Prepare for cuteness overload: The Sims 4 is having puppies

Prepare to have your cute glands milked until they're withered husks, as The Sims 4 is about to hear the pitter-patter of tiny, furry feet. New expansion Cats & Dogs is bringing the series' most important feature back: pets. Fancy cat breeds, your favorite dog breeds, a new Create A Pet tool and - because this is The Sims - foxes and raccoons. 

With the addition of animals comes the new veterinarian career option, and a new coastal town called Brindleton Bay. In case you're still wondering if this is enough to pull you back into your Sims addiction, allow me to point out the CORGI IN A TUXEDO in the trailer.

The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs expansion pack is coming to PC and Mac on November 10. We spoke to Grant Rodiek, producer on The Sims 4, to get more details on the massive update to the game.

GamesRadar+: Have pets been something that fans have been asking to see return to Sims?
Grant Rodiek:
Let me put it this way: before we even launched the base game, fans were asking for this expansion. Dogs and cats are the most requested feature in every Sims life cycle and it is our single biggest challenge as a studio, for a couple reasons:

One, we have to add two new species, and if you look 'under the hood', it's actually five: puppies, kittens, small dogs, large dogs, cats. This means we have to do, in some cases, five times the animation we normally do, not to mention we need to animate every permutation of child to puppy, adult to puppy, and so forth (when you think about socials). Basically, from a technical perspective, it requires a massive update to the engine that no other expansion requires.

Two, people are very passionate about pets. Cats and dogs are so meaningful to people's lives, and they are very focused on what they can do in our game.

What is it about cats and dogs that make them such a big part of The Sims for players?
The Sims is about life, and dogs and cats are such a fundamental part of so many people's lives. I simply cannot imagine not having a dog. Look at the affection people have for Twitter feeds like WeRateDogs, or how many cats are on Instagram. Cats and dogs integrate into our Sims' routines, change their lives, make them happier, give them challenges, and fulfill that missing hole in their hearts. It's just a foundational part of being human and cats and dogs scratches that itch in a big way.

How will this Sims 4 expansion build on what we saw in Sims 3?
Firstly, the new Create a Pet tool is amazing. It is arguably the best creative tool we have ever made. It is so simple to choose a breed, create mix breeds, paint spots, use our stencil tool, and for the first time ever, add pet clothing (shark fins, helmets, and more). Secondly, we added the ability for Sims to be veterinarians; you can purchase, design, and set up a veterinarian clinic. You can hire staff, train them, and your Sims and their family can be veterinarians. As you build your skills, you'll be able to diagnose symptoms, treat pets, and even conduct surgery. [As for the pets themselves,] we wanted them to feel, look, and act like living, breathing household pets. They have routines, quirks, and more nuanced behavior. You'll see cats climb on almost every surface in your house and glare at dogs from the top of the refrigerator. Dogs will sneak on the couch to sleep upside down and snore at night. 

How do you pick what breeds will be included?
I think months of my life were spent on this! Firstly, we looked at what we made in the past. We then looked at things like most popular breeds (Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Siamese), looked at breeds we'd be able to make by combining parts for other breeds (things like ears, nose shapes, and more), and finally, we looked at really distinctive breeds that were too charming to miss (like the Sphynx and the Bull Terrier). We also included some fun things like raccoons and foxes. There's such a massive assortment.

Do you find people treat their Sim pets better than their actual Sims
Generally, yes, because we don't let players do terrible things to their cats and dogs, toddlers, and young children. It's just too cruel! It's difficult to be mean to your Sim's cute kittens and puppers. They're just so adorable and lifelike.

Most importantly: are there French Bulldogs?
Absolutely! It would have been impossible to not ship them. They're just too adorable. I think of them as gargoyle pigs. They look just like them in game, too. We have all the fur patterns, those cute ears, that little wrinkled face. You're going to squeal, I promise.

Rachel Weber
Managing Editor, US

Rachel Weber is the US Managing Editor of GamesRadar+ and lives in Brooklyn, New York. She joined GamesRadar+ in 2017, revitalizing the news coverage and building new processes and strategies for the US team.