Electronic Arts will not sell its new The Sims 4 wedding DLC pack in Russia, the company announced Wednesday. The Sims 4 has been considered “gay propaganda” due to Russia’s homophobic law since 2014, and slapped with a 18+ age restriction prohibited children from purchasing it. The Sims 4’s My Wedding Stories DLC pack trailer focused on a gay couple’s joyous engagement and wedding — and the The Sims 4 team said it was “not something we could freely share around the world.”
LGBTQ+ people in Russia have long faced harassment and discrimination, but Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law has “increased hostility” and limited “affirming education and support services” for LGTBQ+ youth, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Sims 4 is a life simulation game that lets players create customized characters, houses, and worlds, with traditionally few limitations regarding gender and sexuality, though The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been criticized for not better representing Black simmers in-game, with players themselves leading the change by creating custom content.
The new My Wedding Stories DLC pack, coming Feb. 17, expands on The Sims 4’s existing wedding options — adding new culturally-specific ceremonies, events like engagement parties and rehearsal dinners, as well as new outfits and decorations. The Sims 4 has always allowed same-sex weddings, but My Wedding Stories centers around a story the development team wants to tell: A gay couple called Dominique and Camille.
“Imagining the stories our players will tell with our packs is at the heart of everything we create,” the developer wrote in a statement. “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.”
The announcement trailer centered on that relationship in an extremely adorable video that plays out like a movie. You can read the developer’s full statement published below.
Our Commitment to You
A Letter To Our Players from The Sims Team
Yesterday we introduced you to The Sims 4 “My Wedding Stories” Game Pack and along with it, to Dominique and Camille, a couple whose love knows no boundaries. Today we want to explain the decision we’ve made to not release this pack in Russia.
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.
The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories will be available on Feb. 17 on Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.