The Sims 4 finally introduces sexuality customisation: ‘These are steps in a journey that we are still mapping out’
After its latest update, The Sims 4 will finally allow players to customise the sexual orientation of their Sims, but developers still have a way to go for full LGBTQ+ inclusion.
On 28 July, gaming giant EA will release the latest expansion pack for The Sims 4, titled High School Years.
But on the same day, a free update will also be released allowing players to customise their Sims’ sexual orientation for the very first time.
As of right now, every Sim can be romantically and sexually attracted to Sims of any gender.
The Sims 4 developers worked with with GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project to create the feature, and while creating a Sim, players will now be able to select options for romantic attraction, sexual attraction, and decide if their Sim is still exploring their sexuality.
During gameplay, Sims who are not exploring will “firmly reject advances from genders they aren’t interested in”, while those who are still figuring things out can develop and change.
“As your Sim experiences romantic interactions, they may find themselves in a very different place than where they started,” developers said.
Players can also choose not to select any options for romantic or sexual attraction, meaning that aromantic and asexual Sims can also be included in the game.
However, when selecting who your Sim is or is not attracted to, gender options remain binary. This year, the game introduced pronouns for Sims, but non-binary gender options are not yet a reality.
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SimGuruJessica, the design lead for The Sims 4 High School Years expansion pack, said in a media release: “As a team, we hold creativity, discovery, inclusivity and play as core values and strive every day to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion for our people and community. With that in mind, we’re delighted to bring the sexual orientation feature to all Simmers.
“Between this update and the recent pronouns update, we’re taking several strides forward into being a game that respects and celebrates the nuance and colour of everyday life.
“It is important to acknowledge that these are steps in a journey that we are still mapping out. There is much further to go.”
She said that a non-binary gender option had not yet been introduced because of the “technical limitations” of the eight-year-old game, and continued: “We hope that we’ve shown our commitment to improving representation of gender identities with features such as gender customisation, which allows you to modify physical frame, clothing preferences, pregnancy and toilet use options.
“We look at the pronouns update as another important step toward better representation of non-binary genders, but we also acknowledge that pronouns are not the same thing as gender identities… It’s a journey still in progress, with many more steps to go.
“Proper mechanical systems to fully support non-binary Sims is another step in that journey.”