EA and Maxis wrote in their blog post on Tuesday that they have been working to add custom pronouns since last year, after receiving feedback from the Sims community. To make that feature a reality, they worked with two leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations, GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project, to research and understand how pronouns are used among transgender and non-binary players. In doing so, they learned the contexts in which binary gender pronouns were used in the game and worked to develop a means of customizing pronouns to make the gameplay experience more inclusive for everyone.
Previously, players were only able to select she/her and he/him pronouns during the Create-a-Sim phase of their gameplay, which trapped non-binary and transgender players into a binary gender system that didn’t reflect their lived experience. Now with custom pronouns, players can go beyond the binary confines and select they/them pronouns or create custom ones that are not included in the pronoun drop-down list. Pronouns can be added in their subjective, objective, possessive dependent, possessive independent, and reflexive forms.
As of this writing, the custom pronouns feature is only available in English, and it will be expanded to more languages in the future as Maxis continues to tweak the feature.
The custom pronouns feature comes three months after EA released the My Wedding Stories content pack in The Sims 4, which sparked controversy in Russia because its promotional materials featuring same-sex couples broke the country’s “gay propaganda law.” EA initially announced it would not release the content pack in Russia in compliance with the law, only to backtrack and release it there anyway after listening to concerns from players in and outside the country.
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