The Sims 4's Dark & Lovely partnership adds more diversity than ever

The Sims 4's Dark & Lovely partnership adds more diversity than ever
Image via Maxis

Written by 

Tom Chapman


26th Mar 2024 13:16

Even nine years after The Sims 4 had us building our dream lives for a new generation, Maxis continues to prove it still has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Having recently added the Horse Ranch and For Rent Expansions, we've also enjoyed the Castle Estate and Goth Galore Kits.

Still, there's the ever-present question of diversity, with The Sims being previously called out for its portrayal of Black skin options and hairstyles. Thankfully, The Sims 4 has partnered with Dark & Lovely to unveil one of its most diverse campaigns yet. 

The Sims 4 unveils Dark & Lovely partnership

EA has confirmed a partnership with beauty brand Dark & Lovely and content creator Danielle "Ebonix" Udogaranya. Ebonix is a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) advocate, with EA saying it "leaped at the chance" to work with her.

The "Play in Color" campaign and documentary aim to spotlight authentic representation in gaming. As the publisher's blog reiterates, gaming often fails to fully represent people of colour and other marginalised communities. With them making up a big slice of the gaming pie, The Sims 4 wants to do them justice.

A particular area of underrepresentation is Black hairstyles, with "Play in Color" tackling it head-on. "Play in Color" builds on previous skin tone and nail collaborations with Ebonix. Hair professionals Dark & Lovely helped bring 24 colour combinations to two existing hairstyles in April 2024. It's inspired by the company's new Immersive Bolds collection.

A free content drop is coming in July 2024, introducing a new locs hairstyle in collaboration with Dark & Lovely. Anna Huerta, Senior Creator Director at The Sims 4, hyped the partnership, saying, "Ebonix has paved an instrumental path towards greater representation in The Sims through her many years of dedication and work."

"From her first piece of custom content being a dashiki, to her many diverse and detailed hairstyles offered to the community. We're thrilled to be teaming up again to have her as a key part of this campaign as we showcase and advocate for the importance of Black hairstyles in our virtual worlds as much as our real one."

We expect big things from The Sims 5

The Sims Play in Color campaign
Click to enlarge
Image via Maxis

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While details are thin on the ground about what we can expect from The Sims 5/Project Rene, the years between games suggest we'll get a much more advanced character creator. Baldur's Gate 3 and Dragon's Dogma 2 have recently upped the ante, and with The Sims being one of the OGs, we're hoping for a complete overhaul.

At least the Dark & Lovely partnership suggests that Maxis has been listening to complaints about Black representation. With Paralives pitching its own character creator on diversity, The Sims has been making some major steps toward inclusion. Even as we look ahead to The Sims 5, the team is striving to make The Sims 4 a place where everyone can feel represented. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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