Electronic Arts said on Wednesday it would remove the Russian national team and Russian clubs from its most recent FIFA games, including FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online. It also plans to scrub both Russian and Belarusian national teams and clubs from its NHL 22 hockey game, following the suspension of Russian teams from the International Ice Hockey Federation.
The move represents one of the most visible forms of the video game industry's corporate protest to the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, mirroring the real-world removals of Russian news sources, entertainment and sports teams from social media platforms, live events and other venues.
"EA stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine," the company's statement reads. "We're also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games." EA says it's making this choice "in line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA."
This is the second big change EA is making to a game in response to the war in Ukraine. Last weekend, the publisher said it would disable an unlockable Russian helicopter from its newest shooter, Battlefield 2042.
A number of other developers have made similar moves, changing in-game story content to avoid insensitivity or planning cosmetic items with the intention to donate proceeds to humanitarian aid organizations. Euro Truck Simulator 2 creator SCS Software is creating a "Ukrainian Paint Jobs Pack" to support "those affected the most by the sad impacts of war."
Meanwhile, Wargaming, a Belarusian developer based in Cyprus that makes the popular World of Tanks series, said it had fired its creative director for posting a Facebook message in support of the Russian military.