Sims in LGBT+ u-turn
Russian gamers will be able to purchase a Sims 4 installment starring an LGBT+ couple, video game giant EA has announced, after concerns were raised that the characters could have fallen foul of the country’s laws.
In a statement published on Wednesday, the developers announced that they had reconsidered their position on releasing the upcoming pack ‘My Wedding Stories’ to the Russian market.
“At the time, we believed that our team could not freely share the storytelling of same-sex couple Cam and Dom in Russia,” referring to the two lesbian protagonists in the add-on, stating that they had “decided the best way to uphold our commitment to sharing their story was to not release this pack there.”
However, the gaming behemoth said it had since “reassessed” its options and will make the add-on available in Russia, “unaltered and unchanged.” The life-simulation game had previously been rated as an 18+ due to homosexual relationships included in its content.
“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,” the statement reads. “Love is love, and The Sims community will continue to be a safe space for those who want to see a world where that is true for everyone. We are thankful for the support of our team and our values even when it is hard.”
The recent notice comes just a week after the California-based company announced that it would forgo launching the pack in the Eastern European nation because its “storytelling would be subject to changes because of federal laws.” EA did not delve into what, if any, harsh penalties it expected for the new expansion – although the concern appeared to be over featuring same-sex couples in promotional material.
Russia signed into law a series of measures in 2013 enforcing restrictions against content deemed to endorse “non-traditional sexual values among minors,” which has sometimes been referred to as the ‘gay propaganda law’. The legislation has been slammed both domestically and internationally, with critics claiming it allegedly infringes upon LGBT+ rights. However, the Kremlin has insisted that it does not criminalize activity and only regulates what can be marketed specifically to children and teenagers, leaving consenting adults unaffected.