How Do You Say “Binary Breaker” In Simlish?
After more than a year, fans’ wishes for a Sims pronouns update is here. The long-running simulator video game series “The Sims” broke new ground for trans and gender-diverse players on Tuesday by adding the ability to provide customizable pronouns for created characters in the series latest entry, “The Sims 4.”
According to a Maxis blog post, the update prompts players to choose the gender of their character (or Sim) when entering Create a Sim mode. Among the options are he/him, she/her and they/them, but the update also adds a custom option that allows players to enter any pronoun choice they desire. Players may change the gender of their Sims at any time and the game automatically updates to properly gender the character in in-game text.
The new system even provides sample sentences to help players enter various grammatical forms of their chosen pronouns for more accurate in-game usage.
Putting In The Work
According to Maxis, a major aspect of producing the update was researching “the importance of including customizable pronouns to be more inclusive of folks from different lived experiences.” The company contacted GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project to “learn more about how pronouns are used, particularly by trans and nonbinary people.”
“As with our vibrant community of Simmers, our development team is an extremely talented and diverse group of folks that brings various perspectives into the content that we create,” the Maxis blog read. “Through this research and through doing a deep dive into the game, we’ve learned about all of the different complex areas that binary gender was present in ‘The Sims 4.'”
The update is currently only available in English, but developers are researching how to authentically present pronouns and “properly integrate grammar rules” for additional languages. Since its release in 2014, “The Sims 4” has been translated in 18 different languages.
A Long Time Coming
Tuesday’s update comes just over a year after Maxis developers said they were looking into adding expanded pronoun options to the game during an Inside Maxis live stream. The push to alter how the game implements gender identity initially picked up steam in early 2021 thanks to a Change.org petition started by popular “The Sims” Twitch streamer Momo Misfortune. The petition garnered over 22,000 signatures and helped push Maxis to implement the new gender marker system.
After banging the drum for over a year, the trans nonbinary agender streamer got the chance to take an emotional victory lap during a stream from the It Gets Better Project’s official Twitch channel. Fighting back tears, Momo Misfortune introduced the update and spoke the update’s importance to the game’s large LGBTQ fan base.
“Last year, it took 84 days of me tweeting, creating a campaign, and I just want to say thank you to everybody. Whether you shared the campaign, whether you signed it, talked about it – look, it’s here,” they said. “We made a difference. I may have started the campaign, but we all did this together.”
“I think this just really shows how much the Sim Gurus care about our opinions and what we think is important, because this is so important,” they continued.
“I’m just thinking about how when I was younger and I started playing ‘The Sims,’ it was a way for me to safely explore my sexuality. And now that we have customizable pronoun options in the game, this is going to help so many kids be able to safely explore their identities. That’s so important because, for a lot of us queer folks, ‘The Sims’ is an escape for us to be able to be who we really are and who we wish we could be out in public, out in the open, to our friends, to our family.”
The Sims Pronouns: Previously on Towleroad
Image via Electronic Arts/Maxis