EA has announced that their upcoming My Wedding Stories pack for The Sims 4 will not be released in Russia due to the expansion’s inclusion of a gay marriage mechanic.
This news came a little under 24 hours after the pack was initially announced.
Featuring a number of new marriage-focused mechanics, including bachelor, engagement, and wedding parties, rehearsal dinners, and wedding ceremonies, the My Wedding Stories pack was revealed on February 8th with a trailer depicting a woman leaving her male fiancé at the aisle to start a life with her female friend instead.
The reasons behind EA’s decision “to not release this pack in Russia” were explained in a February 9th post shared to the game’s official website.
Titled “Our Commitment To You“, the post began by noting to players “Over the years, you’ve delighted us with the ways your Sims have found love and celebrated that love through weddings in our base game. You’ve also shared with us your eagerness to walk down the aisle, have your Sims take their seats and shed a tear of joy as you made a lifelong commitment.”
“When we set out to create ‘My Wedding Stories’ this was the vision we had for our global community: The joy of finding love, celebrating that love and telling stories that have meaning on a personal level,” they continued. “Imagining the stories our players will tell with our packs is at the heart of everything we create,”
“For ‘My Wedding Stories,’ we were excited to introduce you to Dom and Cam,” The Sims team added. “Their love story reflects the lived experiences of so many members of our community and team.”
However, they then revealed that “as we moved through our development and brand storytelling process, we became aware that the way we wanted to tell Cam and Dom’s story would not be something we could freely share around the world.”
Framing themselves as committed to showing off their vision despite the risks, the team then stated, “The ability to tell stories – any story – is at the core of what we do at The Sims. Holding back Cam and Dom’s story meant compromising the values we live by. We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love and tell the stories you want to tell.”
Turning to what this “mean for you, our players,” the devs declared, “We are steadfast in upholding that commitment by shining a light on and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam’s, so we have made the decision to forgo the release of ‘My Wedding Stories’ where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws.”
“Regrettably, this means that members of The Sims community in Russia will not be able to purchase this game pack,” the post concluded. “To our Simmers around the world, we are grateful to have you in our universe.”
While same-sex couples have technically been legalized in Russia since 1993, they are ineligible for some legal protections other couples typically would have.
Likewise, the country has no laws against discriminating on the basis of sexuality.
In addition, the Russian federal law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” – also dubbed the Russian gay propaganda law – forbids exposing children to content deemed promoting homosexuality, or are against traditional family values.
Businesses violating the law can reportedly have operations ceased if convicted, and foreigners may be detained for 15 days or pay 5,000₽ RUB (an estimated $66) and subsequently deported.
In the case of The Sims 4, the title has already run afoul of this particular Russian law once before, with the base game being assigned an 18+ rating in the country upon its release in 2014 due to its inclusion of gay relationships.
The announcement trailer for the My Wedding Stories game pack also saw several Russian-speaking users lament the fact that this release would be unavailable to them.
“EA you broke my heart by banning the game in Russia” posted Diana Vladimirovna (via Google Translate). “‘Our values are more important’ you wrote in your letter to us, but what about our love for the game?”
“It was the most long-awaited content for me personally after the game set ‘Parents’ and ‘Country Life’.” they explained. “Disappointed with you, although I have been your fan and devoted admirer for about 10 years.”
“I really ‘liked’ how in their letter they don’t even address Russian simmers directly” user Moon Mermaid posted, placing far more blame on EA than most others had taking issue with how the developer had not even issued “an apology.”
“They just boasted to the whole world how devoted they are to their principles so that the entire foreign community patted them for what great fellows they are,” they concluded.
Did EA take the right approach by refusing to change their game in accordance with Russian law? Let us know your thoughts on social media and in the comments below.