Maxis have given some new details on their commitment to fixing dark skin tones in The Sims 4. An October update will address existing graphical issues with darker skin tones while a later update in December will add one hundred new skin swatches and additional customization controls for Create-A-Sim.
"As we work on expanding skin tone variety, in this first step, we’ll be improving the blotchy artifacts and ashy appearance of darker skin tones on mid and high spec machines," Maxis say, noting that the changes will, at that time, only be visible to those with "Uncompressed Sim Textures" enabled in their game options.
A bigger change for Create-A-Sim is coming in December. Maxis will be adding "at least a hundred new skin tone swatches in cool, neutral, and warm tones with a particular emphasis on darker skin tones," they say. That's quite a leap from the 35 skin swatches I count in my game currently. Beyond that, all skin swatches will be getting a slider to lighten or darken them. Both October and December's updates will also each include changes to two base game hairstyles.
Maxis are also giving attention to makeup, which players had pointed out as an area of improvement specifically for Sims with darker skin. "We’ll also be adding new sliders for makeup in Create-A-Sim mode. The updated customization options will offer an entirely new level of control of your Sim’s appearance so they can look as flawless as possible."
Although they've not given any details yet, Maxis say they'll also be sharing information at a later date on how they've involved expertise from outside the studio "including talented and diverse community members, to make sure we get this right."
“We realize there isn’t one single fix for representation and we’re dedicating people to ongoing commitments to continue improvement over the long term,” executive producer Lyndsay Pearson said last month. It's good to see that they've already planned out some substantial changes.