Sims 4 Update Makes It Easier To Have Black Sims, But There’s A Catch


The Sims 4‘s newest update added 10 new, darker skin tones, as well as a new curly hair, to a game that had had not previously reflected the range of skin tones that black people and other people of colour have.

The new skin and hair options are welcome, but they have arrived very late in the game’s life-cycle and still have some cosmetic problems.

The Sims 4 was released in late 2014 and its original options for dark skin tones were disappointing. There weren’t many of them, and they weren’t very dark. It was hard to make Sims that looked like people of colour, and I had no good option to make a Sim that looked like me. Trying to do so felt like trying to buy foundation from brands other than Fenty Beauty: Hopeless.

This wasn’t just a phenomenon that bothered me. During a recent interview, The Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams asked me about a mod I used that gives the game 50 more dark skin tones. Thanks to the latest update, The Sims 4 has 10 more, all deeper than the skin tones previously in the game, and they have both warm and cool undertones.

Players aren’t wholly satisfied, and I understand why. On the four darkest shades, there is a strange orange patch around the nose. It’s distracting once you notice it.

You can see an orange splotch across the bridge of the nose. This shade also has a weird smudge on the left cheek.

You can see an orange splotch across the bridge of the nose. This shade also has a weird smudge on the left cheek.

Similarly, trying to put the make-up that comes with the game on these new skin tones is awkward. Almost every shade gives sims a weird outline around their mouths.

The new curly hair is one of the few hairs in the game that attempt to reflect kinky or coily hair, rather than wavy hair. The other three also came with either an update or a expansion, although the game did ship with two afros. It’s clear a lot of work went into the new curly hair texture, but it also isn’t quite right. Curls are very dense and heavy. Unless there’s a ton of product in that hair it would be affected by gravity and not so perfectly spherical.

Given how underserved players of colour have been by The Sims 4, this update has the feeling of too little, too late. This is a game about any kind of person you want. Players should at least have the ability to make themselves.


  • Always annoys me when I can’t get my sexy caramel tone down in games.
    Or it comes out darker/lighter when I get in game and I have to start again. (Which is almost always)

    • Yeah I wish they;d put your character creation dude in a field or something instead of a black void with weird lightning that makes them come out completely different to the plan.

      • And people complained that they had to dowbload a decent sized area first before using the character creator in FFXIV. That game offers numerous actual locations as backgrounds, with day and night variants AND a void. Why every game doesnt do this is beyond me.

  • This will always boil down to a few simple issues, rendering technology and technique.

    It is super easy to make light skin fit, but the darker the tone the harder it is to make it look natural in game, blending techniques for skin tones is just not where it needs to be and it is routinely reflected in games that either have a character creation screen or random character generation. It is one of the reason why characters that are handmade (Prophet from Crysis) look amazing and no matter how you try in games that have in depth character creator tools (Black Desert Online) dark skin always looks off.

    • This is such an important point and one Gita has completely ignored. The Sims has a fairly cartoony appearance and isn’t going to get the “right curl texture” or skin that adequately reflects light with no minor rendering artefacts. Look hard enough and most models will have imperfections like this – it only shows up more on models with a darker texture, particularly with strong contrast.

      I get why Gita is annoyed by the game shipping with fewer POC skin tones (which is valid from her perspective) but there seems to be an undertone of discrimination in this article when in actual fact it’s just an engine limitation.

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