The Russian government is notoriously homophobic, to the point where a law was passed in 2013 that everyone outside of Russia simply refers to as the ‘Russian gay propaganda law.’ Which goes a long way to explaining why EA won’t be releasing the latest Sims expansion in the region.
In a blog post called Our Commitment to You: A Letter To Our Players from The Sims Team, developers Maxis explain that one of the wedding-themed expansion’s storylines—involving a same-sex marriage between two characters—was “not something we could freely share around the world.” In particular, the team wanted to “explain the decision we’ve made to not release this pack in Russia.”
It comes down to a simple choice: the team could tell the stories they wanted to tell and avoid the Russian market, upsetting some local fans, or they could water down their content to meet the needs of certain “federal laws” and release the game in the country. They have chosen the former.
Here’s the letter in full:
Celebrating Love, Your Way
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.
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. 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.
A Commitment to Our Values
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.
So what does that mean for you, our players? 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.
To our Simmers around the world, we are grateful to have you in our universe.
With love and gratitude,
The Sims Team