You’re free to be anyone you want to be — both offline, and now, online as well. The popular video game The Sims has decided to promote gender fluidity and self-actualization by recently eliminating any and all obstacles to complete gender customization.
In a free update to The Sims 4, publisher Electronic Arts and developer Maxis noted that players would be able to “create Sims with any type of physique, walk style, or voice.” This is a distinct departure from over a decade and a half of Sims’ history, in which characters were restricted by specific clothing, hair styles, and other styling options unique to male or female characters. But now, more than 700 pieces of content that were previously exclusive to either male or female Sims are available to anyone and everyone.
In a statement, Electronic Arts noted that its new move sought 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.”
In an email to The Associated Press, The Sims 4 executive producer Rachel Franklin added that the update, over a year in the making, would allow “female Sims [to] wear sharp men’s suits like Ellen (DeGeneres), and male Sims [to] wear heels like Prince.”
Increasingly, video games have begun to reflect the diversity of its user base. As the New York Times points out, “Fallout 2” and “Fable” have both allowed for same-sex marriage between characters, and games like “Mass Effect” and “Dragon Age” brought LGBT characters onto the scene. And just a few years ago, “The Last of Us” followed the adventures of a gay teenage lead character.
“It has always been important to us to provide our players with powerful ways to express themselves and tell a wide range of stories — whether they’re customizing their Sims’ age, skin color, or gender,” added Franklin.