The Sims 4 Paranormal Live Stream: Deep Dive

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The live stream opened with a quick introduction. SimGuruRad on video and SimGuruFrost on audio co-hosted the stream. SimGuruNinja and Stephen (the art director) were also in attendance via audio to provide some additional information and insight. Frost noted that they were testing out closed captioning for the first time available on twitch.tv/thesims.

Rad jumped right into gameplay on a riverside lot located in Willow Creek.

She advised that one of the Game Changers (Doctor Ashley) had helped build the house we were viewing and that it would be available on the Gallery in the My Library section. Rad advised that once the pack is installed you will be prompted to place this lot (similar to the Tiny Living and Dine Out prompts to add lots to the world). Rad gave a quick front and back view of the house and advised that videos from Doctor Ashley would be available for more details on how the build was constructed. We then zoom in on the main room in the house. The team provided some additional details on the process with Doctor Ashley, noting that she did not have the pack-objects available when she completed her original build and that this build was something out of her normal style.

Rad advised that one of the big features of the pack is a new lot type – the Haunted House Residential. The lot type featured in the live stream created by Doctor Ashley is a Haunted House Residential. Rad compared it to the Tiny Living Residential lot type for reference.

Rad quickly entered Build/Buy mode and showed the option to switch back and forth between the lot types. The Haunted House Residential comes with some lot features or traits specific to this lot type that cause some interesting things to happen. Ninja advised that because this is a lot type you can still add up to three lot traits to get some interesting combinations. Rad advised that the former lot trait “haunted” is now “spooky” but will still have the same effects as before. That spooky trait can also be added to the Haunted House Residential lot.

Rad jumped back into Live mode so that we could see some of the lot features in action. Rad stated that most of the spooky activity would happen at night. While we waited on the night to fall and the spooky surprises to unfold Rad zoomed in on one of the new objects with the pack – the Séance Table.

Rad had one of her Haunted House residents interact with the table and we were able to see three interactions – Commune With The Departed, Sense Spiritual Volatility, and Perform Ceremony.

The first interaction Rad showed was the “Sense Spiritual Volatility”. She explained that this interaction would determine how spooky the current lot is and how weary the Sim should be living on this lot. Almost immediately we notice a new skill notification “Acquired the Medium Skill” as the Sim interacts with the séance table and performs the first interaction.

The next interaction “Perform Ceremony” can help to make the house a little less haunted. We can see a warning with this interaction that it also drains the Sim of their energy and a promise that a successful ceremony will make the Sim less scared.

After the Sim had completed the “Sense Spiritual Volatility” interaction we were greeted with a notification that some very happy haunts were detected. Specters we learn are usually friendly and the Sim found that there was very little Paranormal Activity and cause for concern.

The last interaction “Commune With The Departed” shows a classic séance style interaction. This interaction was built to bring that to life. During the séance we see the lights flicker in the house as well as some electric light interactions hovering above the “crystal ball” on the séance table. Want to know how the dearly departed are doing on the other side? You might not get the detail you are looking for with this interaction, but you will get a quirky notification with some communication from the other side.

Ninja and Rad noted that you are not limited to the chairs that were shown for the séance table. The object follows the same rules as other tables and desks in the game. Rad indicated that the interactions shown were first level and what we should expect to see when we start interacting with the table and learning the Medium Skill.

Rad explained that all packs have been updated to include the new Scared trait buff where appropriate. Rad added that a big part of this pack is managing the spooky and the scared. She went on to explain that if you wanted it to be really spooky you can let your Sims get really scared. Letting the paranormal activity continue and build will increase this. Rad quickly showed a tendril growing and advised that it was also building the spookiness of the lot.

Frost then provided some detail on the new skill interaction we saw briefly with the séance table. He stated that it was a minor skill with only five levels but that there were perks and benefits to leveling up this skill. He commented that they were going to let players discover most of the details on their own but mentioned one perk that the stream chat was very excited about – Bonehilda. Bonehilda is a much loved NPC that was first introduced in The Sims: Makin’ Magic. Bonehilda returned in The Sims 3: Supernatural and now will make her third appearance in The Sims 4: Paranormal Stuff.

Rad took us back to the séance table but this time with the second resident of the Haunted House. He was much more advanced in the Medium Skill and we can see that instantly with his options for the séance table. We later learn through a chat question that children can also learn the Medium Skill.

Rad added that as you increase your Medium Skill level, you’ll have the option to do rituals and summon Bonehilda. You will also have the option to perform the seances alone or in a group.  Rad chose to have her Sims “Invoke the Dead” as a group séance. Sims with a higher level begin to float when performing seances at the table. While the lower-level Sim remained seated and we saw the same light animations as before, this time the higher level Sim floated in his chair while performing the action.

