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The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation


Everything you need about the Updated Neighborhood Stories in The Sims 4

Today saw a pretty impressive new update to The Sims 4 that expands upon last November’s addition of Neighbourhood Stories. As a refresher, Neighbourhood Stories is a system that influences the lives of Sims you are not currently playing. It’s The Sims 4’s version of Story Progression from The Sims 3, but with more options to tailor the system to your individual preferences.

What’s Different?

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
In the original update, progression was restricted to phone calls your Sims might receive from friends, relatives, and acquaintances in other households. Only certain changes were available, like career changes and having a baby if the Sims were already in a relationship. Sims would not get married unless they were already engaged and would not adopt children or pets, either. Only Sims your active household knew would make these changes and only if you encouraged them to do so through conversation or phone calls.

Today, Neighbourhood Stories has gotten a huge expansion in a free update! Now, Sims can autonomously decide to make big life decisions without the input of your active Sims, regardless of whether they know your active Sims or not. There are many more types of life changes that Sims can make as well, such as adopting children or pets and even dying prematurely in various types of accidents! Of course, this update also comes with detailed customisation so you get to pick and choose what happens to your Sims when you’re not playing with them.


Most of the customisation options can be found within the Manage Households screen. By default, Neighbourhood Stories will be enabled for the Other Households tab and disabled for the My Households tab so you don’t need to worry about any of your played Sims being affected by changes you don’t want.

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
However, you can customise this if you do want your played Sims to progress in life when you are not actively playing with them. At the top of each tab in Manage Households, there is a new icon for Neighbourhood Stories settings. Click on it and checkmark the Enable Neighbourhood Stories box in the menu that comes up. This will enable all potential life changes for all households within that tab but you can customise this, too.

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
Let’s say you would like your Sims to have and adopt children and pets, join new careers, and retire when they become elders but you don’t want to risk them dying in accidents or leaving any current careers you already have them in. You can deselect Die in Accidents and Leave a Career but leave the other options enabled. Now all of those households are set up exactly the way you like them!

But wait! There’s more! What if you have specific households within the My Households or Other Households tab that you want different settings for? For example, what if the Goths and the Pancakes are under the same tab in Household Management and you want Bob and Eliza to have children but you think two kids is enough for Bella and Mortimer? Well, you can customise all of that, too. Individual households can have their own settings that override the general My/Other Households tab settings.

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
Click on the new Neighbourhood Stories icon on any specific household to adjust the settings for only that household. Households with individually customised story settings will have a Neighbourhood Stories symbol in their portraits so you can keep track of which households have individual customisations.

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
Hate everything about all of this and don’t want anything to do with Neighbourhood Stories at all in your game? If you liked things exactly the way they were before where no one progressed without your say-so, there is a global setting in the Game Options under the Gameplay tab that will let you disable Neighbourhood Stories for the entire save. Please note that you will still occasionally receive phone calls from Sims asking for your input on life decisions but Sims will not make any life decisions without your encouragement.

You can also reset all your custom configurations in this tab.

Seeing Neighbourhood Stories in Action

The Sims 4: Guide to Neighbourhood Stories Customisation
Since your Sims may not know every other Sim in your worlds, it’s likely that a lot of life changes will be happening in the background as you play without your Sims being any the wiser. Still, you as the player might be curious about what’s going on in the wider world. Whenever you want an update about some of the things that have been happening in your other households, click the mailbox and choose the new Check Recent Neighbourhood Stories option. You’ll get a popup about something that’s happened recently. You can continue to click this option until there are no new changes if you want to see everything. We hope this will be adjusted in the future so that all recent stories will pop up when you select this option. We don’t want to have to click it a dozen times if it’s been a while since the last time we checked the mailbox.

While we were playing with the BFF household, some interesting changes we found out about through the mailbox included the Calientes adopting a child, the Spencer-Kim-Lewis household adopting a dog, Jacques Villareal retiring from his career and the Free Spirits household adopting a baby.

Sure enough, when we went back to Manage Households, there was a dog in the Spencer-Kim-Lewis household, a baby in the Free Spirits household, and a child in the Caliente household.

How will you use the new Neighbourhood Stories feature? Will you let chaos reign or will you carefully curate what can happen to your Sims? Let us know in the comments!

About the author


A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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