Complete Suggestion for Culture as a Skill/Trait
So after seeing that different ethnicities and cultures were confirmed for Paralives I was very excited, but I realized that while the Sims 4 has something similar, it is also missing a really big factor that actually adds impact to these differences. It is especially pronounced in the City Living expansion. Everyone celebrates every culture and as a result no one really celebrates any one culture. That may sound good in theory, but it actually greatly devalues some of the cultural diversity of our planet and makes it harder to role play the discovery, difficulties, and joys of cultural differences.
So here is my suggestion: Have Parafolk pick one or two cultures in the character creator, then have the ability to discover, learn, and improve their knowledge of other cultures like one would skills during the development of the normal game.
So for example: Maybe your Parafolk family picks the East Asian culture trait in the character creator. As a result they by default get the ability to eat with chopsticks, bow when greeting, and the starter cooking recipes are all stock Asian food like Ramen (JP), Kimchi (KR), Dumplings (CH), and Banh Mi (VI). If the family only knows this culture they will only be able to eat with chopsticks, only be able to greet with bowing, and only be able to cook Asian dishes.
But if little Suzuki Taro makes friends who have the American culture trait, reads books about American Culture, or Researches American Culture on the internet. He can gradually start to build up a skill in American Culture. With this skill he will start to have a random percentage chance to shake hands with people who have the American Culture trait (Which may give a small boost to the initial relationship progress), will start to eat American style food with a knife and fork (Which may improve the speed at which they can eat), and may unlock the ability to cook American dishes (that were previously locked). Children who grow up with parents of two cultures may start out with two cultures natively.
If this is all the culture mechanic is, this would still be an amazing improvement over the Sims. I don’t think it would require a huge amount of extra work either, especially if you only include a couple blob cultures like American, Latin, European, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African.
But of course you could do much more, you could include a language mechanic that makes it where it is harder to communicate with those that don’t have the same culture type. You don’t need a separate language skill, you could just make it where the higher Culture skill they have of that specific culture, the more normally communication occurs. Perhaps there is like a 25% chance of misunderstanding when conversing between two differently cultured sims that results in a negative moodlet and small decrease in relationship, but the higher your culture skill the less of a chance there is of this occurring. This is not a requirement though, just an extra feature that would appeal to the many of those who have dealt with language barriers and cross cultural relationships.
If this idea sounds interesting to people please let me know! 🙂