While real-life humans are busy waging real-life federal wars over which bathrooms people can legally use, the virtual humans of The Sims 4 are doing away with gendered boundaries completely.
A free update to the 16-year-old franchise made available Thursday will enable players to select their characters' physique, voice and gait in a way that enables gender customization within the game like never before.
According to the Associated Press, earlier versions of the game previously featured over 700 pieces of content, including clothing and hairstyles, that were gender exclusive. The Sims 4 executive producer Rachel Franklin told AP in an email that publishers at Electronic Arts and developers at Maxis worked on removing those barriers for over a year.
Franklin also said game developers at Maxis worked with GLAAD in order to "make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims' gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more."
Franklin noted that at GLAAD's suggestion, the developers did away with the gender symbols that appear in-game. Players will now also be able to switch their characters' genders at any time, and to designate whether they are capable of reproducing with certain other Sims.
According to Franklin, "female Sims can wear sharp men's suits like Ellen (DeGeneres), and male Sims can wear heels like Prince."
The series has always allowed same-sex relationships, and introduced same-sex wedding ceremonies for characters in its 2009 installment, The Sims 3.