Every new feature coming to The Sims 4: High School Years

The Sims 4: High School Years is set to shake up teen life in a major way.
sims 4 high school years features

The Sims 4: High School Years is a brand new expansion launching for The Sims 4 in July 2022 – and it’s set to change up the game in a major way. While teenage Sims have previously been overlooked, with many choosing to skip this life stage entirely, High School Years finally adds a much-needed reason to spend time with this unruly age group.

Here’s every new feature included in the expansion pack, and how it’ll spice up the lives of all your Sims.

Create-A-Sim is getting a range of new features, clothing

create a sims 4 clothing high school years
Image: EA / Maxis

Teen Sims being able to ‘express their identity’ is one of the major focuses of High School Years, with new Create-A-Sim options allowing for that creativity. There’s a range of new clothes included in this pack, like funky denim jackets, blazers, cheerleading outfits, goth kawaii outfits, shirts with ties, crop tops, fur jackets, tied-off jumpers, bleached jeans, ripped jeans, funky jumpsuits with stripes, and baggy shirts.

Many of these items have been designed by real-life fashion designers from Depop, and will be available via a new in-game thrifting app known as Trendi, or in the pack’s new thrifting store.

There’s also a handful of new hairs, including – for the first time – body hair for legs, arms, back, and chest. This will be included in a base game update for everyone, but High School Years will include a special optional toggle that enables hair growth, to better replicate the teen experience.

Players will be able to nominate their Sims’ sexuality

A new Sims 4 update launching alongside High School Years will enable players to select a distinct sexuality for each of their characters. This is a new feature for everyone, and won’t be locked behind the new expansion.

The setting will be multi-faceted, with players able to choose who a Sim is attracted to, both physically and romantically. It will also allow Sims to choose who they’d like to ‘Mess Around’ with – and whether they’re still exploring their options.

At this stage, the feature is binary – you can only select attraction to men or women – but the Sims team has recognised this as a major limitation. As it stands, there are no non-binary options for Sims players, and this is something that’s been baked into the game’s code, thanks to it being a near-decade old. The Sims team hopes this binary will change in future, with more gender options being explored.

At this stage, the sexuality update is being regarded as a ‘1.0’ iteration.

Select Sims in the High School Years expansion pack will have set sexualities.

New Teen aspirations and activities

When creating a teenage Sim, players will be able to set a range of new aspirations, including ‘being a drama llama’, being a troublemaker, and wanting to be an influencer. This will guide their attitudes in school, and may lead them to detention if they get caught performing pranks or skipping class. It will also help shape their ‘fears’, which can cause intense emotions.

There’s also a range of new activities teen Sims will be able to take part in over the course of their high school years, including escaping out of a window to go on a date, or taking part in Prom (Sims will be able to Prompose to new ‘crushes’, or be Promposed to).

They’ll also be able to visit the new Social Bunny social media website, which allows them to post messages and ‘slide into those DMs’ to help boost their relationships. Sims using this app will gain followers, and may become influencers if they grow their social presence enough.

Strangely enough, teen Sims will also be able to take part in the ‘T-Pose Challenge’ which sees them literally T-Pose in school hallways for as long as possible. As many will know, this is typically a glitch in video games but here, it’s used for a laugh.

sims high school classes
Image: EA / Maxis

A brand new area – Plumbite Pier – will be a wonderland for teen Sims, with a range of activities available here for dates, or for hanging out with friends. In this Copperdale locale, teen Sims will be able to jump into a photo booth, experience a haunted house, ride a Ferris Wheel, and purchase boba tea or ice cream. There’s also a Tunnel of Love, and a gorgeous boardwalk to roam.

Visiting this location with friends will help build relationships, both platonic and romantic.

You’ll be able to attend Sim classes in High School Years

high school years expansion
Image: EA / Maxis

Classes in The Sims 4: High School Years won’t be rabbit holes. That means you’ll be able to follow your teen Sims to class, and help them participate with in-game prompts. Try hard, and they’ll succeed – but slack off, and they’ll have to deal with the consequences.

Every day, there will be two classes to attend, with an event prompt in the top left corner of the screen determining where you should be at all times, and how much free time you get. To successfully complete a school day, you’ll need to fulfil all of these events prompts – which include studying for exams, speaking to students, and taking part in lunch.

Sims can skip classes if they choose, and also perform pranks in the school hallways, but if they get caught there’ll be plenty of repercussions. They’ll also need to complete homework to help their learning – or ignore it, if they choose.

If they’re not a troublemaker, they may be keen to participate in after-school activities. These include cheerleading, football, computer clubs, and chess clubs – all of which have unique interactions. These will also help teens build up their relationships, and create teams for them to hang out with during school hours. Each club can also hold a festival after school hours, where they celebrate their chosen activity, and have fun.

Classes will culminate in final exams, which are graded based on participation and academic prowess – and these will lead to a special Graduation event. Sims may ‘fail’ graduation, which will lock them out of certain career paths and university – but they are able to take an online course to circumvent this.

Prom will be a major celebration for teen Sims

sims 4 high school years
Image: EA / Maxis

The school year will culminate in Prom, an event where teen Sims will be able to hang out and dance with their crushes, and participate in a number of new activities, including voting for Prom Jester and Prom Kings/Queens.

Prom takes place in a customisable Auditorium (schools are also completely customisable), which can be decorated with a range of new items – food tables, photo booths, fountains, and voting stations. To complete the event, you’ll need to follow prompts like voting, eating, showing off outfits, and dancing.

Even if your Sim is rejected for Prom, they can still attend with friends.

New bedroom decorations will help your Sims express personality

The Sims 4: High School Years will introduce plenty of new decorations for bedrooms, with a specific focus on stylish additions for teens. There’s a new gamer chair and a special lit mirror, alongside several Nanoleaf-like light strips, CD decorations, graffiti posters, new bed covers, a pink PC, and a pink gamer desk. There are also new carpets, clothing racks, and pride posters.

These will come with new interactions, as well. Bedrooms have been described as oases for teens, with decorations helping to express their identity and desires. Beds will now come with new interactions – sitting and texting, reading, and pillow fighting – and each new object will help to expand the scope of your teen Sims’ lives.

These rooms are escapes from adults, and the perfect hiding spot to focus on homework or relationships.

The Sims 4 will now offer a video game streaming career

Teenage Sims will be able to engage in ‘side hustle’ careers, one of which is ‘Video Game Streamer’. This allows them to make money from streaming online – 20 simoleons an hour – and also allows them to create SimTuber Avatars.

Other side hustles include activities with chess club and computer club, all of which can help boost the skills, interests, and funds of teens.

They’ll also be able to design outfits on Trendi and influence other teens via fashion, with each activity helping to guide their path through school, and their popularity with their peers.

The Sims 4: High School Years launches for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on 28 July 2022.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.