The Sims has always been about customization. The number of expansions and content packs for The Sims 4 is proof enough of that. It seems as though there are endless ways to create Sims, place them into an extremely malleable world, and play around with them as they go about their daily lives. As a lifelong fan of other creativity-promoting simulation games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley, I should love The Sims. Despite their similarities, I’ve never been able to get into the series … with one exception.
I’ve been playing MySims, a 2007 series spin-off, on and off for almost 15 years now. While its initial reviews were mixed, with a lot of people writing it off as a simplified Sims for kids, I fell in love with the creative opportunities afforded by its furniture-building mechanic. I like that it has a little more structure than main series Sims titles and that I didn’t have to micromanage every moment of my Sims’ lives.
I recently got back into MySims after a long absence, and it got me interested in trying a main series Sims game again. My Wedding Stories, the newest content pack for The Sims 4, might just be what wheels me back in. The reason? One of the designers’ goals was to give players deep, meaningful moments with their Sims alongside all the new outfits, interactions, and events that the pack brings. At an EA digital preview event, I got to see just how the team is putting those goals into action.
My Wedding Stories allows players to design not only the weddings of their Sims’ dreams but everything that comes before and after. Sims can participate in engagement parties, “bach” parties (the game’s version of bachelor and bachelorette parties), rehearsal dinners, and family-oriented cultural traditions like Chinese tea ceremonies before their weddings.
On the big day, players have full control over the wedding venue, décor, attire, and schedule for each wedding, with the usual myriad of options to choose from for each aspect. Afterward, Sims can renew their vows and live happily ever after — or not, if that’s what you want.
Two of the biggest themes of My Wedding Stories are choice and representation. Though weddings are already a part of The Sims 4, this new content pack greatly expands the number of options for enterprising players. The designers want players to have as many meaningful options as possible when designing weddings; they don’t want anyone to feel railroaded or as though there are actions that they have to take in order to have a “perfect” wedding. For that reason, players aren’t required to include any events during their wedding, like having a first dance or cutting the cake together. The designers mentioned that My Wedding Stories is more about having an experience than trying to achieve the “perfect” wedding.
Respectful and meaningful representation is also a major part of the new content pack. Sims can be dressed in a variety of culturally-specific outfits for their big day and can participate in special events and ceremonies around the wedding. Sims can also marry other Sims of any gender, which is something that was showcased in My Wedding Stories‘ announcement trailer. The developers emphasized that romance goes beyond one specific appearance or set of traditions — in the spirit of total customization, players can create meaningful wedding moments that matter to them.
During the preview, the designers went into detail about many of the customization options that will be available to players. While those who don’t want to get too involved can simply take their Sims to City Hall for a courthouse marriage, those who are looking for more will find an incredible number of creative options that go down to an almost granular level.
Players can customize their venue with decorations, seats, aisle lengths, flower arrangements, cake types, and more. The land of Tartosa, where My Wedding Stories takes place, is an entirely new world map that includes shops where wedding attire, flowers, and cakes can be purchased. Enterprising Sims can also make their own cake.
A variety of new appearance and interaction options are also available to Sims. Spouses can wear any kind of formal attire for their big event, including new dresses, suits, boutonnieres, and Chinese- and Indian-inspired formalwear. Sims can ask their friends and relatives to be their flower pal, ring bearer, or Sim of Honor during the ceremony, but beware: Other Sims don’t have to agree to it! During weddings, Sims can cut the cake, walk down the aisle, exchange vows in front of an officiant, and host a first dance.
Some long-awaited features are also arriving with My Wedding Stories. As many fans pointed out in the initial trailer, Sims are now able to slow dance with one another, which goes hand-in-hand with the first dance action. Players will also be able to tell Sims to take their seats, head to the buffet, or bust a move on the dance floor in order to control crowds better and prevent random Sims from wandering across the aisle during a ceremony. Creators in EA’s Game Changers program assisted with the creation of some of these features, ensuring that the community’s voice was heard during development.
I came away from the My Wedding Stories preview feeling emboldened. It’s great to see that EA is giving players options with how involved they want to go with their Sims, which would be a huge game-changer for my enjoyment in the series. The incredible customization and endless options remind me very much of MySims, enough so that I’m seriously considering making this my re-entry point into main series Sims titles. We’re all used to playing God with our Sims, but now we get the chance to play wedding planner — and it looks like a blast.
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