EA Games has reversed a decision from last week and plans to release , its new LGBTQ-inclusive Sims 4 expansion pack, in Russia. This is despite the country's law prohibiting so-called gay propaganda.
The content pack lets players plan nearly every aspect of a wedding, from organizing the engagement party and rehearsal dinner to choosing the officiant, wedding locale and outfits for the betrothed.
A preview trailer for My Wedding Stories spotlights a lesbian couple, Camille and Dominique, and their bumpy road to wedded bliss.
In 2013, Russia passed legislation outlawing the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relationships" to minors. In practice, the law has been used to prohibit almost any aspect of LGBTQ culture, from Pride parades to hanging a rainbow flag.
In 2016, when EA released the soccer game FIFA 17, Russian MP Valery Rashkin said the game maker should "introduce changes to the programming code or the age classification of this information product" because gamers had the option of putting their virtual team in rainbow-colored uniforms.
EA's Sims franchise has long allowed avatars to engage in same-sex relationships and customize their gender identity. When Sims 4 launched in May 2014, it was given an 18-and-up rating in Russia, even though most other governing boards classify the game as appropriate for children 12 and up.
Last week, EA decided that rather than remove LGBTQ storylines and marketing from My Wedding Stories, it would withhold releasing the game in Russia altogether.
On Wednesday, the company reversed that decision.
"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," EA developers wrote on the company's website, saying it was important for them "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 realized 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."
The game, available for PC and Mac via Origin and Steam, PS5, PS4 and Xbox was initially slated for release on Feb. 17.
Citing a desire to let the entire Sims community "celebrate together," EA is pushing the global release of My Wedding Stories to Feb. 23, including in Russia.