Paddling Ghoul: The Sims 4 Patching In Ghosts And Pools

The haunting squeal of an ethereal whoopee cushion.

Ghosts were missing from The Sims 4 at launch, but we all know that just because we haven’t seen a ghost, that doesn’t mean one’s not there. Going invisible is sorta their ‘thing’. Not seeing a ghost is almost proof that you have one. The Sims 4 definitely does now. Maxis made ghosts materialise with a ritual content patch yesterday, the first of three big free monthly content updates planned.

November’s patch will bring back swimming pools — dear murderous swimming pools! — while December’s update is set to add new career paths and rewards.

Like most ghosts, those in The Sims 4 pop into existence when someone dies. They’ll still have their old personality but also abilities and behaviours related to how they snuffed it. Ones who died from laughter might make nearby sims mirthful, while those got zapped can possess and short out electronics. Ghosts start as NPCs going about their afterlives, but can become playable, joining your Sims household, finding a job, and even getting married. Why not?

None more goth.

Oh, and yesterday’s patch added more eye colours too. And some Star Wars costumes. I don’t know. Look at the announcement. I don’t know.

“We’ve designed The Sims 4 to be a live service, so we can continually evolve the experience, add new content, and incorporate as much of your feedback as possible,” Maxis said yesterday. And apparently so they can add things they didn’t have time for. Previously, before launch, Maxis had explained the missing pools (and still-missing toddlers) by saying that their many ambitions meant “there would be trade-offs, and these would disappoint some of our fans.”

Pools are such an iconic Sims feature that Maxis would obviously add them to TS4 at some point, but it’s nice they’re not a paid add-on or part of an expansion pack. Their absence was not the only problem with The Sims 4, mind, going by Wot Richard Cobbett Thought. Now you’ve had a month to settle in, how are you finding it?


  1. RedViv says:

    Free stuff? From EA? What mad alternate universe have I popped into this Creepy Season?

    • DancDanc says:

      Technically, the screw-up preceded the free stuff. So in that way, it’s typical EA.

      • Koinzellgaming says:

        What screw-up are you talking about? You mean that they couldn’t finish those normal features on time? Games being delayed isn’t anything new. Atleast the few main features that were part of the original Sims got added for free. Hell not sure but the ghost thing was usually part of the halloween styled expansion if I remember correctly? So we got a bit extra with those patches.
        The screw-ups weren’t anything other than releasing a bit early.. But the main concerns got patched.

        • socrate says:

          The perfect EA consumer,remove tons of content then add it back as “Free patch”(yes its apparently a thing now free patch ffs) and you get praised as a icon of modern gaming.

          Im really curious when actually people got that stupid or when did the bar get that low,i think modern gaming being extremely widespread did alots to help this…the USA overall education system(can we still call it that really?) also probably helped in that,the atrocious thing we today call music that keep looping on the radio and end up always sounding the same way whoever sing it?(you know what im talking about),the constant “war” if you really want to call this bullying war in the first place of these president who do it pretty much for their own glory and to be remembered as true hero/american.

          I don’t know we live in a time of non-sense imo and the bar as never been lower then this and it sadly continue to be lowered and apparently people love it and will pay for more..why bother making a good game when you have modder doing 90% of the game for you right?or if you can sell all these thing as extra content or to give it as a “free patch” and be seen as a hero and icon

          • Universal Quitter says:

            Who’s praising EA about anything? Your whole spiel seems bizarre and misdirected, like the ravings of someone under a lot of stress. Or someone going through tobacco withdrawals.

            Heck, all the guy you replied to said was basically “Leaving stuff out that you didn’t finish isn’t a screw-up, especially when you give it away for free shortly after.”

          • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

            The complaint about how free patches are apparently a thing now is bizarre. Patches have always been free. It’s paid patches that are a problem.

          • Emeraude says:

            The complaint about how free patches are apparently a thing now is bizarre. Patches have always been free. It’s paid patches that are a problem.

            I think the complaint is not so much the price as the fact that they basically became mandatory to a full product.

            Patches were mostly correctives. And generally of things of secondary importance (if your bug was deemed fully crippling, you used to face the very real danger of a recall). Now ubiquitous patching solutions allows publishers to sell products that would once have been considered half-finished – or not meeting quality standards – secured in the knowledge that it’s now for some reason considered the customer’s responsibility to be able to patch it.

            For some people (among which I am I guess), the transition from games as a product, with clearly defined definite versions, and game as a service, where the product in its end-life cycle can have very little to do with the product as released (with tons of more or less hidden costs on the way) has been painful. Especially given the trade off hs not really been in favor of consumers, as good as it’s been for companies.

    • Anthile says:

      They actually give away a lot of free stuff – including Bejeweled right now.

  2. drewski says:

    Have to admit that I assumed EA would charge for pools, so I’ll give them credit for adding them back for free.

    • c-Row says:

      I wonder whether it’s genuine customer service or just PR after the public outcry of all the swimming pool lovers, though.

      • Harlander says:

        Can’t it be both?

