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"Sims can be unhappy about their weight" says Sims 4 producer

UPDATE: Grant Rodiek has clarified his comments on Twitter. Sims will not have an emotional reaction to their body weight.

Well this is interesting. In The Sims Studio's efforts to infuse an entire brain-rainbow of believable human emotions into the next generation of sims, they've hit upon the tricky business of body image, and its psychological bedmate since the invention of the mirror: perpetual, crippling self-loathing.

Sims in The Sims 4 will have the ability to gain and shed pounds as they eat and exercise, as well as the capacity to feel grossly unhappy about their own appearance, which is a cruel degree of realism to inflict upon an innocent simulated person.

"We have some little things like fitness, so sims can naturally change over time in the game," says The Sims 4's  producer Grant Rodiek. "If they overeat they’ll become overweight. If they never exercise, they might become overweight. But if you eat healthily or eat properly or you exercise, your sims will lose weight."

Previous games in the series allowed you to manually set your sim's weight and body shape in the creation screen, and fitness objects such as treadmills and weight machines would simply improve a sim's strength rather than sculpt their body. In The Sims 4 it seems that maintaining your desired form requires some actual management of your sim's diet and exercise routines.

To that end, The Sims Studio is also simulating body dissatisfaction; Sims don't always like what they see in the mirror, and it will affect their emotional state, something the developer is aware of being a potentially problematic feature.

"We have the ability for them to be unhappy about their weight," says Rodiek. "It’s tricky with the emotional state being based on people’s weight. We want to make sure we’re not making a statement or telling people what’s right or wrong, but you can tell a story with those tools. We give you all the pieces you need to tell that story if you want to do that.”

“Your sims might react, like, when they get bigger you’ll notice they’ll look at themselves and react. How well we change their emotional state based on it, we don’t want to make a statement about things like that because that’s not our place to do that.”

That's some top marks diplomatic wording, but it's not totally clear whether the studio might be unthinkingly imposing an equivalence between thinness and happiness in The Sims 4, which is a worry considering this game's young and female audience. At least they do seem concerned that a sim's reaction to their own physical appearance sends an important message about what Maxis believe to be the correct body shape.

You could also make the argument that, in order to properly simulate a human, it would in fact be more accurate to fill them to the brim with every sort of body insecurity that society, glamour mags and yoghurt advertising bombard us with on a daily basis.

Either way you slice it, body image politics in The Sims 4 presents something of a conundrum. One of potentially many, no doubt, if The Sims Studio seeks to simulate the human condition any further.

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As a young girl with distorted body image, sims is a place where I can get away from this. I would ONLY LIKE IT IF THEY ALSO FEEL BAD ABOUT GETTING TOO THIN!!!!!!!! TOO THIN AND TOO FAT ARE EQUALLY BAD. Please don't give me another thing to make me feel bad about myself Ea, please don't. I AM PRAYING THAT THEY SEE THIS. 

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If they did that then I wouldn't buy The Sims 4. It's been known for quite some time that having some weight is actually good for you. The anaemic, hyper-thin, Hollywood dream is actually unhealthy, since you're artificially imposing a state on your body that it isn't equipped to deal with.

On top of that, some people are genetically predisposed to keeping more fat than others, so getting a person with the aforementioned genetic markers to be in the same weight category as someone who doesn't have those markers is actually really, really bad.

I don't like seeing things promote bad health. Being obese is unhealthy, yes, but so is Hollywood vomit-culture.

So if the game forces people to embody an unhealthy lifestyle, it's off my list.

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Just in case anyone else who reads this and hasn't seen an update on the subject via SimsVip.

This is NOT happening. Your sims will not feel bad if they are overweight. 

Also yes, the sims will be available for mac, that was confirmed elsehwere - though perhaps it may come out a little later? I don't know.

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This statement is FALSE:

"...fitness objects such as treadmills and weight machines would simply improve a sim's strength rather than sculpt their body..."

In Sims 3, when your sim is larger or gains weight from over-eating, they can workout on one of the machines or go for a jog to lose weight. If you set your Sim to be overweight in Create-A-Sim, they will gradually gain the weight back, so you have to keep exercising to shed that weight and stay slim. If your Sim just gains weight from overeating, once they shed the weight they will stay thin until you make them overeat again.

You can exercise for cardio or for strength. Cardio just helps you lose the weight, while working out for strength "sculpts" your body.

On another note:

Making Sims self-concious about their weight is not a good idea. Many young girls play this game and don't need another reminder that society isn't accepting of chubby girls or that in order to feel good about themselves they have to be paper thin.

The way they handled obesity in Sims 3 seems like a happy medium. It's out there, you can add it to your sims story if you want to, but it doesn't take over their lives emotionally.

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If this is true, then I will not be buying this game. The Sims franchise is one of the few where I, as a fat person, could feel welcome in making Sims that were my weight and who did not have a huge guilt complex or get treated badly by others because of it. It's not about health or whatever, it's about making all types of people feel like they can see themselves and have fun with the game without having to deal with something that they no doubt have to endure all day, ever day.

If this information is true, then I'm sadly disappointed by this change and will not be buying the new version.

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This is an issue. As a girl who played the Sims most of my "teenage" years, the idiots behind this have to know this isn't the best idea. Way to add to the pressure you wonderful people you.

I can see a Sim with a "superficial" trait being upset about being a little heavy or even one with an "Athletic" trait . . . but just every single non-thin sim being down on themselves will be dumb. 

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The fact is that body image is a strange thing, I'm not exactly thin and this doesn't bother me at all, I feel the same way to I expect my sim to as well, I always found it weird how they didn't care so yes. to the person who said about too thin, lets face the fact people who are too thin usually don't see that they're too thin so don't see a typing wrong with it.

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 Seriously ? If this is true for The Sims 4 then no way baby i will not buy the game.

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Honestly, I don't think it's a bad idea. People have weight issues. It's part of being human, but not all people react the same way.

My sister, for example, has issues with parts of her being too big. On the other hand, she likes her curves. She just wants to tone up. If they could incorporate this into the sims (like running toning your legs and crunches tightening your core, it'd be a good way to address the body image debate).

I, on the other hand, am waaay too thin due to a medical condition. I've been struggling to gain weight for years, and I've only managed to gain about 10 pounds. I just want some boobs and a butt! If sims could have a little less confidence when they don't quite look where they want (and have a unique ideal body type for each sim) it would remove any issue. There's a lot of different shapes that are beautiful. It's just a matter of how you feel.

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I think it's good. It might even help encourage people to be healthier in their own lives. 

No one is genetically predisposed to be overweight. People are different width and shapes and carry different amounts of muscle and fat but no one should be overweight. 

 

You also don't have to be vomiting to be thin.

 

I wonder if they'll ever have skewed body images and think they're thin when they're fat or vise versa. 

 

Sims that are overweight or unfit/unhealthy sims should be less energetic.

 

I just hope they bring it out for Macs.

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