The Sims 4 Responds To Calls For Disabled Sims
Maxis has responded to calls for disabled Sims in The Sims 4, with the developer enfurling its future roadmap for content and whether disability visibility will become a thing of current or future instalments. It's been 21 years since we first stepped into the neighbourhood, so it's hard to believe we've never had disabled Sims.
Over the years, Maxis has added everything from pets to wizards, Medieval knights to aliens, and yet, not so much as a wheelchair for disabled representation. The franchise has previously been called out for a lack of ethnicity options, and now, it's disability visibility that's at the forefront of the conversation.
Will Maxis Add Disabled Sims To The Sims 4?
The latest debate comes off the back of a Change.org petition asking for mobility items to be included in The Sims 4. Even though the petition currently only has 927 signatures, it was enough to catch the attention of developers. Concept Artist SimGuruSalo promised that mobility times are "at the top of our minds".
SimGuruSalo commented, "We want you to know that we took note of the petition, and we want to say thank you for everyone who's always reaching out to The Sims and giving us pointers on what to do to make this game better.
"[We're] super passionate about what we do and we all want The Sims to be the best game out there for many years to come, so mobility items are at the top of our minds." The conversation turned to critiques of The Sims' diversity, with the beast rearing its head once again.
It's much of what we've heard before. In a 2020 interview with GamesRadar, Producer Graham Nardone discussed ideas including guide dogs. Back then, Nardone explained, "We've had active outreach with players in the community and asked, 'What are better ways that we can represent you? What are some of the things that we can do to recreate those moments, or lived experiences, respectfully within The Sims 4?'
"I think the last thing that we want to avoid is turning it into a feature." But has anything really changed?
When Could We See Mobility Items In The Sims?
There's no exact date on when we could see mobility items in The Sims, but by the sounds of it, they might not be that far away. "As you know, we have a roadmap and we have been including different things like the additional skin tones, the Asian facial features, the updated Black hairs, and we're currently doing research on gender neutral pronouns", said SimGuruSalo.
"So representation remains the core pillar of The Sims, and that's helping us guide our roadmaps on what we want to deliver for the base game in the future. Mobility items are at the top of our list. Thank you so much for creating this petition, because we hear you."
Sceptics have pointed out that adding disabled Sims to the game would require more than a patch to the character creator. The likes of wheelchairs would require disabled-accessible buildings, which might take some serious work on the customisation front.
We understand the importance of not turning ethnic diversity or disabled Sims into a feature, and while Maxis clearly has its work cut out pleasing everyone, you've got to ask why these kinds of representations weren't inputted years ago. For the time being, you're stuck representing disabled Sims through a wide spectrum of mods.