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‘The Sims 4’ now lets players choose their Sims’ pronouns

(Washington Post illustration; EA)
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“The Sims 4” just received a new update that adds customizable pronouns, the latest step by developer Maxis toward inclusivity so that more players can see themselves in their Sims.

In “Create-A-Sim,” “The Sims 4′s” character creation tool, players can now choose from preset pronouns — she/her, he/him or they/them — or input custom ones for their Sims. Given the intricacies of English grammar, that last option requires a bit of extra work. Players that create custom pronouns will have to input different forms, including subjective, objective, possessive dependent, possessive independent and reflexive. If that triggered some long-forgotten, school age conjugation lessons, don’t worry: The game includes example sentences for reference. It then automatically updates to use the correct pronouns where applicable.

These pronoun options are only available in English for now, but there are plans to expand the feature to all 18 languages currently featured in “The Sims 4,” according to a Tuesday announcement from publisher Electronic Arts.

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Players got their first look at the long-awaited feature in January after Maxis announced last year it would begin tackling how to bring customizable pronouns to the game. Maxis collaborated with LGBTQ advocacy groups It Gets Better Project and GLAAD to determine how best to incorporate the feature. “The Sims 4” producer John “SimGuruDuck” Faciane wrote about the partnership in a post detailing the update, which he called “a step in the direction of a more inclusive experience for Simmers.”

Previously, “The Sims 4” assigned pronouns based on a binary system — whether a player designated a Sim as male (he/him) or female (she/her) in Create-A-Sim. Since the game’s initial release in 2014, Maxis has loosened gender restrictions, incorporating customization options that let players choose whether their Sim wears masculine or feminine clothing, has a certain body type or can get pregnant regardless of their initial gender selection.

The new feature has been fully tested, but players may still come across some wonkiness like incorrect conjugations or the wrong pronoun showing up, which they’re encouraged to flag and report.

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“While this update isn’t the be-all end-all of representation of nonbinary and other gender diverse folks, we strongly feel that it’s important for us to approach better inclusivity over time as we figure out ways to work within the limitations of our code,” Faciane added.

“The Sims 4” still includes gendered language like “mother” and “father” or “policeman” and “policewoman.” That could change, though, as EA plans to broaden the game’s representation moving forward.

“Making ‘The Sims 4’ more inclusive of gender neutrality is an ongoing learning and development process for us and we will continue to update this feature over time,” EA wrote.

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