Since being introduced to The Sims 4 last November, the Neighborhood Stories system has been updated. This system allows Sims not in the control of the player to do more in their lives. You’ll see other Sims going about their business in the various neighborhoods, but Neighborhood Stories gives them more of a life outside your control.
When Neighborhood Stories was first introduced in a free update, it was the first step in introducing the new system, with plans to expand it as time went on. This gave players the power to decide what should (and shouldn’t) happen with non-playable Sims. Should they make friends with another Sim? Should they change careers? Should they pursue a romance? It was up to the player to make these decisions. If you didn’t want anything to change, you could easily say no. Neighborhood Stories wasn’t quite the same as Story Progression in The Sims 3, but it was something. Now though, with this newest update, it looks like it’s going to be a step closer to what Story Progression originally was.
How does the newly-updated Neighborhood Stories work? For a start, it affects all NPC Sims, even those your playable Sims don’t know, which is the first big change to the system. Before, Neighborhood Stories only affected those your Sims knew. The second notable update is that more can now happen to NPC Sims. Before, it was just little things like considering a change of career or getting to know another Sim. Now, some major potential life changes can happen to your neighbors. They can have a baby with their partner, adopt a baby/toddler/child, change careers, retire (if they’re an Elder Sim), move homes, and die from accidents. If you have Cats and Dogs installed, NPCs can also adopt a cat or dog.
Some of these changes are pretty significant. What if you don’t want a Sim to die or move house? This has been put into consideration as well, as you can stop this from happening. If you wish, you can turn Neighborhood Stories off completely if you want nothing to change at all. Alternatively, you can adjust the system to toggle which changes you want to happen… or not. You can do this by accessing the new Neighborhood Stories menu in Manage Households, found in Manage Worlds. When you open this menu up, you’ll see all the changes that can happen. Changes highlighted in green are toggled on, but you can disable these by selecting them. You can toggle specific changes just by clicking them. It’s that simple!
What about households you’ve created vs. other households? You can set up your Neighborhood Stories for each of these groups. By default, Neighborhood Stories is disabled for your own created households, so you won’t have to worry about losing all your hard work with sudden unwanted changes. On the other hand, Neighborhood Stories is turned on for pre-made households such as the Goths and Pancakes, but you can disable it if you desire.
Want even more control? You can adjust Neighborhood Stories settings for individual households! If you wanted to have the system turned on for a particularly family but didn’t want certain changes to happen, such as deaths, you can alter it through their own personal Neighborhood Stories settings. You can change settings for individual households through the Manage Households menu. The Neighborhood Stories settings can be found on the household’s tab.
So, you’ve got Neighborhood Stories rolling, but how do you know what’s going on, especially those your Sims haven’t even met before? You can easily find out what’s going on in the world with other Sims in Live Mode. All you have to do is select the mailbox on your Sim’s property and choose the option “Check Recent Neighborhood Stories”. Then, you’ll get pop-up messages in the top-right of the screen informing you of any recent changes. You’ll find out who’s been affected and what changes have occurred.
It should be noted that even though Neighborhood Stories has been updated, the old system where NPC Sims messaged you about advice on life changes will still occur. This will happen even if you turn off the new system in the settings.
The new Neighborhood Stories system in The Sims 4 is very easy and flexible with the newest update, and it gives you lots of control. More updates are reported for Neighborhood Stories in the future, but this is already a step in the right direction for a feature that was popular in The Sims 3 and had been in demand for The Sims 4 for a long time.