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Sims 4 will now let players choose their character’s sexual orientation

“LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off," EA states

By Emily Maskell

Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: EA

The Sims 4 is getting a free update as part of the game’s upcoming teen-focused High School Years expansion pack that will support straight, gay and bi Sims, as well as those who are asexual or aromantic. 

The expansion update introduces three new details to fill in inside Create-a-Sim mode: This Sim is romantically attracted to… (with ‘Men’ or ‘Women’, ‘Both’ or ‘None’ as options), This Sim is exploring romantically (with ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as options) and This Sim is interested in Mess Around with… (with ‘Men’, ‘Women’ and ‘None’ as options).

As the game currently is, Sims can flirt and engage romantically with any Sim, regardless of gender, but the new update will see a Sim’s sexual orientation determine how they will respond to advances from another Sim.

For example, if the ‘Mess Around’ question is left blank the character will be asexual. 

Jessica Croft, the lead designer on this new pack, shared details of the new update in a blog post for EA. She writes that this update is led by the team’s desire for “diversity, equity, and inclusion for our people and community.”

A previous Sims 4 update included customisable pronouns for Sims – which comprised of ‘They/Them,’ ‘She/Her,’ ‘He/Him,’ and ‘Custom Pronouns’ options – but this latest update sees only two gender options for a Sims attraction, Croft says this is due to “technical limitations.”

“Mechanically, non binary Sims don’t yet exist in TS4,” she explains. “You still have to make a binary gender selection for your Sim at creation, regardless of pronoun settings.”

She adds: “TS4 is 8 years old at this point, and reliant on systems that were originally architected with a gender binary in mind.”

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Croft calls the LGBTQIA+ inclusion in The Sims as “a journey still in progress, with many more steps to go” and emphasises hopes that further updates can support non-binary Sims.

For this update, Croft details how the EA team worked extensively with GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project to ensure they “captured the widest possible range of viewpoints on how to approach this feature in a manner that respects and elevates” the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Players will not be able to turn this feature off because, as Croft states “LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.”

The free update containing these sexual orientation changes will be released for the base game alongside the High School Years expansion pack on 28 July.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.