The Sims’ LGBTQ+ friendly expansion will end up releasing in non-LGBTQ+ friendly Russia

This story about tearing down boundaries, boiled down, in 1:18 minutes.

What’s the fuss?

An upcoming expansion pack for a legendary video game was previously banned in Russia due to LGBTQ+ ties. A reversal on that decision is welcome news.

The situation

The Sims is one of the few video game franchises that is a household name and hasn’t gotten old.

  • The best-selling series of life simulation video games allows its players to create and nurture virtual people in a sandbox/virtual world without defined objectives.
  • The franchise has sold close to 200 million copies worldwide running 4 mainline games, a handful of spin-offs, and even more expansion packs.

The upcoming expansion pack for The Sims 4 called My Wedding Stories, featuring same-sex relationships and marriage, was to be banned in Russia because of conflict with their negative stance on the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Outcry from the Russian Sims community as well as from the wider LGBTQ+ community prompted the game’s publisher to find a way to release the pack in Russia.
  • They succeeded, evidenced by the official announcement that the expansion pack will release in Russia without any censorship later this month.

Boiling it down

Given that different regions around the world have different outlooks on certain social issues, video games may alter their content in order to appease them.

  • This allows for the game to be sold in the region, but may provide a vastly different gameplay experience than originally intended.
  • An example is 2006’s Bully, a beloved game about high school life (and actually not about being a bully) that got a name change in the UK to Canis Canem Edit.

Russia’s stance on the LGBTQ+ community is vastly different than in the West.

  • Homosexuality is frowned upon and same-sex couples are not offered the same legal protections as straight couples.
  • Russia provides no anti-discrimination protects for LGBT people and does not prohibit hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

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