Anti-Gay Laws Ban Sims 4 Expansion In Russia
It just wouldn't be The Sims without a good bit of controversy to spice up your white picket-fenced neighbourhood. There was once a time when The Sims was simply about making your family, sending them on their 9-5, and then burning them alive in a sadistic house fire - but those days are sadly over.
Some 22 years after the OG version of The Sims was released on PC, Maxis' simulation series is still going strong. While there are those looking ahead at the inevitable The Sims 5, expansions for The Sims 4 are still coming thick and fast. Unfortunately, not everyone will be able to play the latest.
Why Has The Latest Sims Expansion Been Banned?
In 2013, Russia passed the "Russian gay propaganda law", which pretty much does what it says on the tin. Unfortunately, this means the upcoming My Wedding Stories expansion won't be released in the country.
In a blog post titled Our Commitment to You: A Letter To Our Players from The Sims Team, Maxis goes on to explain that the inclusion of same-sex marriage in the expansion has led to some difficulties in certain territories.
At the core of the issue is the addition of two new characters seen in My Wedding Stories, Dominique and Camille, whose love "knows no bounds."
These LGBTQ+ characters would have fallen foul of Russia's anarchic laws and so Maxis have decided to forgo releasing the pack in the country.
Releasing in Russia would involve "compromising the values we live by," explained Maxis.
"We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love and tell the stories you want to tell.
"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."
The post expands: "Imagining the stories our players will tell with our packs is at the heart of everything we create."
Continuing to defend its action, Maxis concluded, "The ability to tell stories - any story - is at the core of what we do at The Sims.
"We are committed to the freedom to be who you are, to love who you love and tell the stories you want to tell."
Russia's gay propaganda law prohibits the release of content that promotes homosexuality as "normal" to anyone under the age of 18. The Sims 4 is marketed as 18+ in Russia due to this, however, EA has previously said it won't adjust its content to achieve a lower rating.
In a wider context, the introduction of the law has led to an increase in violence against the LGBTQ+ community in Russia, with human rights groups condemning the Russian government.
What Other Controversy Has The Sims Faced?
For once, The Sims is flying the rainbow flag with relatively little interruption. In the past, there have been complaints that Maxis was slow on the uptake of LGBTQ+ issues. Recently, there was joy when The Sims 4 finally adopted a wider range of pronouns. The Sims has always embraced same-sex relationship options, so it's refreshing to see the team choose morals over money.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for all aspects of diversity in The Sims. This comes after there have been complaints of whitewashing, a lack of different skin tones, and lacklustre representation for disabilities. Thankfully, if you fancy yourself as Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, you can with The Sims 4 Marriage Stories - well, as long as you don't live in Russia.