Next time you fire up The Sims 4, you’ll be able to make your characters a little more complex. Maxis has expanded the game’s gender customisation options, which means your female character can wear a “male” three-piece suit, your male character can wear high heels, and everybody can wear as much jewellery and makeup as they want. For a game that was already pretty closely emulating “real life”, this is an impressive step.
There were more than 700 pieces of content that were only available to either male or female Sims, but this week’s update has opened the floodgates, meaning that everything is open to everybody, no matter their initial gender selection. And yes, the change is applied not only to The Sims 4, but all of the game’s DLC.
For the first time, you’ll be able to customize your Sims without the gender boundaries previously set in place. This means you can now create Sims with any type of physique, walk style, and tone of voice you choose – regardless of their gender.
The changes were in direct response to fan feedback, with producers saying they’ve been asking for years why certain options were only available for either male or female characters. It might sound like a relatively simple tweak, but the studio’s been working behind the scenes for more than a year to get this right, because it doesn’t just involve clothes. Maxis developers reworked hundreds of pieces of content, including vocal tones, walking animations, hairstyles and accessories, so that they could work with either gender. The studio also worked closely with American group LGBT group GLAAD to make sure all changes were respectful.
Mind you, it’s not the first game to make a change like this. Sunset Overdrive included gender fluid options (everything in the game fit every body type, regardless of gender), but it’s great to see something as big as The Sims pick up the torch.
The Sims is made by a diverse team for a diverse audience, and it’s really important to us that players are able to be creative and express themselves through our games. We want 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.
Part of what makes The Sims franchise so successful is the ability for gamers to make themselves in the game (or their ideal version of themselves). The inclusion of more flexible gender options mean that more people can do this, and live out their virtual lives inside the game.
The update for The Sims 4 is out now for PC, completely free, and will install next time you update the game. Maxis is already hinting that other major changes are on the way for the two-year old game.