The Sims 4 removes gender barriers for characters

The Sims now enables players to create characters with any type of physique, walk style, and voice, and to change their gender and allow same-sex relationships

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 June, 2016, 10:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 June, 2016, 10:00pm

The creators of The Sims are opening up gender customisation options for the first time.

The Sims publisher Electronic Arts and developer Maxis have just updated The Sims 4 by removing gender boundaries, allowing players to create Sims with any type of physique, walking style or voice.

The Sims 4 and earlier instalments in the 16-year-old series previously restricted specific clothing, hair styles and other aesthetic options to either male or female characters.

EA and Maxis say more than 700 pieces of content previously available to only male or female Sims will now be accessible regardless of gender in The Sims 4 and its various expansion packs.

The studio says in a statement it wants to “make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sim’s gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more”.

While previous editions of The Sims have featured character customisation restrictions based on gender, users have unofficially modified the PC game over the years to remove such barriers.

The Sims 4 executive producer Rachel Franklin says that the developers have been working for more than a year on the update. She notes that “female Sims can wear sharp men’s suits like Ellen (DeGeneres), and male Sims can wear heels like Prince”.

Franklin also says players can now change their Sims’ sex at any time and specify whether they can reproduce with other characters. She adds Maxis worked with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group Glaad on the update, including following a suggestion to remove gender symbols associated with characters in the game’s gallery.

The franchise has included same-sex relationship options since its 2000 debut, although gamers who desired virtual nuptials for their Sims of the same sex had to wait until the release of The Sims 3 in 2009.

The gaming medium rarely depicts or invites users to create transgender characters. The fantasy role-playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition from EA and developer BioWare notably featured a transgender male character named Krem in 2014.