Just when you thought you could get out, they suck you straight back in again. Ahead of June's E3 extravaganza, EA have lifted the lid on the latest expansion pack for the Sims 4, the long awaited Seasons. Constantly topping the list of fans' "most wanted" packs, The Sims 4 Seasons will launch at the end of June - and here's everything you need to know to get yourself prepared.
What is The Sims 4: Seasons?
Promising to be one of the "biggest, brightest and sometimes-stormiest packs yet" for the much-loved life simulator, Seasons is a pretty hefty expansion. Adding a whole slew of weather effects, seasonal activities and new items, clothes and careers, The Sims 4: Seasons encourages you to take your Sims into the great outdoors, and enjoy the world, whatever the weather. Though it may sound like a cosmetic upgrade, the Seasons expansions have always really changed how the game feels - rather than being stuck in semi-permanent summer, you instead get to take your little family through an entire, changing year, with all the ups and downs, storms and snowfall, and holidays that you've come to expect.
What's new for The Sims 4: Seasons? Weather!
Arguably the biggest addition for The Sims 4: Seasons is the new weather effects. Whether it's the crisp snowfalls of winter, or the sweltering heat of summer, the world outside your windows will constantly be changing - and your Sims will have to change too. As you can't send your poor Sims out in the rain in just their pants (well, you can, but maybe it's nice to be... nice?), we're expecting a bevvy of new outfits, outerwear and accessories to help your Sims cope with everything from sudden blizzards, to scorching heat waves and thunder storms.
Excitingly, it also looks like you'll be able to change the weather to suit. A nifty-looking weather machine makes an appearance in the announcement trailer, and shows a Sim making it rain - meaning a poor unsuspecting Sim ends up getting struck by lightning as a result. No biggie though, because just like in real life, being struck by lightning now lets that Sim fire lightning from his fingertips instead.
What's perhaps more interesting to speculate about is whether the weather will add any new (or returning) gameplay mechanisms. Can we catch a cold if we go out underdressed in the rain? Get frostbite in the snow? Or (perhaps more accurately for our pasty skin), get burnt to a crisp at the first sign of the summer sun? With lightning apparently being able to kill Sims, or at the very least put them in an unfavourable 'Tense' mood, some other weather-related gameplay additions would certainly be a nice touch.
And while we're on the subject of weather, the brand new thermostat lets you control the temperature inside your Sims homes, so they don't freeze to death on a cold winter's morning, or overheat on a sweltering summer afternoon. Likewise, you'll want to make sure your Sims are dressed appropriately for the season, lest they suffer the same fates. The new thermostat also brings with it a whole raft of trolling possibilities, whether you want to turn up the heat a little to make a cheating husband sweat a little, or have your family huddle together for warmth.
The changing seasons also bring with them a load of season-specific activities for your Sims to try too. The snow means it's time for bundling up in coats, hats and scarves to build snowmen, throw snowballs and make snow angels in winter, before hitting up the local ice rink to try and impress folks with your ice-skating skills. When spring rolls around, it's time for raincoats, splashing in puddles or heading out into the wilderness and explore, to "earn badges as a scout" - although whether that's a Sim kid version of the boy scouts, or something for all ages, we're not sure.
One item that's definitely for all ages, despite the name, is the kiddie pool, which lets Sims cool off in the summer heat if they're too poor to afford a proper swimming pool - or they can get a bit more active by pelting each other with water balloons instead. Finally, autumn (or *shudder* 'Fall' as The Sims likes to call it) is the season for raking leaves, leaping into the just-raked piles for fun, harvesting honey from the new bee hives or trying your hand at some homemade holiday crafts with your child Sims. We also spotted what looks to be a roller skating rink, which seems like it might be a more warmer weather variation on ice skating, judging by the kinds of summery clothes the Sims were wearing.
Holidays (as in, time off work rather than trips away) look set to be a fairly big addition to The Sims 4: Seasons too, and throughout the year, you'll have several different seasonal opportunities to bring your Sims together with their friends and family to celebrate. New decorations, from Christmas trees and fairy lights, to bunting and banners, let you set the mood as you count down the calendar days, and gather your nearest and dearest.
Your Sims can ring in the new year with a midnight kiss, head off on a romantic date on "Love Day", while the "Harvest Fest" holiday sees families uniting around a table for a massive feast. The appallingly named "Winterfest" meanwhile, sees families and friends exchanging gifts next to the Christmas tree - and if you're lucky, you might even get a surprise visit from Father Winter to make the day. We also spotted a cameo of the Easter Bunny, and what looks to be some kind of living scarecrow, so we're imagining there's plenty more festivals to look forward to, too.
In a nice touch, you'll also apparently be able create your own unique holidays too, and set how your Sims should celebrate them - perhaps International Sarah Day is an idea, where the whole town turns out to worship statues of their illustrious Creator, bringing offerings and give thanks for me not drowning them in the pool this year.
Gardening is another old favourite to make a comeback in The Sims 4 Seasons, with your green-fingered Sims able to not only grow things for fun, but can also choose to embark on a new career in gardening too. You can either opt for the more creative floral arranger career path, where you'll spend your time crafting beautiful flower arrangements and making deliveries around town, or you can take the more scientific path of a botanist. Botanists spend their time analysing plants, writing scientific research papers and making ground breaking discoveries to earn special grants.
Should I be excited for The Sims 4: Seasons?
We'll be honest - when the Seasons expansion first hit The Sims 2 in 2007, we kind of thought it sounded like one of the naffer add-ons, because all it was was changing the weather, right? Once we got our hands on it, however, we quickly changed our tune. Seasons was one of the best expansions for The Sims (bar Pets), because it gave the game more of what makes life worth living, with all the snowball fights, leaping in leaf piles and surprise penguins. On the practical side of things, you can use the new gardening career to really cut down on those bills too - our stay-at-home-mom Sim turned into quite the proficient gardener while the kids were at school, and with all those fresh veggies in the fridge, we saved a ton on the food shop.
What's The Sims 4: Seasons release date, how much is it, and what platforms is it coming out on?
The Sims 4: Seasons will be hitting the PC on the 22nd June 2018, both as a physical DVD and as a digital download on the Sims 4 Origin store, for around £35. So far, there's no news as to when Seasons will hit the Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, although as the developers have made noises in the past to suggest everything on PC will make it to consoles, we imagine Seasons will too, some day.
What's that song in the Sims 4: Seasons trailer?
If you've still got it in your head by the time you've reached this point, and you haven't already figured it out, we'll put you out of your misery - it's a Simlish version of 1999's Len - Steal My Sunshine
While that's all we know about The Sims 4: Seasons so far, with the expansion's release just a month or so away, we imagine we'll be getting plenty more info in the coming weeks - so stay tuned, as we'll be keeping this article updated as it happens!