Art -- or at the very least video gaming -- is imitating life in an exciting, new way.
The creators of the beloved "The Sims" video game series have expanded user options to allow the customization of characters' gender and gender presentations.
Electronic Arts and developer Maxis announced that an update on "The Sims 4," available Thursday, will remove barriers when it comes to gender expression, including a character's voice, physical make-up or style of walking, according to the AP.
Pink News notes that until now the life simulation video game, which debuted 16 years ago, forced players to choose between strictly male and female characters, with gender expression tied to typical societal notions about these identity categories.
The studio noted in a statement that they wanted to "make sure players can create characters they can identify with or relate to through powerful tools that give them influence over a Sims' gender, age, ethnicity, body type and more... female Sims can wear sharp men's suits like Ellen [DeGeneres] and male Sims can wear heels like Prince."
Queer themes in video games have had a growing presence in homes around the world over the past several years. "Fragments of Him," which was released in May, deals with love and loss in the aftermath of a queer man's death. Additionally, as one HuffPost blogger notes, role-playing games allow many transgender players to create a representation of their authentic selves in online spaces.
The update that includes expanded gender expression for "Sims 4" is available now.