In a time when it seems like Russia restricts everything (swearing, gay people, bitcoin, adoption), one more item can be added to this list: EA’s family-friendly The Sims. The upcoming fourth game in the series has been whacked with an 18+ certificate by the Russian ratings board, meaning the game can only be purchased by adults, thus preventing the inspiration for a whole generation of interior designers.
The news was tweeted on the Russian official The Sims Twitter account, which later clarified that the 18+ was given in accordance with Russian law 436-FZ, "On Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development."
Law 436-FZ includes numerous clauses, and there’s been no detailed explanation to explain what area The Sims 4 comes into conflict with. Possibilities are "encouraging children to commit acts that endanger their lives," information that would instill a "desire to use narcotics, psychotropic and (or) intoxicants, tobacco, alcohol and alcohol-containing products," information "justifying illegal behavior," information that contains pornographic imagery and information that promotes "unconventional sexual relationships," among numerous others.
Considering recent Russian political stances, it’s easy to take an educated guess as to what the conflict could be, but as of yet there is no confirmed reason. We just know that in Russia, The Sims 4 is youth contraband on the level of Grand Theft Auto, cigarettes, and four-wheeled vehicles.
Historically in the UK the series is normally rated around the 12+ mark, whilst in the US the 'Teen' certificate is usually applied. Germany rated the latest, third game in the series 6+. We don't expect there to be much thematic change in The Sims 4, and the game will probably be rated the same once more in these terriories. That is, unless there's the ability to send your sims into a downward spiral of drink, drugs, and violence that we don't know about yet. Somehow though, we don't expect that to be on the back of the box come launch day.
Thanks, PC Gamer.