Shortly after The Sims 4 launched last week, players began to notice the game would not allow characters with names that contained the words gay, homosexual, lesbian, queer, or other LGBT terms to be shared through the game's online Gallery system, reportsKotaku.
"If I tried to create a character named 'Bob Gay' or 'Gay Bob'... I could. But when I did, a warning popped up telling me that I would not be able to share either of them online in the public gallery," writes Kotaku's Yannick LeJacq. "Once I took Gay Bob to the Gallery and tried to upload him in all his Gay Bob glory, I wasn't allowed to. If I changed his name to 'Straight Bob' but insisted on using the word 'gay' in his description, I'd get the same error message telling me that I was trying to upload a character whose description 'contained a forbidden word.'"
However, The Sims is a video game franchise that has been inclusive of same-sex romance since the first installment was released in February 2000. EA Games has been quick to let players know the LGBT filter currently being encountered in the game isn't a change in policy but a bug plaguing the system that the company is already hard at work fixing.
"The Sims has a long history of supporting stories that players want to tell, irrespective of gender preference," an EA representative told Kotaku. "The Gallery uses an automated filtering program that filters out certain words, including some of the ones you mentioned below." The company is aware of the problem and is working on a fix, "which will be out soon," the rep added.
EA's response stands in sharp contrast to the statement made by Nintendo of America after the company experienced a wave of backlash for releasing its own version of a life simulator game, Tomodachi Life, which excluded same-sex couples. "The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation," Nintendo wrote in a statement. "We hope that all of our fans will see that Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary."
While LGBT players of Tomodachi Life never got their shot at equality in the U.S., it appears that "Gay Bob" will be arriving in the latest land of The Sims very soon.