        (Also, anyone else struggling to work the gag about Capcom’s arcade classic, Pools and Ghosts, into the conversation?)

  3. The Dark One says:

    I’m still trying to digest the fan speculation/conspiracy theory Bella Goth was abducted by aliens.

  4. Nevard says:

    This wins a little bit of goodwill back but like, it still makes it clear that they released their game before it was ready.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      They removed the store while instead focusing on better community sharing tools. Getting more career options and rewards is also something that you previously would expect in a paid DLC only.

      Not to sound apologetical or anything, but i didn’t mind their release choice. I personally didn’t care about pools or toddlers ( the latter i hope will never be patched in ), but what i played at release was stable, smooth and pleasing overall, which is something i learned not to expect from the Sims franchise.

      An early launch of this kind is something i consider acceptable. Personal preference, off course, as i agreed with their reasoning behind the performance/stability minded streamlining, and since i really enjoyed the new features, tools and stuff.

      I dig these content patches since while you might start with a bit less, you end up with much more over time.

  5. Faran says:

    “Ghosts start as NPCs going about their afterlives, but can become playable, joining your Sims household, finding a job, and even getting married. Why not?”

    Hmm I don’t actually like this idea. I find the idea of a ghost going out to find a job pretty ridiculous, not to mention having them hanging around your house watching TV and what not as if they were never dead.
    Although when has The Sims not been silly? :P

    Kudos for releasing pools for free though, but I still feel happy enough with just Sims 3.


      Considering that in previous Sims vampires, werewolves, robots, aliens, sentient plants and Bigfoot could join your family, ghosts are pretty much being unfairly singled out.

      First expansion will add gnomes, calling it now.

  6. XhomeB says:

    That’s great, fine and dandy, but what about those omnipresent, beyond pointless and annoying loading screens? Seriously, you can’t even cross the street in order to visit your neighbour without stumbling upon one.

    By the way, just bring Sims 1 Complete to GOG already, worth playing for the soundtrack alone.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:


      I had far more downtime in TS3 simply due to my habit of saving very often, which wasn’t a pleasant experience. My saves are also still not corrupted or laden with annoying errors and i don’t get insane hiccups and temporary freezes which i used to get in TS3 with my a 4.6 ghz 2600k and fast SSD.

      They traded an ambitious trainwreck for a functional and polished product that is a good platform for future content, rather than becoming an even bigger mess.

      • XhomeB says:

        They could have just built a new engine or severely improved the old one. It might have taken a while, it might have cost them a bit, but it’s not like this franchise doesn’t print money.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Indeed, but it’s not something to be taken for granted, much like GTA5 on PC is not guaranteed to be perfect despite Max Payne’s performance, since it’s far more complex than a rollercoaster like game experience.

          If GTA5 will work flawlessly it’s because they made a stellar job, and that takes a level of talent that not even money or time can guarantee.

          Maybe they could have made the same with TS4, the perfect seamless open world experience, but it is very unlikely and not necessarily ( but possible ) because they’re not using enough resources or time frames, but simply because to pull off such a thing you need a dream team of geniuses above all else.

          I’m left bitter by some design decisions too, but i can see their point. Besides, i’m not entirely sure i’d have preferred to gamble on such a thing.

  7. Dingbatwhirr says:

    Swimming pools for free? Well, colour me pleasantly surprised. I was expecting the ‘Making a Splash’ expansion pack (RRP £29.99) to be released any day now…

    Still, it does raise the question as to why they weren’t in the game from Day 1, if they were always planning to release them for free… Perhaps, perish the thought, the game wasn’t quite ready on release?

  8. mcgiants says:

    I saw a study once that showed that when a company did something wrong but then made up for it, people reported a higher satisfaction than if the company hadn’t done anything wrong in the first place. My old economics professor even told a story about a student he had who occasionally would give customers who ordered a medium rare stake a rare one, then after they took a bite offered to take it back to the cook and offered free desert for the trouble. Her tips were much larger after these incident.

    So, careful EA, Imma on to ya.

  9. johnny5 says:

    I suspect the game is not selling as well as they expected. It’s no longer number one on Amazon. EA is known for squeezing every last dime out of its customers and If they thought they could charge for pools DLC, they would.

    • nzmccorm says:

      Do you actually play The Sims? If you look at The Sims 3, a lot of features that would normally be confined to the expansion packs were actually patched into the base game for free.

      For example, a patch that coincided with Seasons added greeting cards, the ability to swim in the ocean, and the then-new attraction/flirting system that’d been done up for the in-game version of Valentine’s day. The new memory and dating systems that were hyped for Generations were also added to the base game.

      So I don’t think this is some big reaction or change in their MO. The only difference is that instead of giving it away for free to coincide with an expansion pack, they’re just giving it away.

  10. SpakAttack says:

    How about a fucking dishwasher? We’ve had those in real life since the 70’s.

    • Universal Quitter says:

      They’d probably ruin it and make them like the clothes washing machines in Sims 3. Something that only adds a time consuming chore to your sims’ lives.