in the first place.
The Sims 4: Growing Together is available now on PC, Mac, Xbox Series X|S, PS5 and PS45.
Nia Cherry is a journalist, curator and casualcore gamer. When not prepping for law school, she can be found playing The Sims 4, Sim City or winning back-to-back games of Monopoly online. She can be found on Twitter: @aflylovesong and IG: @ronnia.