Nintendo Apologizes for No Same-Sex Relationships in Tomodachi Life

posted on 2014-05-09 19:00 EDT by Egan Loo
Nintendo won't change game, but pledges to make possible sequel more inclusive

Nintendo issued a formal apology on Friday for not adding same-sex relationships to its life simulation game Tomodachi Life (Tomodachi Collection: New Life). While Nintendo asserted that it cannot change the game before or after the June 6 release in the West, it pledges that if it creates a new Tomodachi title, it "will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players." Below is the full statement from Nintendo:

We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game's design, and such a significant development change can't be accomplished with a post-ship patch. 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. 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.

Tomodachi Life is itself a sequel to the original Tomodachi Collection game in Japan. The Nintendo 3DS game allows players to engage in various activities with their Miis, including eating, changing outfits, interacting with other Miis, playing video games, meeting real-life celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Shaquille O'Neal, and confessing their love. However, while Miis can flirt, go on dates, and even marry, those activities are only allowed between characters of the opposite sex. This restriction is in both the original Japanese version and in the planned English version.

Fans had brought their concerns online last month with the #Miiquality social media campaign, spearheaded by Nintendo fan Tye Marini. A Nintendo of America representative said on Wednesday, "Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life. The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary."

Wilson Cruz, a national spokesperson for the advocacy group GLAAD, then responded to Nintendo's statement: "In purposefully limiting players' relationship options, Nintendo is not only sending a hurtful message to many of its fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times. […] It's been over a decade since The Sims — the original ‘whimsical and quirky’ life simulator — allowed its users to marry any character they wanted, and many other mainstream and massively popular video games have followed their lead since. Nintendo should do the same."

Sources: Venture Beat (link 2), Siliconera, Time via Hachima Kikō

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