Cottage Living, the latest expansion pack from the Sims 4 team, is but weeks away from release. On July 8th, developers held a YouTube livestream to show off some of the pack's sprawling gameplay in lightning quick fashion. This livestream, in tandem with incredibly detailed coverage from many EA Gamechangers, gave the wider Sims community greater insight into what to expect from Cottage Living.
What we already knew
Thanks to SimGuruRomeo and detailed EA blog notes, Simmers already knew that Henford on Bagley boasted three neighborhoods -- Bramblewood, Old New Henford, and Finchwick Village-- and twelve lots. Bramblewood is the untamed wilderness in which Sims can discover and befriend foxes, rabbits, and birds. Filled with scenic waterfalls and lush, rolling hills, the Bramblewood offers romance and plenty of lush fields for mushroom and berry foraging,
Simmers knew to expect village shops and a weekly fair in Finchwick, and the community has been salivating to settle down in the verdant hills of Old New Henford in a quaint farm to cook alongside their families, picnic in the scenic fields, can in their new country-style kitchens, and garden oversized crops alongside their children.
What We Didn't Know: Befriending Wildlife
While Simmers knew they would have to befriend the wildlife of the Bramblewood, the livestream made the complexities of the new gifting and befriending system more clear. Sims will need to take great pains to cautiously get to know a certain animal. Through trial and error, Sims will need to discover what a particular bunny likes and what it doesn't like. No two bunnies are the same, and neither are the birds or foxes. That is, while one rabbit may enjoy gifts of carrots or apples, the next rabbit may prefer a pie or some other goody in the hero Sim's inventory.
Sims who foster positive relationships with bunnies, birds, and foxes will enjoy a whole host of wondrous benefits such as:
LilSimsie demonstrates and confirms "death by bunny."
What We Already Knew: Oversized Crops
Simmers already knew to expect droves of oversized crops: eggplants, pumpkins, watermeon, and mushrooms. In an upcoming update, even base game will allow children to water, harvest, weed, and plant seeds alongside their parents.
What We Didn't Know: Oversized Crop Variance
But developers included a new wrinkle to the grand gardening gameplay loop. When planting such oversized crops, Sims will need to watch over and tend to these crops carefully. The manner in which the Sim cares for their crops will yield varying results in not only crop quality but also in crop size and number. After scattering seeds on the brand new oversized crop plots, Sims can produce nine small plants, two medium plants, or one large plant. There are benefits to each size, however. Smaller crops work best for canning. Large crops are better for festival entries.
What We Already Knew: Finchwick Fair
Developers explained earlier than Finchwick would host weekly competitive fairs. During these fairs, locals earn prizes and bragging rights for raising the prettiest chicken, growing the biggest eggplant, and baking the best-tasting pie.
What We Didn't Know: Base Game Calendar Update
What Simmers did not know was that these fairs would appear on a refreshed calendar which is coming to base game. This game-changing, organizational widget was once tied exclusively to the Seasons pack, but its extensive powers will now become available for base game players.
What We Already Knew: Pond Tool
Simmers were already aware that ponds were coming to the Sims 4 base game as a complement to the Cottage Living pack. Gamechangers and avid builders alike squealed at the impending change, gabbing about watching their Sims fish and wade at a fully customized pond's edge. Currently, Simmers can only include ponds in a given build by resorting to the "fishing hole" in the debug menu.
What We Didn't Know: Ponds Come with Spawnables
Developers included a stunning new aspect to pond building-- the inclusion of spawnables. After creating a pond with the highly-anticipated pond tool, Simmers will also be able to populate the pond with a number of critters and cute pond life: swans, ducks, dragonflies, fireflies, turtles, frogs, and even alligators.
If this were not enough, Simmers will also be able to fill their ponds with whatever fish they desire through a new menu.
What we Knew: Villagers Offer Quests
In a gameplay loop firmly familiar to gamers who frequent such games as Stardew Valley or literally any epic fantasy, developers have included a villagers quest system to the Sims 4. Henford-on-Bagley is stuffed full of interesting lore and character backstories; as the hero Sim becomes acquainted with this treasure trove of charming characters, they can provide helpful services to these characters by performing tasks for them. The grocer may need a pick-up of certain ingredients or the Creature Keeper may need help foraging for mushrooms or watching skulking foxes.
What We Didn't Know: Quest Complexity
YouTuber James Turner was jumped quickly into errands gameplay for his infamous rags-to-riches legacy Let's Play. It became obvious that these quests were not simple "one-offs" by any means. Often, players will need to bake items, travel, forage, and more in order to complete the tasks. However, players have infinite time to complete the tasks, and they can choose more than one to complete at a time. In fact, Simmers may have up to three tasks active at any given time. Each task will reward the Simmer with simoleons and an improved relationship with the townie Sim.
What we Already Knew: Hero Sims can purchase missing ingredients at shoppes
Simmers already knew that the Finchwick Garden shoppe, run by Agnes and Agatha Crumplebottom, would offer helpful ingredients for farming, gardening, cross-stitching, and more.
What We Didn't Know: Hero Sims can Sell Goods at Town Stalls
Simmers did not know that these very shoppes, including the grocer, would offer retail space to the hero Sim. Crops that the Sim brings to market can be sold for a solid chunk of change.
What We Already Knew: Animal Treats have varied Effects on Farm Animals
Cottage Living's recent gameplay trailer revealed the incredible effect that particular treats have upon particular animals. Simmers can transform their cows into rainbow colored marvels that produce rainbow-colored milk for the county fair, for example.
What We Didn't Know: The Wide-Range of Treat Possibilities
Treats can affect farm animals in a multitude of incredible ways. Sims can change their hens into golden hens that lay golden eggs; they can, through the power of midnight feed, change their chickens into bold, black demon chickens. They can feed their chickens vegetables so that the chickens produce green eggs. Sims can cajole their llamas into eating the colorful feed necessary to change their fur from white, to blue, to brown, to orange!
Create-a-Sim and Build/Buy items
Expansion packs always arrive brimming with new CAS items and build/buy assets, but Game Changer content has given us our first up close and personal look at the country living fashion and down-home quaint cottage build items. Through rustic kitchenware, thatched rooves, new wood floors, modestly comfortable clothes, and romantic tousled and braided hairs, Cottage Living has come alive anew. In addition, GameChangers like HeyHarrie, Devon Bumpkin, and Clare Siobhan created the beautiful builds available in the pack.
There is far, far more to be said about Cottage Living. Keep it locked here for more detailed information as Game Changers drop their Gameplay details.