‘From the beginning, we set out to let you build Sims that look like you’
The Sims 4 is set to become more diverse after a petition was signed by over 86,000 people calling on the game to offer more darker skin tones.
In a video statement tweeted by Sims’ executive producer Lyndsay Pearson, The Sims 4 team pledged to do better. “Inclusivity is at the core of The Sims franchise. From the beginning, we set out to let you build Sims that look like you, or people you know. And we understand it doesn’t feel like we’re truly living up to that promise,” Pearson said. “We hear you and recognise that we have not done enough to address the variety of skin tones and hair styles that you expect to find in The Sims 4.”
The response comes following a petition calling on the game to add a larger range of darker skin tones and to improve existing skin tones which many felt were lacking. “The Sims' darker skin tones aren’t made very well. They look very ashy and have no vibrancy,” wrote the petition which was signed by 86,704 people. The four darkest shades, it explained, had small patches of discoloration around the nose and the make-up wasn’t always compatible with the darker skin tones. Pearson addressed these concerns, vowing to make them right.
“We are making it a priority to release more options this year, as well as to address the visual issues with current skin tones – specifically, to improve the blotchy artifacts and ashy tones,” she said. These changes have been promised to be available from this autumn as well as more hairstyle options for Black Sims.
In the past, Black Sims users have taken matters into their own hands after frustrations with lack of diverse skin tone options. Groups such as The Black Simmer and The Black Simmers Community created and shared custom content for the game including different hair textures – everything from braids to Afros and laid edges – and fuller lips.
“There was never enough skins. If you make them Black the skins make them look really ashy, or they’re a bad colour, or make them straight up the colour black,” gamer Ashleigh Nicole Tribble told Dazed. “I don’t think EA purposefully leaves them out, but I think it’s an afterthought. Not a lot of people think that Black people like video games or computer games so they’re probably not hiring enough Black people to work in graphic design or production.”