Following a fierce community backlash, EA has announced it will be reversing its decision to skip the launch of The Sims 4's new wedding-themed DLC in Russia - a move it originally claimed to be making due to the country's restrictive laws around LGBT+ content - and is delaying the release of the expansion in all territories to next Wednesday, 23rd February.
EA and developer Maxis' decision to skip the Russian market rather than be forced to compromise its vision regarding the wedding expansion's heavy focus on LGBT+ couple Camille and Dominique was initially welcomed - but confusion, and then anger, quickly set in among The Sims 4's Russian player base.
Some asked why Russia had been singled out when other countries with equally prohibitive anti-LGBT+ laws had not, but the most commonly cited point of confusion was the simple fact that Russia's laws - supposedly designed to protect children from homosexual content - don't apply to games rated 18+, as is the case with The Sims 4 in the region.
With the furore showing no signs of abating - and a petition amassing over 10,000 signatures - EA has finally addressed customer concerns, confirming it has reassessed its initial decision and will now be launching My Wedding Stories in the Russian market "unaltered and unchanged".
"At the time," it explained in a new statement, "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."
"Since then," the publisher continued, "we've been listening to the outpouring of feelings from our community including both support for our decision and concern for their fellow community members. 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.
"With this in mind, we've reassessed our options and realised 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."
It's news that's sure to delight the Sims 4 community in Russia after a week of frustration, but it's hard not to wonder how a publisher the size of EA - while clearly well-meaning in its original intentions - could have got its initial legal advice so disastrously wrong.
With The Sims 4's wedding-themed expansion now officially Russia-bound, there's one last wrinkle for fans to contend with; EA says that in order for the Sims community to be able to "celebrate together", it is pushing the global release of My Wedding Stories back from tomorrow, 17th February, to next Wednesday, 23rd February.
"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," EA concluded. "We are thankful for the support of our team and our values even when it is hard. Thank you for being a part of The Sims."
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