This time having the higher-skilled Sim use “Invoke the Dead” we see some specters appear as opposed to just communicating with them in the level one interaction and receiving the dialog notification.

Ninja mentioned that you will be able to create séance circles in addition to séance tables. For things like Bonehilda, you won’t be required to place the object to get the functionality, you can simply do a summoning circle instead.

The Sims reacted to the specters that appeared from the séance as they flitted about the rooms. Rad stated that Invoking the Dead will do one of two things – summon ghosts or summon the specters as we saw live. The pack will pull ghosts from your world, so if there are not a lot of ghost hanging out in your world you are more likely to continue to summon specters.

Next Rad speeds us up to a new feature of the Haunted House Residential. At 9:00 PM of the first night in your new (or very very old?) Haunted House you will get a pop-up interaction. Making a selection in this interaction doesn’t appear to change the gameplay in one way or another.

Rad then takes us back to the séance table to summon Bonehilda. We get our first look at the Sims 4 iteration and they appear to have kept that very classic look and some of the same perks – Bonehilda will assist with the cleaning, cooking, and being an all-around helpful skeletal friend.  

While Bonehilda is on the lot you cannot summon an additional Bonehilda. The team estimated that Bonehilda would stay on the lot for a Sim day or two before needing to be summoned again.

Ninja mentioned that there were a lot of audio cues in the pack in addition to the visuals to bring the Haunted House lot type to life.

We revisit the resident Sims, and their emotions are ranging from Scared to Terrified. We see the Sims running about and reacting to some of the objects in the house. Rad shows us some actions we can do to help our terrified Sims – “Scream at your Friend” was the interaction Rad chose to try out on her Sim. She stated that the interaction may help your Sim calm down a little and it may also scare the other Sim.

We then zoom in on another object in the game – a very creepy-looking doll. There is some debate on whether this is actually adorable or incredibly terrifying.

The chat audience seemed to agree that it was, in fact, terrifying. We then see a Sim interact with the doll by kicking it and it appeared to explode and then disappear. Rad warned that interacting with these types of objects sooner rather than later was preferred because eventually, your Sim will be too scared to come close to them.

Rad also noted while viewing the main room area that some of the paintings included in the pack will be triggered by some of the paranormal and spooky activity going on. Panning around the house we also see Bonehilda is already on duty.

Ninja took over with some details on the journey you experience when you place a Haunted House Residential. Guidry (a friendly ghost) is going to be a big part of that journey and he should arrive after a Sim night. Guidry is there to help you deal with your new living arrangements. Ninja explains that the point of the Haunted House is to try to control the level of spiritual volatility. This includes dealing with different types of objects and specters that you may encounter. The challenge is to keep your Sims in a reasonably happy state. The more scared your Sims get, the harder it is to manage. Rad noted that players have asked for more of a challenge in the game and that this pack is their attempt to add that into the game.

A new addition that accompanies fear is that your Sims may have nightmares. We see one of the residents Sims gets a notification of an abduction nightmare.

Rad also mentioned that after Guidry has appeared that you have a chance to try a more difficult heroic mode of the pack. As we speed through the first full day in the Haunted House so that we can meet Guidry, Ninja mentions that the first Sim week in your Haunted House will piece together the functionality and an overall introduction to the different features. Rad added that smaller homes may see that the effects are more intense while living on larger lots the effects appear more balanced out.

Rad detailed out the three main specter types – Friendly (these are more playful and will just hang about), Mysterious (these are blue and you won’t be sure if they are happy or upset), and Mischievous (these are red and tend to be troublemakers). Be warned, the red specters may start fires. Rad later mentions that there is one additional specter, but stated that that one will remain an Easter egg with the pack.

Next, we get the pop-up that Guidry has arrived.

Rad has her Sim introduce themself to Guidry. We find that he’s an especially flirty ghost. But, he’s there to be your guide when you need him to help you navigate your haunts. The first tip that Guidry gives the Sim is to give the specters gifts. We find out that they especially like homemade items. There are a lot of choices that will not be available unless you are experiencing that specific emotion such as being tired or scared. Guidry can help you out with these things, but only if your Sim is currently experiencing them.

Once Guidry has appeared there is an object that can be used to disable Guidry’s visits or enable heroic mode.

Another feature Guidry can help you out with is becoming a Paranormal Investigator. Using this interaction with Guidry is one way to obtain this new trait included in the Paranormal Stuff Pack.

