Tea Sims 4 community has been in an uproar ever since EA announced that the game’s imminent, queer-friendly wedding expansion would not be released in Russia due to the nation’s homophobic federal laws. Today, the publisher reversed its decision. My Wedding Stories will be released in Russia, and it will be “unaltered and unchanged.”
As first reported by VICEin a letter posted to the game’s website, the sims development team told its community that “we’ve reassessed our options and realized we can do more than we initially believed.” Since the studio has decided to release the wedding expansion in Russia, the worldwide launch date for My Wedding Stories has been pushed back from February 17 to February 23. EA promised that the game’s content would not be changed for the Russian edition.
My Wedding Stories is the latest Sims 4 expansion, allowing players to plan and execute weddings for their Sims. The pack’s marketing campaign centered heavily around Cameron and Dominique, a lesbian couple.
Previously, EA Maxis decided not to release the pack in Russia due to the expansion’s inclusion of same-sex weddings. The studio believed that Russia’s federal laws would force changes to the expansion’s content. These fears are not entirely unfounded. Russia has had a “gay propaganda law” since 2013, which imposes fines for giving information about “nontraditional” relationships to children, portraying such relationships as attractive, or asserting equality between “traditional and nontraditional sexual relationships.”
Russia’s rating board has categorized Sims 4 as an adults only game, perhaps creating the loophole that allows EA to move forward with the release. Nevertheless, it’s extremely shitty that queer relationships are being conflated with adult sexual content. The laws have pressured other companies like Blizzard to remove queer content in order to stay compliant.
Prior to EA’s reversal, the sims community was agitated over the company’s decision not to release the expansion in Russia. Several content creators planned to withhold content or boycott the expansion to put public pressure on EA. In the letter announcing the change, EA said it had been “listening to the outpouring of feelings from our community” and declared, “It’s equally important for us to stand by our values, including standing against homophobia, and to share stories like this with those who want and need it most.” Kotaku reached out to EA, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.