the sims, electronic arts, gaming, genderqueer

Genderqueer Sims And Bisexual Assassins: How Games Are Getting Even More Inclusive

Why we’re covering this: We love inclusive video games.

This Thursday, Electronic Arts released a free update to The Sims 4 that removes restrictions on gender customization options. Previously, the Sims in the life-simulation game were blocked from choosing clothing, hairstyles and accessories based on the gender of the Sim — but now, all options are available. Genderqueer Sims for the win!

This isn’t the first step The Sims has made for equality — since the beginning of the series in the year 1999, players have been able to “WooHoo”, or have intercourse, with Sims of any gender.

Luckily, casual games like The Sims aren’t the only venue for inclusivity. Bethesda’s upcoming action-adventure title Dishonored 2 will feature gay and bi characters — which makes sense as the number of people disclosing same-sex sexual relationships has doubled over the last 24 years.

There has been some pushback from GamerGaters with game creators’ decision to make gaming more inclusive — our favorite example is from Beamdog, the studio behind Baldur’s Gate. When a recent expansion to that game, Siege of Dragonspear, included Mizhena, a trans woman as a supporting character, GamerGate threatened and harassed the developers, especially the writer of the expansion, Amber Scott, over “political correctness” and “SJW pandering.” They attacked Scott and implied they’d get her fired. The job threat was a reference to Alison Rapp, the former Nintendo employee GamerGate targeted over the removal of a breast-size customization option from the game Xenoblade Chronicles X — which she had nothing to do with — until she lost her job.

The next day, the CEO of Beamdog, Trent Oster, wrote a wonderfully snarky response, stating that they appreciated the feedback, particularly about the trans character — and they agreed they could have handled it better. So, in a future game, Mizhena will get more character development than just one line revealing her trans-ness, and she’ll become a more central character.

We love that gaming is becoming more inclusive — and we hope this decision helps players explore themselves as much as the magical lands video games let us into.

(Featured image via Electronic Arts)