EA and Sims developer Maxis have announced that they will not be releasing the upcoming The Sims 4 expansion pack, My Wedding Stories, in Russia.
In a blog post today from The Sims Team, Maxis said that releasing the pack in Russia would have meant “compromising the values we live by,” saying that federal laws would have forced them to make changes to the pack’s development and marketing.
My Wedding Stories is a wedding-focused pack that allows players to plan and hold elaborate weddings in a new location, Tartosa. It expands on existing wedding features including proposals and the ceremony itself, adding detailed planning, decor, outfits, cakes, events, and much more.
Though any adult Sims can marry one another currently in The Sims 4 and will be able to do so in My Wedding Stories, the pack’s marketing and storytelling explicitly feature two women: Dominique and Camille, as they plan their wedding.
Russian federal law introduced in 2013 prohibits content marketed toward children (anyone under the age of 18) that presents homosexuality as a societal norm, labeling it as “propaganda.” The introduction of the law has coincided with an uptick in violence against LGBTQ individuals in Russia and has been condemned by numerous human rights groups including Human Rights Watch and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Sims 4 received a mature (18+) rating in Russia at its 2014 launch explicitly due to its inclusion of same-sex relationships. At the time, EA said it had no interest in altering the game’s content to get the rating adjusted — a view the publisher appears to be sticking to with My Wedding Stories.
Sims 4: My Wedding Stories Screens
“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 wrote. “Their love story reflects the lived experiences of so many members of our community and team.
“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.
“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.”
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.