The challenges with a ‘free the baby’ Sims 4 update

Babies in The Sims 4 has been high on the wish list for many players. Freeing them from their cribs without destroying save files is quite a challenge, though.

If you have spent some time on Sims Twitter recently, you’ve probably noticed that there is a bit of a revolution going on. A multitude of accounts, inspired by Bonehilda, have started to pop up, highlighting some of the things missing from The Sims 4.

Unsurprisingly, babies out of their bassinets feature prominently on the wish lists of many players. Last year, modder and CC creator, Ravasheen, spotted some in-game code that might suggest that a free-the-babies update will be coming in the near future.

An update that allowed for Sims to clean up toddlers in sinks added further speculation that something is afoot. Up to now, though, there has been no confirmation on what players can expect from babies in the future. We do know that there is some sort of update coming on 25 February 2021, to mark the occasion of the franchise’s 21st anniversary.

Last year, The Sims 4 team shared a refreshingly open update about upcoming content for The Sims 4. The letter confirmed that the tenth expansion for the franchise is in the works, since released as Snowy Escape.

In the letter, The Sims 4 team also said that some of the game’s most requested features – like cars, bunk beds and free babies – would not be part of Snowy Escape (although, that goes without saying now…). The letter did not rule out or confirm the possibility that this might be part of a future update either, though.

A specific part of that letter talking about the challenges of implementing these features stood out. The letter read:

“When we consider something for addition to the game we consider what it will take to update it meaningfully. This is just as true for babies as it would be for cars, bunk beds or any other number of feature requests.

“Sometimes there is foundational technology we need to work through and sometimes we need to dig into designs more deeply to make sure we understand your expectations.

“This work takes time, and we don’t update you on these projects until they become more real.”

The challenge with adding cars to The Sims 4 in an update is something that has been discussed ever since the game launched six years ago.

Recently, we looked at what has changed since those early days and why cars might still be possible in the near future.

Sims 4 free baby update: The challenge for developers

Babies are a different challenge, though. Currently, babies in The Sims 4 are technically “objects”. It is kind of creepy finding them in debug mode, but that is how they work.

To release babies in the Sims 4 from their cribs – ie make them not objects – has a huge risk, because such a fundamental change could – and almost certainly will – break many, many save files. Remember the chaos caused by the Eco Lifestyle patch earlier in the year?

For Sims 4 players who play “legacy” games, this could have a devastating impact. Hospital births for players with the Get To Work expansion pack will also be affected. As will Sims who are currently pregnant.

How a Sims 4 baby update might work

Babies will have to be added as a new life state entirely. That means they can be edited in Create-A-Sim like toddlers.

As one Simmer on the official forums pointed out too recently, there might be a solution. To allow for transition from the crib-bound babies to the more active and engaging life state, an interim “age up” option from the crib objects might need to be added. That would precede the toddler age and allow for new babies to be added through CAS.

Keeping the crib object baby would mitigate some of the risks of save files breaking and, in theory, if they are retained, could allow for players who do not have the need or desire for more characterful Sims 4 babies to simply skip over that life state.

This is all easier said than done, though, and there might be myriad complications to consider before that stage is even reached.

Please note: This article was first published in September 2020. It was updated in February 2021 to include details of the Sims Twitter revolution and republished.


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