The studio first announced that it was investigating options of promoting inclusivity in The Sims 4 with customisable pronouns in May 2021. This spurred a viral online petition by the dedicated The Sims community, calling on Maxis and publisher Electronic Arts to add customisable pronouns to the game.
Customisable pronouns coming in future update
The Sims 4 producer John Faciane explained that the feature is the studio's way of creating an inclusive experience for their players in-game. Furthermore, this feature will introduce broader representation for the LGBTQI+ community and enhance freedom of expression for all its players.
"In our world today, we believe that gender neutrality plays a critical part in working towards a fully inclusive society. This Sims continues to evolve, and we as a team continue to learn and work on making our game more inclusive, step by step, and day by day," Faciane said.
While the community has responded well to the studio's transparency of the feature's inclusion, they have noted it presents a new set of challenges. One of the challenges Maxix faces is that The Sims 4 supports 18 different languages with their subtleties and nuances regarding pronouns.
Additionally, they face various cultural issues in multiple countries that haven't included pronouns in their lexicon. Other countries, including Germany and Brazil that have yet to accept LGBTQI+ language officially, have adopted them within their communities.
According to EA's localisation lead Veronica Morales, there is a third challenge with implementing pronouns to The Sims 4.
Regarding regions with tougher legislatures on the use of LGBTQI+ language, it "can be quite challenging" as it requires a different approach that "has to sound natural in context and it has to feel real to the players and, at the same time, respectful."
The studio shared in-game footage of how the feature will work using the modified version of the "Create-A-Sim" mechanic. The option to choose your character pronouns can be found in the top left side of the screen with a drop-down box, giving players opportunities to select the pronoun they identify.
In conclusion, the studio will be introducing in-game privacy filters to ensure that these customisable pronouns do not get abused. These filters will additionally protect their players, thus creating a Sim experience that is "safe and fun."
Maxis have yet to provide a timeline of when the feature will be available for The Sims 4. We will continue to update the article with the latest news and updates from the developer once we're close to the launch of this feature.
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Featured image courtesy of Maxis / Electronic Arts.