The Sims 4 is going further with its inclusive gender system

Maxis is trying to make every player feel at home when they play The Sims 4. The studio has strived for diversity in the past and is now including several character customization options that will allow for an inclusive gender system. But EA Maxis Senior Producer Michael Duke wants to go even further in this regard. Either by time or technical constraints, many things are yet to be covered to make sure that “everyone can come into this game and create themselves.”

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Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Duke expresses his pride for The Sims 4’s previous achievements but wants to do more for diversity and inclusion. However, everything must be treated in a very respectful way and never as a joke.

“When we did support for non-binary gender, we had a lot of conversations with GLAAD about the right way to represent that,” he said. “How do we do it in a way that feels inclusive and welcoming and not dictating our viewpoint? It’s not about what we believe. It’s about encompassing how our players want to tell their story.”

A recent addition of Pride flags to the game ended up angering another part of The Sims 4 community as they protested over the exclusion of a lesbian Pride flag. While aiming for diversity, Maxis ended up alienating part of the player base, but quickly fixed the oversight.

Recently, GLAAD praised Maxis for its redesigned box art showcasing “the first-ever LGBTQ couple in cover art for a game from a major studio.” This is just another step for a game that is aiming to support non-binary gender choices, but it looks like there is a lot of work to be done:

“A lot of care goes into these, and it’s the reason we can’t add everything at once,” Duke said. “And that may be part of why we don’t see a lot of people doing this, because it’s not easy.”

Very few games are pushing for this kind of non-binary gender system, with Cyberpunk 2077 being one of those – two games that couldn’t be more different.