An expansion pack for The Sims will not be released in Russia due to its depiction of same-sex marriages, the developers of the wildly popular video game announced on Wednesday.
The Sims 4 “My Wedding Stories” expansion pack adds to the game’s existing wedding features and increases customization. While LGBTQ+ representation and same-sex marriages were already present in The Sims 4 – resulting in the game’s 18+ rating in Russia – concerns have arisen over the expansion pack’s marketing and brand storytelling, which follows two female Sims as they plan their wedding.
If released in Russia, the marketing of the expansion pack would require significant changes in order to comply with the country’s 2013 law banning content marketed to minors that portrays homosexuality as a societal norm.
In a blog post, game developers Electronic Arts noted they decided not to release the pack in Russia, as modifying its contents to comply with local laws would have “meant compromising the values that we hold dear”.
“We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love, and to tell the stories you want to tell. … We are firmly committed to this commitment by highlighting and celebrating stories like those of Dom and Cam, therefore, we have made the decision to forgo the release of ‘My Wedding Stories’ where our storytelling would be subject to change due to federal laws,” reads the statement posted in English and Russian.
“Unfortunately, this means The Sims community members in Russia will not be able to purchase this game pack.”
Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ law has limited depictions of homosexuality in many media, including theater and movie theater besides video games.
The decision to limit the game’s release follows news that the Kremlin spent an additional 7 billion rubles last year to fund ‘spiritual and moral’ content online targeting young people, with plans for attribution with a state award subsidies video game developers creating patriotic WWII games.