Customizable pronouns are making their way to The Sims 4, and the It Gets Better Project got to play a role in making it happen.
The Sims 4 first announced the pursuit of customizable pronouns in May of last year. Since then, organizations including the It Gets Better Project and GLAAD have been working behind the scenes with Electronic Arts, the publisher of The Sims 4, to act as consultants throughout the production process of introducing pronoun use into the game.
This week, representatives from The Sims 4 and Electronic Arts hosted a fireside chat on Twitch to talk about the upcoming rollout of gender-neutral custom pronouns and the work that took part in preparation on the backend. The It Gets Better Project’s Education Coordinator Rae Sweet joined the conversation to stress the importance of this development for LGBTQ+ fans of the game.
“Although there is so much work that we need to continue to do, pronouns are super important,” Sweet explained. “Our language shapes the world around us and how we interact with the world. Recognizing and incorporating and practicing what I like to call conscious pronoun usage is really a crucial step toward building a world that not only includes but celebrates transgender and gender-expansive people.”
Sweet went on to talk about the It Gets Better Project’s youth voices ambassadors who play The Sims and what this rollout will mean to them.
“I know that they’re going to be so excited to see a feature like this where they can be reflected in the game and can be their true, authentic versions of themselves in-game. That’s how I personally was able to figure out my gender identity was in an environment that gave me the option to try on new pronouns.”
John Faciane, a producer for The Sims 4, moderated the chat and noted that while the addition of pronouns will not make the game 100% gender-neutral, it’s an important step toward making the game more approachable and inclusive for all — something we hope to see reflected in the world around us.
“The Sims… is a virtual world where you get to be who you want to be,” Sweet added. “I think that is such a unique position to be in, to be a guiding light in how we can build that kind of world IRL.”
Watch the conversation in its entirety here. The conversation about customizable pronouns begins at 17:30.