After EA unveiled the next installment of The Sims during last week’s Sims Summit, Black content creators were not happy about the lack of inclusion. Critics noted that out of twenty or so people shown, only one was a Black streamer.
The publisher showcased Project Rene (which we’ve been calling The Sims 5) and an official modding hub to its eager audience at the Summit on October 18. The stream celebrated its content creator community with a two-minute segment showing their reactions to the baby update. EA included more white people with non-American accents than it did Black creators overall.
“Black Simmers [have] been a major impact on The Sims community for years. Literally, the backbone for providing skin tones, body features, hairstyles, and more. Everything the devs didn’t do,” Black Girl Gamers tweeted.
Black Simmers have been pillars of the community and have often corrected for EA’s own shortcoming in representation by creating skin color mods and custom content that celebrates Black culture.
Creator xMiraMira, for example, came out with the Melanin Pack and the updated Melanin Pack 2, which adds skin color and makeup for Black sims. She was also featured in the competition show The Sims Spark’d, along with other Black creators DeeSims and SpringSims, so EA is certainly aware of Black Simmers to reach out to.
The Sims team has also worked with Danielle “Ebonix” Udogaranya, and xMiraMira, on its update to skin tones in the game.
“Black Simmers deserve to feel seen in all that we do at The Sims, so we’re holding ourselves accountable to this mistake and will do better moving forward,” EA tweeted in response.
Stephen “SpringSims” Works was the only Black Simmer featured in the creator segment of the showcase, which many people felt was not enough. Even Works commented on the showcase, saying that although he was “thankful” to be included, he wished more Black streamers could have shared the spotlight with him. Kotaku reached out to EA on its plans to commit to greater onscreen diversity but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
The Sims community also pointed out that this was far from the only time that EA had failed to adequately respect Black fans. One noted how Black hair and skin tone options were added relatively late in the game’s life cycle. Another recalled that Black afros in The Sims 4 were originally modeled off cauliflower instead of…you know, real human hair. There’s also a Twitter thread about how The Sims 4 neglected Black culture in favor of several content packs that featured various other cultures or nations.
“Black Simmers have shaped every Sims community,” tweeted one creator who identifies as a Black Simmer. “Machinima, mods, cc, let’s play, etc would be nothing close to how it is now without Black creators.”