Good news for folk who’ve always wanted to burden their Sims with unimaginable debt: “Discover University” is the next big expansion pack coming to The Sims 4. Available on PC Nov. 15 and on consoles Dec. 17, this $40 expansion pack sends your Sim on a post-secondary journey in search of education, self-discovery, and/or romantic dorm room rendezvous.
I don’t actually know if incurring debt is part of the in-game college experience in The Sims 4, but it looks like everything else you’d associate with college is present and accounted for. Sims can choose between two different universities, the “historical University of Britechester or modern Foxbury Institute,” and are able to live the on-campus dorm lifestyle, or make the daily commute from home.
From there, it’s college stuff all the way down. Your Sims can major in different fields (Biology, Computer Science, and Villainy are the ones EA calls out in its press release), and their grades will have an impact on how well they’re able to perform in their new careers after they graduate. Sims will have to study before tests, choose to skip class or not, make time to work on group projects, and break down in tears at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday in the lab bathroom when it all feels so heavy that they might just crumble into dust.
As with every expansion, Discover University comes with a bunch of new accoutrements, including college/dorm-themed household items and apparel. It’d be fun if EA went in a more realistic direction with this and put in a pile of pizza boxes covered in mold, or a crate of ramen noodles that gives your Sim scurvy or something, but it looks like the new swag will mostly be posters and mini-fridges and that kind of Hollywood dorm stuff.
Sims will also be able to join extra-curricular activities and clubs, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities for partying down with your fellow co-eds, so long as your Sim is fine with drinking “juice.” Yes, there’s beer pong to play and kegs to float, but any actual alcohol you might expect has been replaced with nondescript Juice™. Will your Sim be able to miss class because of their monster juice hangover? Can your Sim get Juice poisoning during rush week and miss so much class from recovering in the hospital after falling off the frat house balcony that they have to drop the entire semester and try again in the spring, only now all their friends from high-school have new college friends and your Sim is all alone?
I know that EA has a “T for Teen” rating to protect, but making these sorts of terrible, life-changing mistakes is a key part of the college experience. And I’m not just talking about alcohol-related tragedies, either. Will your Sim be able to get over their self-esteem issues in time to realize that Christina is crazy about them, and that this is their one opportunity to have the kind of soul-consuming, passionate love that people write books about? Will they be able to see through themselves just long enough to realize how real this is?
Or will they continue to make mistake after mistake, blinded by their own deep-seated validation issues, only to realize a decade later that Oh my God, that was it, that was their one chance at happiness, and even though they could reach out today, life has taken them both down such different paths that there’s no way it could ever be the same? Will Discover University give my Sims the real college experience?