EA's semi-regular Sims livestream series "Behind the Sims" aired its third episode last night, capping off the Summer 2023 content season and announcing what we can expect from the game for the remainder of the year — and it turns out they weren't joking when they said we were in for a surprise for The Sims 4's 9th anniversary. The newly-announced Home Chef Hustle DLC will be the first "stuff pack" for the game since January 2021, and many players had long since assumed that the pack type had been quietly retired in favour of the controversial micro-DLC "kits".
Stuff packs retail for £9/$10 each, which is roughly double what a kit costs. After lukewarm reception to earlier Sims 4 stuff packs, more recent releases such as Tiny Living, Nifty Knitting, and Paranormal Stuff had easily added more than twice the content of a kit. Hence why many assumed we wouldn't be seeing another one: they were starting to feel more like the mid-priced game packs (which go for £18/$20 each), yet still cost half as much, all while making kits look bad by comparison.
The reveal of The Sims 4 Home Chef Hustle Stuff wasn't the only surprising news to come out of this episode of Behind the Sims. The September-December 2023 season, titled "Hustle and Bustle", will also include a new full expansion pack (title and theme TBC) — most players were calling that we'd already had our fill this year, following the release of Growing Together in March and Horse Ranch in July.
Other announcements from the episode include a welcome overhaul of The Sims 4's cooking systems, which will complement the Home Chef Hustle DLC but be made free as part of a regular base game update. There's also some official Sims physical merch in the works for a Christmas period release, and honestly I can't believe it's taken them 23 years to make that a thing.
Finally, there was some tantalising news about Project Rene (a.k.a. The Sims 5). No new footage was shown this time, but Lyndsay Pearson — The Sims' VP of Franchise Creative — popped in to confirm that the base game will be free-to-play from launch, which we basically already knew. But she also announced that development will continue on The Sims 4 for the foreseeable future, and that the plan is to continue it alongside Project Rene once the latter releases.
This last piece of information raises a lot of questions — as does the assertion that Project Rene and TS4 will be just two of multiple Sims titles running concurrently. The sensible guess here is that they're referring to the continuation of The Sims Mobile and The Sims Freeplay, but who knows, maybe there's something else in the works entirely? They're definitely having too much fun eking out this drip marketing to tell us anything more for now.
The Sims 4 Home Chef Hustle Stuff Pack doesn't have a release date yet, but the gameplay trailer is due to premiere on September 14th (tomorrow at the time of writing) on the official The Sims YouTube Channel.