Before becoming a Paranormal Investigator, you’ll need to have reached the max level of the Medium Skill.

After obtaining the trait you can use it to find a freelance job. Ninja recommends playing through the pack before jumping into the career.

A new addition in the Reward Store is the “Paranormal Investigator License”. Using this reward will allow you to skip the Medium Skill, Guidry interactions, and Haunted House living.

Rad and Ninja pointed out that just living in the Haunted House provides you with Rewards Store points. Each night you survive your haunted dwelling you will earn more.

Once you enter the freelance career, you’ll have an option to choose the “Federal Bureau of Spooky Investigation”.

Next, you will select a gig. We see a quick shot of some options with different levels – beginner, adept and expert.

Each directly indicates how difficult the gig will be and will each pay different amounts. Completing the expert level gig may cause a not so friendly villainess to seek you out. Temperance, a ghost with a temper, also seems to have an affinity for the spooky dolls in the pack. We did not get a look at her during the live stream.

Ninja mentioned that in addition to spooky things, specters may also bring treats such as ecto-cupcakes and forbidden candies.

Ninja explained the benefit of purchasing sacred candles (purchased from the reward store) to help your Sims feel less scared.

Revisiting the hand option, Rad provides some more details on heroic mode.

Once the heroic mode has been chosen you cannot change it back for at least 24 hours. Things in the house are going to get scarier and more volatile. The benefit is you will earn more rewards points in this mode.

Rad jumped into Build/Buy and showed off some new items coming with the pack. We first get a really great overview of all the variations for the new objects.

Art director, Stephen, takes over to explain the goal with colors and designs for the pack. He explained that the goal was to compliment a more “Queen Anne” or New Orleans style of the base game as opposed to the gloomy and Victoria style you may find when looking up séance reference visuals. Stephen stated that the furniture has more of an eclectic, thrift store find feel to it for this pack.

While going through the object overview Rad mentioned that some of the objects such as the dolls and candy jars would be rewards. You will be able to interact with the items and maybe get energy or use it as a therapy to keep your scared emotion in check.

One of the new prebuilt rooms with the pack is the “Lady Ravendancer’s Séance Parlor”. This room can be easily placed from Build/Buy.

Another prebuilt room with the pack is the “Eccentric Eclectic Sitting Room”. There are three color scheme options for this room as well and it complements the séance room perfectly.

Ninja commented that his favorite objects from the pack are the Cowplant in a jar and the Specter in a jar. Rad showed the individual items and the option to give a name to both. There are some preset names you can choose one yourself.

Next, Rad dove into a saved game to show off the new career. The Sim in this game was already at the Goth mansion working a gig.

After entering the Sim finds that the Goth mansion has been overrun with specters. Rad takes us through performing some tasks such as “mopping up a mysterious symbol” and “removing a creepy doll”.

From a question prompted by stream chat we find out that these events will not randomly happen to your Sim but if your Sim is in the career these events can send them to any residential lot. We also get a shot of a slime creature that forms on the ground and can be mopped up.

The UI used for the career gigs is similar to that of an event or other playable careers. You will have a timer and the main task that needs to be completed which will not change depending on the gig or level “Exorcise the Lot”.

Because you are in someone else’s home you can utilize a séance circle, but not put down the object. If your skill is high enough you can use this interaction to help you complete the gig. Once you’ve completely exorcised the lot, you’ll get a notification that the gig is complete, see your earnings, and have the option to go home immediately or stay on the lot.

In the example we saw on the live stream the Sim was rewarded with a specter in a jar after successfully completing the gig.

Last we got a look at the CAS items included in the pack. Rad first showed off some of the Styled Looks in the pack.

 

Then some individual pieces – tops, pants, dresses, shoes, skirts, and a necklace.

And some options for kids:

New hairstyles for kids and toddlers:

We also briefly got to see the hairstyles for the adults:

The team ended the chat by advising that the Game Changers would be able to start releasing videos including the speed build of the Haunted House made by Doctor Ashley that will be included in the pack.

Ninja added that the live stream showed gameplay from the base game and Paranormal Stuff only. He noted that there were definitely some cross-pack Easter eggs and tidbits to find if you are playing with multiple packs installed. Rad mentioned a specific aspect – spellcasters will get an added benefit with the Medium Skill and pets may have an aversion to cursed objects.

Rounding up some questions from the live chat we also found that a new Brave trait is available in the rewards store – it will help your Sim calm down quickly and make it easier to complete paranormal career tasks.

The Sims 4 Paranormal Stuff will be available on January 26, 2021, on Origin (for Mac and PC), Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation®4.