EA will now release The Sims 4's upcoming My Wedding Stories expansion in Russia, reversing a decision supposedly made due to concerns that it would run afoul of an anti-homosexuality law. Many fans were unhappy with this. Now EA say oh, they've checked again, and it turns out they don't need to censor anything. So the expansion will come to Russia too, but EA are delaying the launch one week so they can get their ducks in a line and launch simultaneously worldwide.
My Wedding Stories was scheduled to launch today, expanding the game's nuptials with new features for bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners, dress shopping, speeches, and all that wedding stuff. But on February 9th, a week before launch, EA announced they wouldn't release it "where our storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws".
A broad Russian law bans exposing minors to "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships", punishable by fines. Some companies have cautiously self-censored to avoid potential trouble, like the ever-brave Blizzard geo-blocking Russia from the Overwatch webcomic revealing Tracer happily had a girlfriend.
With this Sims expansion, EA's have focused a lot on Dominique and Camille, a sapphic couple in a disastrous romcom scenario. Initially they thought this would be a real problem in Russia; now they think not.
"At the time, we believed that our team could not freely share the storytelling of same-sex couple Cam and Dom in Russia and decided the best way to uphold our commitment to sharing their story was to not release this pack there," the Sims team explained in announcing their change of heart yesterday.
Many fans had protested this decision, including through a petition and a Twitter hashtag, #WeddingsForRussia. EA say they've "been listening to the outpouring of feelings from our community including both support for our decision and concern for their fellow community members." They add, "It's equally important for us to stand by our values, including standing against homophobia, and to share stories like this with those who want and need it most."
So, EA say, "we've reassessed our options and realized we can do more than we initially believed and we will now release The Sims 4 'My Wedding Stories' Game Pack to our community in Russia, unaltered and unchanged, featuring Dom and Cam."
The situation has been a bit weird. The Sims 4 is already rated 18+ in Russia, and in 2014 the game's local Twitter account explained that was due to that 'anti-propaganda' law. Seems weird that EA didn't realise age ratings might help them here too. I don't know.
The Sims 4: My Wedding Stories will now launch next Wednesday, the 23rd of February. "We want the entire Sims community to be able to celebrate together," EA say, and presumably they're scrambling to restart scrapped plans for the Russian release.
I do think My Wedding Stories is harmful propaganda, mind. Watch the trailer:
A disastrous chain of terrible decisions driven by Main Character Syndrome. Camille accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely seemed to like, because she was so swept up by the dream of a wedding. Don't do this, kids. Through it all, Dominique third-wheeled while nursing a crush on Camille. Don't do that, kids. This came out during their engagement party, after Cam's fiancé passed out drunk and Dom comforted her. When they felt sparks in that moment, mate, that's when you really, really question the wedding. AND YET! The wedding day comes, Cam strides down the aisle, and... she scoops Dom up and dips her down to pash in the aisle while her would-be husband watches. Every twist of this tale is unhealthy drama. Y'all need therapy and some serious single time before you even think about a relationship.
Even I, a devoted fan of Hallmark Channel romcoms where a small-town baker realises she's engaged to the wrong person and really should be with the handyman who loves Christmas as much as she does, think this is way too much. This is a story you'd see Camille posting on Reddit's r/AmItheAsshole board, insisting that she did nothing wrong, because love, then dismissively replying to every single critical comment with "Have you ever been in love?" or "You don't know my story." It's too much. Ban this sick filth.