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Sims 4 Removes Gender Restrictions on Clothing, Hairstyles, and Other Character Customizations

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For the first time in The Sims‘ 16 years, players now have access to a full range of customization options in “create-a-Sim” mode, regardless of a Sims’ gender.

NBC reports that the free update to Sims 4 available Thursday will also allow Sims of all genders to have whatever voice, body type, or walking style their creator chooses. The update will also impact Sims 4 add-ons and expansions. Altogether, 700 content options previously restricted by gender will now be available for all Sims. PC Gamer writes that the gender symbols that previously appeared in the Sim gallery have been removed, and that Sims will now be able to change gender at any time.

Electronic Arts said in a statement that the changes are part of a push to “make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims’ gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more.”

Lead producer Lyndsay Pearson told The Verge that developers consulted with GLAAD to make sure the changes were inclusive and respectful. Pearson says “the update gives players more ways to reflect the world around them, or in their imaginations, creating the Sims and the stories they want,” and that “our players are constantly engaged in a conversation with us about The Sims, and they’re always requesting more of everything. We always have an incredibly long list of things we want to add to the game, and so much of that list comes directly from player feedback. In this case, players have been asking why certain hairstyles, clothing, and other options were limited to one gender or the other… We also saw it as an awesome chance to continue to nurture what’s always been an inclusive environment for all our players.”

The Sims has always been relatively progressive, allowing same-gender relationships since its inception and introducing the option for same-gender Sims to get hitched starting with Sims 2. As Autostraddle’s KaeLynn wrote in a piece exploring her own personal connection with the game, The Sims allowed many LGBTQIA people who grew up with the game to explore their sexuality and identity in ways that might not have been available or safe for them in real life. When Sims 4 was first introduced, players were unable to add words like “queer” “transgender” “gay” or “homosexual” to character descriptions, but Electronic Arts quickly responded and removed the filter.

Now, it’s great to see them aiming to make the game more inclusive for trans and non-binary folks, as well as players who were just tired of the arbitrary restrictions on customization options. What do you think of these changes?

(image via EA)

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