The Sims 4 is a game that’s constantly getting updated content, whether it’s in the form of paid DLC or patches to fix existing issues. Alongside patch updates often comes new or reworked items, including things like new hairstyles. The primary goal of patches is to update and fix certain bugs players may be experiencing, like when Sims use the bathroom sink to wash dishes and bypass the kitchen sink in the process. Other times, the developer’s updates come as a surprise to players, especially when they don’t address commonly reported problems.
One of the most recent The Sims 4 patches updated a bunch of traits with behaviors that more accurately depict the trait. However, the patch notes at the time didn’t detail what changes were made to the traits and instead listed which traits were affected. Recently, The Sims 4 released an in-depth list of the traits that changed and what behaviors were added or taken away. While many of these changes were welcomed by the community, there was one trait change that sparked heavy criticism.
The trait updates added to The Sims 4 helped ensure that Sims would autonomously participate in actions that align with their traits. Sims with the ‘Hates Children’ trait will now get Tense around children before getting Angry and moving away from them, or even get a positive buff called ‘Quiet Environment Child-free Zone’ when not around children. These actions align with what players would assume the ‘Hates Children’ trait would entail, but these weren't the object of the outrage. A different note in the post stated that Sims with the ‘Hates Children’ trait have no chance of a successful “Try for Baby'' action unless the Sim is in a Dazed mood.
The issue, which many The Sims 4 players quickly pointed out, was the precarious wording and overall meaning of the behavior. It called consent into question, as in real life anyone who is under the influence of any substance is unable to consent to sexual activities. Sims in a Dazed mood are out of it and the mood is caused by doing things like consuming medicine when not sick or getting abducted by aliens.
It’s clear that “Dazed” could be a stand-in for “Drunk,” especially because Dazed Sims have a slow walk and become slower at completing tasks, even forgetting the task at times. Essentially, The Sims 4 players were upset that a ‘Hates Children’ Sim needed to be incapacitated or unable to consent before being able to have a successful “Try for Baby.”
Even though The Sims 4 is a game it doesn’t mean the rules of consent don’t apply. While the developer probably didn’t mean any harm with the updated trait aspect, it didn’t go over well with a lot of the community and the backlash started pretty immediately. Language is important and it seems the developer missed the mark by adding in something so nefariously worded. The good news about this blunder, however, is how quickly The Sims Twitter account addressed the issue.
The language in the updated trait notes has already been changed to take away any implications of dubious consent. Instead, it states that Sims with the ‘Hates Children’ trait will be very unreceptive to any “Try For Baby'' actions. The developer has also promised that the Dazed requirement will be removed in the next The Sims 4 patch. Some players think waiting until the next patch is too long, but it’s quite possible that the patch will come sooner than expected.
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