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Sims 4, the social simulation game from Electronic Arts will soon let players pick their sexual orientation. Developer Maxis confirmed in a company blog post that the new feature will become available with the next base game update. The patch will be included as a free download, with the High School Years expansion pack, which is set to debut at the end of this month, July 2022. Players, however, are not required to purchase the pack, as the feature is merely included with the new update and can be accessed independently.
Same-sex relationships have been a long-running feature in The Sims series, but the upcoming update will let players access a series of toggles, allowing them to pick their sexual interests. These parameters can be accessed right at the beginning when the player creates their virtual character. You could cycle between genders, romantic attractions, and what gender you would like to explore casual sex with.
Any Sim whose gender does not match your character’s attraction settings will get instantly rejected when trying to make romantic advances. Furthermore, the studio is hard at work, trying to include additional gender identities where more such parameters will be applicable.
“I understand that there will be concerns here around the initial options being gender binary. Mechanically, non-binary Sims don’t yet exist in TS4. While we made great progress in representing non-binary Sims with the pronouns update, we acknowledge that pronouns are not the same thing as gender identities. We recognize that we still have a ways to go in this regard,” says SimGuruJessica, design lead, The Sims 4 High School Expansion Pack.
The update also includes setting controls, which decide whether your Sim’s sexual orientation can shift through gameplay. The developers are exploring two major stories in this setting. One is for characters that have their minds hard set on what gender they are attracted to. Sims set to ‘No’ for exploring will not shift orientation through gameplay and will reject any advances from genders they are not interested in.
On the other hand, if the exploring toggle is set to ‘Yes,’ the initial settings will change throughout gameplay based on your Sim’s interactions in the world. “As your Sim experiences romantic interactions, they may find themselves in a very different place than where they started.” Similarly, if the character is asexual, the player can leave all boxes unchecked.
Sexual Orientation can also be modified mid-game by interacting with a mirror or dresser, and if not, your Sim will continue living in the world as they did before the update launch. Additionally, the blog post also details that the feature cannot be turned off, as “LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.”
Earlier this year, developer Maxis took a stand against the Russian government’s anti-gay policies by refusing to release its Wedding expansion pack. The DLC allowed players to plan out and host their dream wedding – including same-sex marriage. According to the Russian Federation law introduced in 2013, the government forbids any content presenting homosexuality to individuals aged below 18. Back in 2014, the game was also rated as 18+, prohibiting any representation of gay relationships to minors.