RUSSIA’S law banning the promotion of “gay propaganda” to minors has forced an adults only-rating onto upcoming video game The Sims 4 for its depictions of same-sex relationships.
The immensely popular video game series puts the player in control of a “Sim”, an avatar who is able to build and decorate a house, work a job, look after pets, and have intimate relationships and children.
Games industry commentators have identified a number of elements within the game that could possibly breach Russia’s gay propaganda laws. Both opposite-sex and same-sex couples within the game may date, have sex, marry and have children.
In Australia, most games in The Sims series have received an M rating, usually for “sexual references”, recommended for people over 15 years but available without restrictions. In most countries games in the series have received a “teen” rating or equivalent.
The past week has seen a focus on depictions of same-sex relationships in video games, with Nintendo apologising for omitting same-sex marriage from its upcoming game Tomodachi Life.
The Japanese game company came under fire for exclusively allowing opposite-sex marriages in the game, but has now said if there are further entries in the series they will be more inclusive.
“At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone,” the company said in a statement.
“We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.”
LGBTI groups around the world criticised the Japanese game company for initially responding to the criticisms by implying they didn’t want to make a “political statement” with the game by including same-sex marriage.