April 20, 2024

It’s time to relive those best (or worst) four years of your life. The Sims 4’s High School Years expansion pack is full of relatable content for teens and people who used to be teens, ranging from special posters and room decorations to promposals and a graduation ceremony. But alongside the triumphs and defeats, the epic highs and lows of high school classes, clubs, and football, there’s an exciting set of customizations and changes to agency that will affect Sims of all ages and life stages.

The High School Years expansion pack adds in the highly customizable Copperdale High, and any teenage Sim can attend for an education. The pack is similar to the game’s well-received Discover University expansion — and high school grades will dictate where Sims get into college, with an option for Sims to study online for their GED.

Polygon attended an Electronic Arts presentation of the High School Years expansion pack, where developers discussed both High School Years as well as a free update that will be released alongside the expansion pack.

At Copperdale, Sims attend classes and extracurriculars, which means roaming the halls, studying for tests, and going to cheer practice. But they can also pull pranks or skip class — though if the principal catches them, they’ll get in big trouble. At home, teen Sims can decorate their room and hang out in bed scrolling on social media. Teen Sims also can also now exit homes through the window for a little curfew breaking. As for hangout spots, there’s Thrifty, a thrift store and boba tea spot. Sims can also have their first relationships with other students, and go to the fair and try to get on the tunnel of love with their crush.

The free update is full of smaller changes to the Sim social experience that leave a big impact on the game. For instance, players can now set their Sims’ sexuality and attraction to other Sims. The modular set of options allows players to create aromantic and asexual Sims, as well as other queer identities. Developer Maxis added the ability for Sims to choose their pronouns in May, and this update builds on that to create more inclusive options.

There are other changes to a Sim’s daily life that look promising as well. Sims of all life stages can now have varying degrees of chest, arm, back, and leg hair, which is a charmingly pointed addition to customization.

Other Sims will also have a bit more autonomy in their relationships with each other. Sims can now categorize each other as crushes, and Sims from other households can initiate romance with player-controlled Sims. This small change could make a big difference, as Sims romance usually involves finding someone and actively pursuing them.

Sims will also pursue wants and fears, which are smaller moment-to-moment goals. There’s even a new trait for the socially awkward. While all of these free changes are relatable to the average teen — body hair, crushes, and social fears are definitely par for the course — they all apply to Sims of all life stages.

The High School Years expansion pack, along with the free update, launches on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on July 28.

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