An expansion pack for The Sims 4 that was previously announced as not coming to Russia due to restrictions on LGBTQ media content in the country will be released in Russia after all, following community outcry.
The pack, “My Wedding Stories,” is an expansion for The Sims 4 that adds the ability to plan and perform detailed weddings. The pack’s marketing centers around the courtship and marriage of two women, Dominique and Camille. Initially, EA and developer Maxis had cited Russian federal law as the reason for skipping the release in the country, saying that doing so would have forced them to alter their storytelling, “compromising the values we live by.”
Since then, Sims community members have pushed back using the hashtag #weddingsforrussia, with some noting that The Sims 4 already has queer relationship options and is currently available in Russia, albeit at an 18+ rating. Though EA had not cited a specific federal law in its initial announcement, it seems likely that the law in question was one introduced in 2013 prohibiting content marketed toward children (anyone under the age of 18) that presents homosexuality as a societal norm, labeling it as “propaganda.” The law has been condemned by numerous global human rights groups and has coincided with an uptick of violence against LGBT individuals within the country.
It is unclear whether EA’s initial decision was related to a concern that the pack or its marketing would result in legal trouble for the company, or if the decision was made as a form of protest, or other reasons.
In a statement today, EA and Maxis said that it would release the pack after all, following “the outpouring of feelings from our community including both support for our decision and concern for their fellow community members.”
“Since then, we’ve been listening to 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.
“With this in mind, we’ve reassessed our options and realized we can do more than we initially believed and we will now release The Sims 4 ‘My Wedding Stories’ Game Pack to our community in Russia, unaltered and unchanged, featuring Dom and Cam.”
The release of My Wedding Stories globally — Russia included — is being delayed to February 23 to account for this change.
When pressed for additional comment as to the reasons for the initial decision and what had changed in the subsequent days, a representative told IGN that the team “realized they had more options than previously understood and are actually able to release.” They declined to give further comment.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.