On Feb. 8th, EA surprised fans by releasing a trailer for a new The Sims 4 expansion called “My Wedding Stories,” a wedding-themed game pack that adds new content to the base game, such as a new in-game world called Tartosa, a wedding planning feature, and new items for Create A Sim and Build Mode. At the forefront of the game pack’s trailer and storyline are new Sims Dominique Umeh and Camille Soto, two women who had a long friendship that eventually blossomed into romance. The couple even has a promotional wedding website, where players can follow Dominique and Camille’s wedding planning updates.
Following the game pack announcement, EA shared a letter to The Sims community the next day regarding their decision not to release “My Wedding Stories” in Russia as they would be forced to change Dominique and Camille’s story to adapt to Russia’s anti-LGBTQ+ federal laws.
“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,” EA stated in their letter. “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.”
EA concluded the letter by stating, “Regrettably, this means that members of The Sims community in Russia will not be able to purchase this game pack.” In 2013, Russia passed an anti-LGBTQ+ law that prohibited “propaganda on nontraditional sexual relations,” where those who provided information about the LGBTQ+ community to minors would be fined a hefty sum.
Although EA’s letter mentions Russian players explicitly, players argued that European countries in proximity to Russia, like Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, are also affected by EA’s decision. Given the long-standing tension between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the current situation between the two countries, this is a bad move on EA’s part. They also argued that EA could release the game pack with an 18+ rating as they have done before with their previous The Sims 4 games while keeping same-sex couples in the games.
For all these years since 2014, The Sims games were labeled as 18+. No content ever have been cut out or altered. Every LGBTQ+ sims remained that way. All same-sex in-game families remained that way.
How are Wedding Stories any different?
— хао | #weddingsforrussia (@SimplyHao) February 11, 2022
Despite fans’ persistence to get “My Wedding Stories” released in Russia and other European countries, it seems like EA plans to play it safe this time as same-sex marriage and couples play a significant part in the game pack’s advertising. The Sims 4: “My Wedding Stories” will release on Feb. 17, 2022, for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.