Sims customization no longer locked according to gender

By decoupling hair, clothing and other Sim features from gender, Maxis has opened up more than 700 new assets to players.

A new update to The Sims 4 removes gender as an immutable feature from most of a Sim's looks and behavior. Now, when players create or edit a Sim, they are able to select on a case-by-case basis the gender expression of their characters, from the types of clothing and hairstyles available to them to whether they stand or sit down to pee.

It's a no-brainer move from Sims developer Maxis, not only given parent company Electronic Arts's express support for LGBTIQA causes in recent years, but also because this style of gameplay experimentation has been a part of the series from the beginning. Maxis employees have gone on record, for instance, saying that same-sex relationships were allowed in the first Sims because it was easier to leave them in than to code them out. That story may be apocryphal, but triple-A games have felt its ripple effects ever since.

Maxis says this recent move with The Sims 4 is to "make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims's gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more." Here's a look at the new in-game menu (via Twitter user Zoey Proasheck):

It's great to see how the language in this menu avoids calling a Sim "male" or "female" based on selectable characteristics, but I do wish it further avoided calling a Sim's body type "masculine" or "feminine." That still sort of locks it down into a gender binary and seems at cross purposes with the rest of what this update is doing. If only something like the Saints Row 2 gender slider were an option...

(h/t Eurogamer.)