'The Sims' Just Took a Huge Step for Equality

June 2nd 2016

Lucy Tiven

On Thursday, Electronic Arts and developer Maxis released a groundbreaking update to "The Sims 4."

The update removes gender symbols from the game's Create-A-Sim menu — the part of the game where you create and customize characters, and arguably it's most enjoyable feature — and removes the gender barrier that previously designated certain physical characteristics and mannerisms to male or female characters only, the Associated Press reported.

“The Sims has always been this magical sandbox where you get to create the Sim that you want,” executive producer of "The Sims 4" Rachel Franklin told BuzzFeed News. “We recognize that diversity is beautiful and wonderful in the world — it’s our job to reflect that in the game.”

Maxis worked with the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD to create the update, which makes all clothing, hair, and accessory options available to Sims of both genders, and it allows players to create female Sims with short hairstyles previously only available for male ones. It also provides the same options for Sims' voices and walks to all characters created in the game.

"Creating the possibility for greater gender diversity within the world of 'The Sims' is an exciting development," Nick Adams, the director of GLAAD's transgender media program, told the Associated Press. "It was a pleasure working with developers who were committed to updating the game so that all players can create a Sims world that more accurately reflects the world in which we live today."

The game has allowed users to create gay, lesbian, and bisexual characters since its initial release in 2000. You can download the new update on the Sims website.

[H/T Buzzfeed]