How same-sex relationships came to The Sims

Lead AI programmer reveals how EA's low expectations for The Sims allowed same-sex relationships to be implemented.


EA Maxis has shed light on how same-sex relationships came to be in best-selling game series The Sims, Joystiq has reported.

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Speaking on Electronic Arts' (EA) GaymerX panel about creating more LGBT-inclusive experiences, The Sims 4 lead AI programmer David "Rez" Graham revealed how lead engineer Jamie Doornbos implemented the programming.

"He just did it," Graham said, referring to Doornbos, who is an openly gay man. "He just went in there and it was a thing one day. Nobody really questioned it, which was cool."

After the conclusion of the panel, Graham revealed that the nature of The Sims as a game allowed EA Maxis to "sneak in" the feature as an optional one.

"I think it was just that homosexuality isn't new, it's something that exists in our world and we're trying to simulate people in our world. And so I think that what they wanted to do, and this is going to sound terrible, but what they wanted to do was protect the people who are basically bigoted against that kind of thing, because they want sales from everybody. So, to make it an optional thing that's essentially disabled unless you seek it out as the player, that I think gave EA the sort of permission to say that's fine. People wouldn't even find it unless they looked for it."

According to Graham, it was because of EA's view that the game was "a terrible idea" and would not sell well that allowed them to implement "all that kind of stuff."

"[Doornbos] had more permission because it was seen as a kind of casual type game, so it would've been harder to have that happen in a huge AAA game."

The Sims has been touted as the best-selling game franchise of all time, with over 125 million copies sold worldwide since its launch in 2000. The latest numbered entry into the series, The Sims 3 for PC, sold 3.7 million copies in its first month of sale.

A sequel, The Sims 4, was announced earlier this year. The game will be launching in 2014 for PC and Mac, and will not require an internet connection.

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