Russia’s “gay propaganda” bill – more accurately, the bill “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values” – was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in 2013. The law states that children must be protected from being exposed to homosexuality, arguing that it is against traditional family values, and anyone breaking the law can be subject to a fine, imprisonment, or even deportation.
As a result, any media that shows gay people being together gets an automatic “Mature” rating, in the hopes that Russian children won’t accidentally witness it.
Needless to say, there have been plenty of protests and much criticism of the law, from both inside and outside Russia – including coverage from Stephen Fry and a letter urging Putin to repeal the law signed by Sir Ian McKellen – and multiple people within the country have been arrested for public dissention and attempts to offer LGBTQ+ support to youths.
Several games have already been caught up in the law, including The Sims 4, Stardew Valley, FIFA 17 (which let players wear rainbow shoelaces in support of the LGBTQ+ community), and the Overwatch tie-in comic that depicted Tracer with her partner.
Miitopia, the family-friendly role-playing game announced for Switch in yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, is the latest victim of the law, receiving an automatic 18+ rating in Russia for its potential depiction of same-sex relationships. It first received the 18+ rating when it was released for 3DS in 2017, and the law has not changed since then.
Miitopia is the first-ever Nintendo-developed game to receive a Mature rating in Russia, and although the game won’t receive a Russian translation – the only supported languages are Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Dutch, and Chinese – its rating makes it even more unlikely to be a success in the predominantly Christian country.
Although its predecessor, Tomodachi Life, specifically did not allow same-sex relationships in the game, Miitopia (and the Japan-only Tomodachi sequel, New Life) have some new options for players. Miitopia does not allow same-sex characters to marry, but will allow them to level up their relationship; Tomodachi: New Life allowed male characters to marry and have children, but not women.
Miitopia will come to Switch worldwide on the 21st May, 2021.
We are keen as always to hear what you think of this news story in the comments below, but we will remind you to please be civil, and remember that we have LGBTQ+ members in both our community and our staff who deserve respect.