Back in the Sims 3 era, Maxis added a new feature known as Story Progression. The idea behind story progression was that Sims in your neighborhood would actually live lives of their own – getting jobs, moving, having children, etc – without you needed to control those things.
This made for more realistic and unpredictable play, which was good. The bad? At first, there was no way to disable this feature in Sims 3 – that meant that anytime you left a family alone, you risked coming back to see that family with a new kid, having moved out, having a new job. Things that you do NOT want to happen to a Sim household when you’re not on watch.
Eventually, the option for disabling Story Progression came out and I feel like most folks were pretty happy with it by then. There were also mods that helped to streamline and enhance Story Progression for Sims 3.
Sims 4 – Finally Story Progression
So when Sims 4 released without story progression… well… it was a big step back to a lot of people who had just gotten used to the feature in Sims 3. I wrote about a fantastic set of mods back in 2016 that allowed for much of the same functionality as story progression – this was a popular post for quite a while, which tells me that folks shared my views that we wanted Story Progression back.
Well, fast forward to 2022, patch 121 of Sims 4… and finally, the game gets a true built-in story progression system, just renamed Neighborhood Stories. I’m not going to beat a dead horse in wondering why it took so long to integrate such an important piece of gameplay. Nor am I going to dwell too long on the fact that it came out in a side patch that deserved a whole lot more fanfare (I guess people who want these features are just content to use the mod).
But story progression is, indeed, now patched into Sims 4. And they learned their lessons from Sims 3. Thankfully, neighborhood stories are turned off for the households that you have already played. And while they’re turned on for all other households, you can customize the feature to your liking – including completely toggling it off if you don’t want it at all.
I’ll be excited to play with neighborhood stories going forward – and am pleased with the customization provided with this feature. Very good job, Maxis!