‘The Sims’ removes gender barriers in video game

This image released by Electronic Arts shows the new diverse characters that will be available on "The Sims 4" the latest edition of "The Sims" video game. (Electronic Arts via AP)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The creators of “The Sims” are opening up gender customization options for the first time in the history of the popular life simulation video game.

“The Sims” publisher Electronic Arts and developer Maxis says a free update available Thursday for “The Sims 4” will remove gender boundaries and allow players to create Sims with any type of physique, walk style or voice.

“The Sims 4” and earlier installments in the 16-year-old series previously restricted specific clothing, hair styles and other aesthetic options to either male or female characters.

EA and Maxis say over 700 pieces of content previously available to only male or female Sims will now be accessible regardless of their gender in “The Sims 4” and its expansion packs.

The gaming medium rarely depicts or allows players to create transgender characters.