While The Sims series has always allowed players’ characters to romance Sims of the same gender, players have never been able to designate sexual and romantic attractions for their Sims. An upcoming update to The Sims 4, however, is set to change that for the first time.
The feature, which appears as a menu next to the gender options, allows players to customize three aspects of their Sims’ orientations: what genders their Sim is romantically attracted to, if their Sim might be interested in exploring attraction to other genders, and what genders their Sim is sexually attracted to (or, in Sim terms, “interested in WooHoo with”).
While this feature currently only allows players to select binary genders due to technical restrictions, the team pointed out that they’ll eventually “expand this to include additional gender identities that we don’t have at this time.”
In the FAQ section of the announcement post, Maxis defended its choice to implement this feature and explained that, while these options can be ignored and Sims will behave as they always have, the menu itself is not toggleable. “While we try to give players the option to toggle certain gameplay features, LGBTQIA+ identities are a fact of life and not a toggle to be switched on and off.”
This isn’t the only feature Maxis has added to The Sims 4 to better represent the experiences of LGBTQIA+ players. In May, the team added customizable pronouns to the game. And earlier this year, the team walked back its cancellation of the Russian release of the My Wedding Stories pack, which was initially shelved due to its queer stories conflicting with Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Amelia Zollner is a freelance writer at IGN who loves all things indie and Nintendo. Outside of IGN, they’ve contributed to sites like Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun. Find them on Twitter: @ameliazollner.