The Sims 4 and the skin tones update that wasn’t

Part one of The Sims 4's skin tone update didn't really update anything.

Last week, The Sims 4 released what was supposed to be part one of a skin tone overhaul. The second part, coming later this year, is expected to add hundreds of new skin tones and a slider for additional customisation to the game.

Part one was meant to fix issues with existing skin tones and some hairstyles. But there’s a problem. The Sims 4 October update didn’t really make a notable difference to the skin tones.

Sure, the update was only ever going to be a small change, but considering this issue has been ongoing (and ignored) for six years, players expected something more.

The same update also included new items in celebration of “Hispanic Heritage Month”, but many players found the clothing designs to be unrelated to Hispanic culture. (The CAS items were a collaboration with “Chicano artist Mister Cartoon”).

Despite players raising the issue with the (lack of) update to the in-game skin tones, there’s not been any official acknowledgement from the officials over at Sims HQ.

Sim Guru Frost, global community manager for The Sims, has been responding to players on Twitter, but as many content creators have pointed out: that’s not the best way to communicate.

Actually, most ways in which the team communicates hasn’t been ideal. While nobody doubts the hard work that goes into building the game, communicating with the community beyond social media, has been lacking for some time now.

From the dead silence after any sort of leak of future content (and there have been a few) to the end of Maxis Monthly, it sometimes feels a bit as if the team over at HQ ** insert I don’t want to talk about it tune here **.

Sure, it’s been one heck of a year for everyone. People have had to adjust to a new way of working. But the lack of clear communication is not a new issue.

The Nifty Knitting pack is a good example of how much transparency in communication changes things. Despite the end product of that pack feeling a little bit incomplete, it somehow felt a bit easier to take because players knew what to expect.

There were glimmers of better communication when the skin tone update was was announced. A bit of consistency with that would be nice.

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Antoinette Muller
Antoinette is a recovering journalist. She's a multi-award winner and thinks it's strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she's playing as herself in The Sims.