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EA Maxis renames The Sims' "insane" character trait

Switch to "erratic" is a reflection of how "language evolves", EA says

EA Maxis has changed the name of The Sims 4's "insane" character trait to "erratic", following criticism from the gaming press about its depiction of mental health issues.

The switch was not mentioned in the game's recent patch notes, despite the presence of another notably progressive change: the "female preference for holding toddlers in family portraits" has been taken out, with all relatives, regardless of gender, now equally likely to hold the child.

The "erratic" trait was criticised in a recent article by Kotaku - called "The Sims' Insane Trait Sucks" - which questioned what it suggested about mental health. Kotaku also noted this change in terminology, and EA has now clarified its thinking.

"Our game celebrates life and the people in it," an EA representative said, as quoted by PC Gamer. "As language evolves, we want to take the steps needed to ensure players feel they can have a great time without distracting language that is not always current or appropriate," a rep said. "We made the change to better reflect the design of that trait."

However, the behaviours associated with the trait remain unchanged, as does the symbol that used in The Sims' UI: a human torso bound in a straitjacket.

It should be noted that EA as a company has been commended for its commitment to equality and diversity on numerous occasions in the past, And EA Maxis has also worked to make sure these values are reflected in The Sims.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.