The Sims 4 is taking another step in LGBTQ representation and gameplay.
In preparation for the release of the game’s latest expansion pack, The Sims 4: High School Years, a gameplay update was released on July 28. This update includes new features like more body hair options, “wants” and “fears,” and sexual orientation customization.
Before this update, every sim could be romantically and sexually attracted to Sims of any gender. All a player had to do was make their playable sim interact with other sim and flirt with them. The other stim would then always reciprocate with interest.
But now, this new update will allow players to select options for romantic attraction, sexual attraction, and decide if their Sim is still exploring their sexuality. When Sims are not exploring their sexuality, they will “firmly reject advances from genders they aren’t interested in.”
“As your Sim experiences romantic interactions, they may find themselves in a very different place than where they started,” developers said.
In addition, players have the option to create sims that are aromantic and asexual. Plus, players can now create friends-with-benefits or “WooHoo Partners.”
“To better reflect Aromantic Sims and a greater variety of lifestyles, we’ve added the ability for young adult Sims and older, to ask close friends to be WooHoo Partners,” as The Sims 4 High School Years lead designer SimGuruJessica explained. “If they accept, you can now perform WooHoo without the romance prerequisites. Stress on the ‘If they accept’ part, as with many socials of this nature, it can fail and lead to an awkward conversation afterward.”
The Sims 4 developers worked with GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project to create this feature. And this isn’t the first time they worked with those organizations.The Sims franchise has been around for decades. Since the first game in 2000, gaymers have been given the option to have same-sex relationships.
Fast forward to The Sims 4 and you’ll see that gaymers can play with the gender expression of their characters. In 2018, EA Games announced that clothing would not be limited by gender. Plus, sims could access walks, body frames, vocal ranges, whether they sit or stand when using the toilet, and many other features previously blocked by gender. Then earlier this year, pronouns were introduced to the game.
Despite all of that progress, there’s still room for improvement. SimGuruJessica noted in the update announcement that current technical limitations are prohibiting developers from creating true non-binary options.
She said, “As a team, we hold creativity, discovery, inclusivity and play as core values and strive every day to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion for our people and community. With that in mind, we’re delighted to bring the sexual orientation feature to all Simmers.”
“Between this update and the recent pronouns update, we’re taking several strides forward into being a game that respects and celebrates the nuance and colour of everyday life,” the developer added. “It is important to acknowledge that these are steps in a journey that we are still mapping out. There is much further to go.”