Players in Russia won't be left out of Electronic Arts' (EA) latest expansion pack for The Sims 4, after all.
The popular video game publishing company recently announced that it would be releasing "My Wedding Stories", the latest expansion pack for the fourth instalment of The Sims franchise, in Russia after community backlash over the company's decision to not release the expansion pack in the country.
"We've reassessed our options [on the expansion pack's release in Russia] and realised we can do more than we initially believed," The Sims team said, after considering the "outpouring of feelings" from The Sims community. This includes support for its decision and "concern for their fellow community members". The team also added that it is equally important to them to stand by their values, which includes standing against homophobia.
The expansion pack in question gives players the chance to plan and perform elaborate weddings for their Sims - from hosting pre-wedding parties, having rehearsal dinners and creating the perfect wedding ring, to walking down the aisle with their Sim's partner and reaping the fruits of all the preparation done for the big event.
However, the expansion pack's official reveal trailer mainly focused on the love story and subsequent marriage of two sims of the same sex, Dominique and Camille - something that isn't legally accepted in Russia.
Russia passed an "anti-gay" bill in mid-2013 that prohibits giving information about homosexuality to anyone under the age of 18, calling said information "propaganda". According to The Guardian, the signing of the bill is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values in the country over Western liberalism, which the Russian government and Orthodox Church viewed as " propaganda corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin's rule".
EA initially may have cited the bill as the reason why it couldn't release the expansion pack in Russia, although The Sims 4 was rated as "Adults Only" in the country. According to The Sims team on 9 February 2022, the ability to tell any story is "the core" of The Sims, and holding back Dominique and Camille's story would mean compromising the values the team lives 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," The Sims team said. "We are steadfast in upholding that commitment by shining a light on and celebrating stories like Dom and Cam's, so we made the decision to forgo the release of 'My Wedding Stories' where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws."
The announcement caused a commotion among The Sims community, with Simmers, the informal name for players and fans of The Sims series, pushing back against EA's decision with the hashtag, #weddingsforrussia. IGN reported that some Simmers noted that the game was already in Russia, with the base game's same-sex relationship options intact. Since then, many Simmers, especially those from Russia, waited for EA's response on the matter, until EA did.
EA also announced that the release of the My Wedding Stories expansion pack would be moved from 17 February 2022 to 23 February 2022 to accommodate Russia's inclusion.
EA recently announced it would be releasing the latest expansion for its hit game, The Sims 4, in Russia after community backlash on its decision to exclude the country due to an "anti-gay" law signed in 2013.
The expansion pack, named My Wedding Stories, gives players the ability to plan and experience an elaborate wedding from engagement to the tying of the knot.
However, the expansion pack's official release trailer focused on a same-sex couple's love story, which is prohibited in Russia under the same "anti-gay" law previously mentioned
Russia's exclusion caused a commotion within The Sims community, with numerous players rallying to the hashtag #weddingsforrussia to make their voice heard.