For many people, video games are a departure from - often depressing - reality. Some players are looking for adventures, others challenges, and while others - the opportunity to be themselves, which society takes away from them. In general, developers are aware of this, but not all make use of this knowledge. The proud exception is the EA Maxis studio, that is, the creators of The Sims 4.
The game already on the release - that is in 2014 - offered a variety of skin tones, body sizes and the possibility of making same gender marriages. By developing it for the next eight years, the developers have decided to go not one step, but many long jumps further; so that each player - regardless of gender, race or religion - could "feel at home" in it.
What was changed? We presented them in the following graphic.
Imagine there’s no…
The most important and biggest change seems to be the first update which basically removed the biological boundaries between the Sims. It was implemented on June 2, 2016, since June is LGBT Pride Month - it was chosen to commemorate the riots in Stonewall in 1969. Players were able to choose the Sims' body type, clothing preferences, how they use toilets, and also determine whether the Sim - regardless of gender - will be able to get pregnant or impregnate someone. In 2022, to celebrate the Pride Month, the devs have released, e.g. the "Proud Parent" scenario as well as additional flags.
Be yourself is all that you can do
As for later The Sims 4 updates, we can distinguish, perhaps, only three equally important ones. So there are not too many of them, but what matters here is not the quantity, but the content.
The first of them - from June 2019 - introduced colorful flags and clothes with "It Gets Better" written on them and expanded the options of creating gender-neutral toilets. In the second, the developers has added dozens of extra skin tones for Sims. The main element of the last is adding custom pronouns ("he/him", "she/her", non-binary forms such as "they/them" and "proper pronouns"). For now they are available only in English, but the devs are also planning other languages.
The content described in this article is intended to allow The Sims 4 players find their favorite version of themselves - often one that they are not able or do not have the courage to be in reality. This is where the in-game costumes come into play, to make celebrating Diwali, Hindu festival of lights, more attractive.
In addition, the developers have repeatedly encouraged the community to experiment in creating Sims. A great example of this is the "Find Yourself" campaign, co-created with popular influencer Bretman Rock. In a series of funny videos, he showed a number of his different selves living together in the same house as a happy family. This was to inspire players to accept themselves, as well as share their creations in The Sims 4.
Forever trusting who we are
In the meantime, The Sims 4 has wen through minor changes to allow players to express themselves more fully. One of them was adding many types of hairstyles (e.g. with curly hair - previously this was difficult due to technical limitations) and increased their color palettes. The developers have also added a lot of clothes - inspired by different cultures and religions, including Islam - types of makeup or manicure and pedicure patterns.
Over time, there were more and more NPCs, which could be classified as part of the LGBT+ community. In addition, players have gained the ability to customize the way their Sims move, specify their character traits, preferences (Like/Dislike) and profession. Children and animals could appear in their characters' houses - all to better express themselves in the game.
Slowly but surely
The next element desired by community are wheelchairs and other mobility items. EA Maxis has assured that they are working on this content. If anything can be blamed on the developer, it is that we have to wait a little too long for this type of new content. For example - first messages about custom pronouns appeared more than a year before they were added to the game. Better late than never.