The Sims 4: Skintone Update Overview

After a ridiculously long wait, The Sims 4 now includes a wide range of diverse skin tones. This week’s skin tone update was the result of years of campaigning from prominent Black Simmers like Xmiramira and EbonixSims. After the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, other prominent voices in the community supported the cause and the result is a large number of new skin tone options, as well as custom sliders.

The Sims team worked with Xmiramira, EbonixSims, MiaZaff1, RaonyPhillips, and CatherinegYT to bring the update to life. Having candid conversations and inviting feedback from these Simmers in order to get the details correct. Now it’s finally arrived we take a look at exactly what you can expect.

A Diverse Range Of Skin Tones

The new skin tones section is split into four different categories; warm, neutral, cool, and miscellaneous. The Warm, Neutral, and Cool sections contain a variety of base swatches to choose from and the Miscellaneous category separates out the more unrealistic tones commonly used for occults.

Once you’ve selected a base tone, the game offers a slider which allows you to slightly adjust the tone further to create a truly custom shade. When you’ve set it to your liking, there’s also a + button which allows you to save the custom swatch underneath the default options to use again.

Newly Revamped Hairstyles

Currently, there are only two newly edited base game hairstyles, but there is a promise of more to come. In recent years, the art team has been able to produce far more accurate hairs when it comes to braids, plaits, and curls. The two styles above are the latest base game hairstyles to get an upgrade.

As the game’s style evolves it’s only right that the hairstyles evolve as well. Hopefully, next on the list is the hideous candyfloss afro.

Makeup Sliders

Another aspect of the game benefitting from the new sliders is makeup. Eyeshadow, facepaint, and lipstick all contain sliders for the hue, opacity, saturation, and brightness while eyeliner has sliders for all except saturation.

These settings allow you to completely customize your makeup look. Vibrant tones can be muted and everything can be made either more subtle or bolder. The only makeup to really fail to be enhanced is the blush.

For some reason, all the base game blush options, including the M.A.C makeup, only have an opacity slider. While this does help a little it doesn’t help with the inherent patchiness of the blushes themselves.

Wonky Genetics

One area of the patch that has been called out as still being problematic is the genetics system. When using the genetics tool with a mixed-race couple, the system appears to mostly default to a random skin tone somewhere in the middle of the skin tones of both parents. When testing this, as seen above, the game didn’t seem to use the skin tone of either of the parent Sims, instead just landing on a random one somewhere in between. For Sim parents with similar skin tones, this isn’t an issue but if you have parents at the more extreme ends of the skin tone spectrum another issue has arisen.

While checking out the update, YouTuber and Streamer Deligracy tested the genetics feature for two parents at opposite ends of the spectrum. The result was a white child, every single time. It’s currently unclear what’s going on there exactly, but this “random” skin tone generation, which continued in both CAS and in the game when the two Sims had a baby, isn’t a good look for a franchise striving to be diverse and inclusive. Here’s hoping whatever is going on here gets patched, soon.

However, overall the update is incredibly detailed and incredibly welcome. Next on our list is realistic hair colors. After all, most people with black hair don’t have a tinge of blue in it, despite what the game’s default black swatch would have us believe.

NEXT: The Sims 4 Cultural Updates Are Essential, But Life Is So Diverse They’ll Never Truly Represent Us All

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Helen began playing games at an early age with her first computer being a hand-me-down Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It didn’t put her off… She is all grown up now but is still a gamer at heart, especially when it comes to The Sims and other strategy and simulation games.

She juggles the daily demands of life with a family and somehow still finds the time to indulge her two passions in life, writing and gaming; sometimes both at the same time.

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