The cover of the newest rendition of EA Games’ The Sims shows a same-sex couple for the first time since the franchise was released in 2000.
The rebranded cover of The Sims 4, which was revealed in a livestream last week, shows a number of diverse characters surrounding the logo, including two women holding each other in the bottom left corner.
The characters don’t just exist on the cover – they have names and backstories. Dela Ostrow, the pink-haired character on the left, has “an inherent sense of optimism and a deep entrepreneurial spirit” after spending her childhood shadowing her fashion photographer mom.
Mia Hayes, the woman with the blue beanie, is “a bit of an introvert and a bit of a rebel” who “splits her time between freelance programmer and artist gigs.”
And no, they aren’t just good friends or gal pals. Both characters’ biographies label the other woman as her girlfriend.
“Mia has a unique way of attracting creative, high-energy friends like Noah and her girlfriend Dela,” reads Mia’s bio, while Dela’s says that “her girlfriend Mia” keeps her informed on non-fashion trends.
Not only is the inclusion of Mia and Dela on the cover historic for The Sims franchise, but for the gaming world in general – they’re the first-ever LGBTQ couple to appear in the cover art for a game from any major studio.
“The Sims franchise has been an industry leader on LGBTQ representation and this week it crossed another milestone,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the President and CEO of GLAAD, praised. “We applaud Electronic Arts and Maxis for putting an LGBTQ couple front and center on its new, rebranded box art for The Sims 4. LGBTQ players have been a major part of The Sims community from the beginning, and this recognition and visibility is important and well deserved. This is a breakthrough moment for representation in the video game space, and we encourage others to step up and match this kind of visibility in their new released and updates.”
This is not the first move towards inclusion The Sims franchise has made. In collaboration with GLAAD, transgender and gender expansive characters were added to The Sims 4 in 2016. The Sims Mobile also received a nomination for Outstanding Video Game at the GLAAD Media Awards this year.