After the panel, Graham said part of the reason Maxis was able to "sneak" in that optional feature was due to the nature of The Sims as a game. It aims to playfully simulate the behavior of human beings, and homosexuality is an acknowledged part of the human experience.
"I think it was just that homosexuality isn't new, it's something that exists in our world and we're trying to simulate people in our world. And so I think that what they wanted to do, and this is going to sound terrible, but what they wanted to do was protect the people who are basically bigoted against that kind of thing, because they want sales from everybody. So, to make it an optional thing that's essentially disabled unless you seek it out as the player, that I think gave EA the sort of permission to say that's fine. People wouldn't even find it unless they looked for it."
Graham went on to say that Barrett "had more permission because it was seen as a kind of casual type game, so it would've been harder to have that happen in a huge AAA game." EA didn't have high hopes for the game either. "They didn't think The Sims
was going to do well at all; they thought it was a terrible idea. So that was also a part of it: They thought, 'Who's even going to play this game?' And all that stuff kind of allowed it to sneak in."
Graham is currently working on The Sims 4
, but his last project was The Sims Medieval
– both continue the series' legacy of offering homosexual coupling. "It boiled down to exactly one meeting, which was: How do we want to support this? There was never a question of do we support this, it was a question of how do we want to support this."
Though there is a vocal backlash
against LGBT characters being represented in games, it's a choice representatives of EA don't regret
making. It is also Graham's hope that wider acceptance will lower the difficulty of the discussion overall, reducing its status as "a thing." If that happens, it will be due in part to the efforts of Patrick J. Barrett III.